Budget 2013: Shale gas given priority over renewables

March 21, 2013

A number of green campaigners and organisations are dismayed at the government's Budget announcement, which placed shale gas technology as a priority over renewable energy.

Despite David Cameron suggesting that he wants his time in office to be the greenest government ever, the focus on the controversial shale gas has put this claim into some doubt.

In the announcement, chancellor George Osborne said that in order to create a low carbon economy, jobs should not be costed and should be created
instead

“I want Britain to tap into new sources of low cost energy like shale gas. So I am introducing a generous new tax regime. And by the summer, new planning guidance will be available alongside specific proposals to allow local communities to benefit. Shale gas is part of the future. And we will make it happen,” he said.

In addition to the focus on shale gas, Mr Osborne has announced that the fossil fuel industry will also receive tax breaks. The most energy intensive industries will also be exempt from the Climate Change Levy in order to alleviate pressure on businesses.

The news has not been met with great favour from energy campaigners, as Greenpeace's Lawrence Carter said:

"The chancellor is slashing public services with one hand while gifting tax breaks to the fossil fuel industry with the other. This is unfair on struggling households, especially when everyone from the energy regulator Ofgem to BP to the energy secretary say UK fracking won't bring down bills."

However, there was a boost for the carbon future of the UK following the announcement of two carbon capture and storage schemes (CCS). Aberdeenshire and Yorkshire projects have been named as the two preferred bidders for CCS Commercialisation Programme Competition, worth an estimated £1 billion.

Despite the lack of government emphasis on renewable technologies, such as solar panels, within the Budget, there are still a number of schemes such as the Green Deal or the feed in tariff which provide favourable methods and returns for the installation of carbon reducing measures.

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