UK families face £730 climate charge

25 January 2008 / by Verity G
UK families are to pay an additional £730 a year in order to pay for plans to tackle climate change, it has emerged.

The European Commission yesterday announced plans that Britain must generate 40 per cent of its energy from renewable sources, over the following 12 years, potentially costing millions of pounds to build new wind turbines if the levels are to be met and fines to be avoided.

Presently the UK generates just two percent of its energy through wind, wave and hydroelectric power and while it is assumed that renewable energy sources are better for the environment, the anti-turbine movement claim that despite being 'green', turbines are costly, inefficient and detrimental to wildlife.

The European Commission has estimated that the new scheme will cost the average EU citizen £115 a year but Britain will be hit in the pocket harder thanks to its poor green energy record. In addition, the proposals also stipulate how the cuts in emissions are to be achieved and include a ten per cent minimum use of biofuels in transport fuels and 20 per cent of overall energy to come purely from renewables.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has welcomed the proposals but Director-General, Richard Lambert has expressed concern that the target is "daunting and potentially costly."

Open Europe, the independent European 'think-tank', has said that a typical family would be paying a £730 levy by 2020 and, in order to achieve this figure within the designated timeframe, two new turbines would be needed to build everyday.

Speaking yesterday after the EU Commission's announcement, Open Europe spokesman Hugo Robinson said: "Britain has such a low level of renewable energy right now, the cost of meeting this target will be higher than for most other EU countries."

While the UK has taken strides in recent years towards embracing green technology, it still falls short of the efforts made by other EU nations. According to the British Wind Energy Association, the UK already has 2,000 wind turbines but would need another 5,000 on land as well as thousands more at sea, to meet the targets.

Maria McCaffery, BWEA Chief Executive comments: "This is a revolution for the UK's energy supply. Over half this target will have to be delivered by renewable electricity, and the vast majority of that will be wind power. It is achievable but now industry and Government have to work together to make it happen."

However, not all industrial sectors are being covered by the scheme and can expect to receive further proposals on their emission targets in due course, though no action is expected until the end of next year.

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