This is Newbury Labour’s submission for Environment, Energy and Culture to advance the policy framework set out in Labour’s 2017 General Election Manifesto.
For Further information visit https://www.policyforum.labour.org.uk/commissions/environment
Environment and Energy
Back the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon with a direct £450m investment (on top of the Welsh Government’s pledged £200m) giving the public a 50% stake in this new world-leading technology and swiftly move to develop the other 6 sites recommended by the Government-commissioned Hendry Review (https://hendryreview.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/hendry-review-final-report-english-version.pdf) which estimated this creating 18GW of capacity.
Labour should also commit to taking a direct stake in wave and tidal stream projects as this type of energy has the potential to generate 20% of UK electricity demand according to the Government’s analysis (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wave-and-tidal-energy-part-of-the-uks-energy-mix#wave-and-tidal-stream-potential)
The NEF (http://neweconomics.org/2018/04/the-war-on-solar/?sf_action=get_results&sf_paged=4) estimates 9million homes in the UK could house solar panels and Google’s new solar roof calculator tool (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-44303881) makes it easier than ever to estimate potential effectively. Labour should commit to funding solar panels and attached storage units to every property with potential in order to slash energy bills and meet our climate obligations ASAP. This could be funded 100% for households earning under average income; for those earning between the average and double the average+ tapered down gradually to just 10% subsidy. Reducing household spend on energy cuts spending on a 5% VAT-able good (energy) and likely shifts it to spending on 20% VAT-able goods/services thus there is an element of direct reimbursement for the Treasury.
The above proposed scheme should be coupled with the 2017 manifesto pledge to insulate 4million homes. In addition to the pledge to offer interest-free loans for insulation we should announce that all homes below Energy efficiency C rating should attract a higher rate of council tax in 5 years time as an incentive.
Continue to support new local heat networks but bring them under the regulatory auspices of Ofgem, as called for by the CMA (https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3032105/heat-networks-regulation-now-needed-says-uk-competition-watchdog) so consumers are protected from rogue developers and prices don’t exceed traditional gas.
Labour should, in opposition, commission a review to look at the cost of upgrading of Britain’s 26million gas boilers to ones which can work with hydrogen and switching the gas grid to hydrogen (https://newsbase.com/commentary/switch-hydrogen-could-secure-long-term-future-uk-gas-system)
Labour should also, in opposition, commission a review of the potential for distributed computer server technology to provide zero-carbon household heating and reduce the need for expensive cooling systems usually used in large data centres (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-32816775)
All new homes should, as soon as possible, be being built to a ‘Zero carbon’ standard, fitted with energy storage and solar where feasible and also utilise a greywater system to reduce water use and produce heat.
The ban on new diesel and petrol vehicles being sold should not be 2040 as planned by the Tories. India have already trumped that pledge by committing to the same by 2030. We should at least match that pledge and fund a scrappage scheme to encourage the oldest cars off the road, to be replaced with electric ones so that a goal of ALL cars being electric by 2040 is not unachievable. Electric charging points should be installed in or near every block of flats in the country as a matter of priority.
All buses should be electric by 2025 and a national plan for ASAP total electrification of the rail network, taking into account innovative developments in the potential use of trackside solar and storage (https://www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/news/imperial_college_trialling_track_side_solar_panels_to_power_trains), should be developed