MPs say UK must take advantage of ‘green economy’
06:30 29 June 2012
copyright Andrew McMeekin
Eastern MPs called on ministers yesterday to ensure the government did all it could to see that Britain took full advantage of the green economy.
Businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk are trying to find ways they can exploit economic opportunities presented by the country becoming more environmentally friendly - for example, through the renewable energy sector or through work to make businesses more energy efficient.
Such opportunities in their entirety, called the “green economy”, are thought to be worth some £112bn to the UK, with that figure expected to jump by 45pc in the next two years.
Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday Waveney MP Peter Aldous said: “Realising the full potential of the green economy is vitally important to securing the economic recovery and creating new jobs.
“The green economy is performing particularly well at present and it is important that the UK takes full advantage of this; last year the low carbon goods and services market grew by four per cent and investment in renewable energy around the world reached record levels.”
Much of the debate focussed on whether the government should be providing subsidies for the renewable energy sector, like wind farms and solar power.
Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey said: “If we want to be self reliant on energy, then we’ve got to invest in our energy infrastructure. It’s not about subsidy; it’s about an incentive to attract investors from around the world.”
Answering for the government in the debate was Treasury minister Chloe Smith, who disputed critics claiming the government was not committed to helping the green economy grow.
She said: “Some have said that budget 2012 was not green enough, I disagree with that. I think we need to be realistic, we need to acknowledge that not every budget can be full freshly of green measures policies and proposals.
“[Previously announced measures] are after all projects for the long term.”
She added: “Budget 2012 demonstrated the continuation and consolidation of the government’s plan to meet its environmental commitments.”