Pigeon Column :: June 2023

The climate change nettle still hasn’t been grasped by the Government. With every day that passes we slide towards the point of no return in capping global temperature rises within a manageable limit. We’ve had enough time for talking. Now is the time to act.

A perfect example of where deeds have not matched words is on a detailed energy policy. The slow-footedness of the Tory Government is clear for all to see. The last Energy Bill proposed was 2015. Seven years on and the international situation has only worsened and our reliance on fossil fuels been shown to be an unworkable long-term solution.

I have long called for the Government to bring forward the first Energy Bill since 2015. Given the urgency of the cost of living and climate crises we need an all-out spring for zero carbon power, a proper plan to spread the benefits from this cheap power to lower and middle-income families, and an industrial policy which means we can win the global race for the jobs of the future.

After eight years of dither and delay the Tory Government has finally introduced an energy bill. But it lacks the ambition required to deliver any of the issues we know in Bristol need dealing with.

Long-term reform of the energy market is necessary, but it must come alongside urgent action to cut bills, strengthen our energy security and tackle the climate crisis now. This Government Bill will do nothing to buck the Tories record of failure on these issues.

The Bill does not contain the measures desperately needed for a green energy sprint which can bring down your bills over the years to come: an end to the ban on onshore wind, extending and upgrading our grid and a national ten-year mission for home insulation, including the insulation of two million homes this year.

A decade of failed Conservative energy policy has left energy bills too high and the UK’s energy system too weak. This government simply cannot answer the biggest challenges our country faces. This Tory energy Bill is a missed opportunity.

Bristol could be at the forefront of the UK’s campaign to end climate change. Our businesses are ready and waiting to become the world-leaders in green tech: providing decent jobs for decades. But we are also at the forefront of a changing climate as we can see all around our city what is happening with ever more extreme weather events. Human driven climate change is destroying habitats we cherish and putting livelihoods at risk.

We have a chance to enact real change in the next year. It’s clear that after 13 years the current government has run out of ideas and we’ve run out of patience with them.

Only Labour would introduce measures desperately needed with our plans for GB Energy, a publicly-owned energy generation company, and our mission for zero-carbon power by 2030, which will cut bills for good, give the UK energy security, create good jobs in every corner of the country and tackle the climate crisis.