Yeo: Wrong decisions being made on energy policy

By Charles Maggs

A senior Conservative MP is mounting an attempt to get an emissions target included in the upcoming energy bill, against the wishes of the government.

Tim Yeo, chair of the Commons' energy and climate change committee, announced this morning he is putting forward an amendment to the energy bill which will include an emissions target of 100 grams of carbon dioxide per kWh of electricity by 2030.

"I will not stand by and watch the wrong decisions being made on energy policy. This legislation is far too important for Britain's future to get wrong," he told an audience at Bloomberg in the City of London.

"Today, on the eve of the first parliamentary debate on the energy bill, I am announcing that I will be seeking to amend the legislation to include an emissions target — that will clean up the power sector by 2030."

The decision on whether to include an emissions target was expected to be included in the bill but been put off until 2016 – a year after the next general election. Yeo believes the delay could be economically damaging.

"Setting a target for emissions from electricity generation as recommended by the climate change committee has been put off until 2016, prolonging the political and regulatory uncertainty that is killing investment," he added.

Yeo was also sceptical about last week's announcement by energy secretary Ed Davey that Britain was to allow fracking, the process for extracting natural gas from shale rock, to begin.

Fracking has brought clear economic benefits to the US where it is widely carried out, but critics argue that it creates environmental risks and can pollute the water supply.

It is widely believed the decisions to postpone an emissions target and to allow fracking were influenced by the chancellor, who announced tax incentives for shale drilling in the autumn statement.