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Coalition pledges low-carbon economy

An Energy Bill to improve energy efficiency in homes and businesses is one of the top priorities of the new Coalition Government, according to Chris Huhne, the Chris Huhnenewly appointed Minister for Energy and Climate Change. He confirmed that the new administration was firmly committed to reducing carbon emissions and tackling climate change. 'The Energy Bill is designed to help consumers put a stop to wasting energy in their homes through a green deal, while making sure our energy system is fit for the 21st century.'

'Levers to cut carbon emissions'

The Coalition's 'Programme for Government' contains numerous policy objectives designed to 'cut carbon emissions...and support new green jobs and technologies'. These include:

  • Establishing a smart electricity grid and roll out of smart meters
  • Proceeding with the system of feed-in tariffs
  • Retaining Energy Performance Certificates but scrapping Home Information Packs
  • A 'Green Deal' to help householders pay for home energy improvements out of savings on energy bills
  • A pledge to reduce the carbon emissions of central government by 10% within 12 months
  • Encouragement for community-owned renewable energy schemes

Spending cuts

But the DECC is not immune from the drive to cut departmental budgets. It will have to make savings of £85 million in this year's spending, achieved by administrative efficiences, reduced spending on Regional Development Agencies and accelerated closure of the Low Carbon Buiildings Programme. Budget cuts are likely to affect the Carbon Trust and the Energy Saving Trust, the key delivery agencies for energy efficiency.