North Hfds Green Party candidate Dr Ellie Chowns slams ‘incoherent and inconsistent’ government energy policy
Dr Ellie Chowns, the Green Party’s parliamentary candidate for North Herefordshire, this week called on the government to ‘put its money where its mouth is’ on renewable energy. Visiting successful Fownhope-based solar business Caplor Energy, Dr Chowns praised the vision and dynamism of the renewable energy sector, but strongly criticised the government’s incoherent and inconsistent policy.
Dr Chowns said: “Businesses like this are the engine of our future economy and are vital to help us deal with climate change and fuel poverty. Our energy system is creaking at the seams and simply isn’t fit for purpose in the 21st century. The government is dragging its feet on modernisation, and we’re still waiting for the energy strategy they promised to publish by the end of 2016.”
“It’s clear that we urgently need a major shift in how we generate and use energy in order to meet our national and international climate commitments. The vast majority of fossil fuels must be left in the ground in order for us to have any chance of avoiding climate disaster. We should be aiming for a 100% renewable energy-based economy by 2050, while at the same time tackling fuel poverty and investing seriously in energy efficiency. But current policies mean we’re going to miss our 2020 renewables target (1).”
Council figures show that Herefordshire homes are less energy efficient than the national average, and Herefordshire has one of the highest rates of fuel poverty in the country (2). Half of the houses in Herefordshire are suitable for solar PV – but only a tiny percentage have actually had it installed.
Said Dr Chowns, “The transition to a green energy future is being hindered, not helped, by incoherent government policy. Business needs consistency so that it can plan and invest for the long-term. Instead, the weak leadership of the Conservatives on energy and climate change has created serious instability for the sector, made worse by Brexit-related price hikes. Warm words aren’t enough; it’s time for the government to start walking the talk on building a green economy fit for our children.”
Photo: Dr Ellie Chowns and Gareth Williams, Managing Director of Fownhope-based Caplor Energy, with one of the latest solar photovoltaic panels