Energy deal – but no target to cut Britain's carbon emissions
Legally binding commitments to cut the amount of carbon that power stations can emit will not be included in the new Energy Bill following a bitter row within the Coalition.
Green groups accused David Cameron of bowing to pressure from a "militant tendency" in Tory ranks by postponing a decision on whether to introduce the binding targets. However, the much-delayed Energy Bill will announce moves to triple subsidies for "clean" energy sources such as renewables over the next eight years.
The extra money will come from consumers' bills, which could rise by more than £170 a year according to one estimate. Conflict over the planned legislation has created deep divisions within the Government as George Osborne, the Chancellor, repeatedly resisted "green" measures he feared could hamper economic growth.
He wrangled with other ministers over whether to set a "decarbonisation target" for 2030 to bind future administrations to reduce emissions. The Bill will only include moves to enable the next Parliament to decide in 2016 whether to set a target.
This will be seen as a partial victory for Mr Osborne who feared that setting a rigid target now could add a new burden on industry. However, he failed in his efforts to block the introduction of a target altogether. The Chancellor will also publish plans next month on how to boost gas production.
John Sauven, the executive director of Greenpeace, said: "By failing to agree to any carbon target for the power sector until after the next election, David Cam-eron has allowed a militant tendency within his own ranks to derail the Energy Bill. It's a blatant assault on the greening of the UK economy."
Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, said yesterday: "Other countries around the world are watching to see whether Britain signs up to the 2030 decarbonisation target. We are not getting leadership from this Government in Westminster. All we get is dither and delay."
The Coalition's "Quad" of key decision-makers – Mr Cameron, Mr Osborne, Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander – met several times to try to thrash out a compromise. It is understood Mr Cameron sided with the Liberal Democrat members on several crucial points of detail.
One Whitehall source said: "This issue has taken up a huge amount of time and effort. Lots of the issues discussed at the Quad should not have reached it in the first place."
Under the deal that has been struck, the subsidies paid to producers of renewable energy, nuclear power generators and for carbon capture and storage will be increased from £2.6bn a year to £7.6bn by the year 2020.
Mr Osborne had opposed a larger subsidy, warning it would drive up energy prices, but Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat Energy and Climate Change Secretary, believes the compromise figure will provide certainty to companies contemplating investing in "green power".
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Wreckage could be found within a week as search reaches 'very critical juncture', says minister
The man they forgot to lock up: Mike Anderson was sentenced to 13 years in jail, but the police never came
Unbeliebable: The White House offer 'no comment' to anti-Justin Bieber petition
Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
South Korea ferry disaster: Families watch as remains of Sewol victims returned to shore
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
An open letter to Nigel Farage: you may smile, but I am not seduced
Abdullah Deghayes: My son was the martyr of a just cause, says father of British teenager killed in Syria conflict
- 1 Easter egg hunt horror as mother finds dead body under deck of house
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Unbeliebable: The White House offer 'no comment' to anti-Justin Bieber petition
- 4 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 5 Criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers
£130 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Secondary Geography Teacher Lo...
£55 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Are you a dynamic and energeti...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: SEN TAs, LSAs and Support Workers needed...
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: The Sheffield office of this...