Government in cloud cuckoo land with farcical energy plan
Government plans to give fracking the green light and hand out new North Sea gas and oil licences will not reduce energy bills and will do nothing to tackle the root cause of the energy crisis, Friends of the Earth warns. Instead, maintaining the UK’s dependency on gas risks locking us into volatile pricing and high bills for decades to come.
While freezing energy prices will bring some welcome relief, the cost of living remains high and millions will still struggle to pay their energy bills and put food on the table. Friends of the Earth has identified the almost 9,000 neighbourhoods in England and Wales where the energy crisis will be most acutely felt because poor housing means energy bills are higher than typical levels.
Friends of the Earth warns that the government’s energy plan is an own goal that misses the opportunity to bring down our bills for good by failing to invest in a nationwide street-by-street insulation programme.
Mike Childs, head of science, policy and research at Friends of the Earth, said:
“The government’s energy plan is farcical in its detachment from reality. It does nothing to tackle the root cause of the energy crisis – our reliance on costly, polluting fossil fuels – and only lines the pockets of the oil and gas companies driving the cost of living and climate emergencies.
“Most of us will be relieved about the cap on energy bills ahead of this winter but with energy, food and fuel costs remaining high many people will still struggle to heat their homes and put food on the table.
“To bring down bills for good, we need a street-by-street insulation programme targeted at the neighbourhoods where most homes are poorly insulated. There are five million homes without even basic insulation, such as loft or cavity wall insulation, and the Committee on Climate Change has said 15 million homes would benefit from other insulation measures.
“The biggest winners today are the oil and gas companies. Not only will they benefit from the green light for more fossil fuel extraction but the tens of billions of pounds of public expenditure on the energy cap will go into their pockets and further fuel their eye-watering profits.”
Friends of the Earth campaigner, Danny Gross, said:
"Anyone who thinks that bringing back fracking will solve the energy crisis is living in cloud cuckoo land. Fracking is a failed industry that’s unpopular and unfeasible.
“In the decade before it was banned, the industry only managed to frack two sites, and both were aborted due to earthquakes.
“Fracking is a false solution to the cost-of-living crisis The most effective way to bring down our bills and boost energy security for good is to invest in cheap, clean renewables and a nationwide home insulation and energy efficiency programme.
“By breaking its manifesto promise on fracking, the government is showing that it’s completely out of touch with communities across the country. They have already defeated fracking once and they’re ready to do so again.”
Friends of the Earth head of policy, Mike Childs, said:
“We’re pleased to hear the Prime Minister’s support for ‘all renewables’ and look forward to seeing how the government will lift barriers to on-shore solar and wind. These are cheap, with electricity from renewable energy now nine times cheaper than from gas, quick to build and are overwhelmingly popular with the public.
“New gas and oil developments will take years to develop and will have no meaningful impact on bills. Instead, they will send more planet-heating pollution into our atmosphere.”