Environment Agency chief calls for Obama-style ‘Green New Deal’

A long-term, “ambitious” strategy for investing in clean energy and environmental technology is vital to boost the economy and tackle climate change, the Environment Agency has said.

Agency chairman Chris Smith said the government should follow US president-elect Barack Obama by launching a “Green New Deal” to drive investment and create more jobs.

Proposals for a “Green New Deal” programme include:

  • More incentives for energy efficiency in homes and businesses

  • Greater use of combined heat and power

  • Removal of disincentives from development of anaerobic digestion and other sustainable biomass projects

  • Feed-in tariffs and grants to help householders to develop sustainable energy

  • A major national programme for power generation through wind, solar and tidal sources

  • Continuing development of work (especially on rivers and coasts) to protect from, and adapt to, the impact of climate change.

Areas such as renewable energy, environmental technology and carbon capture all needed greater investment if the government was to meet its target of an 80% reduction of carbon emissions by 2050, he added.

Speaking ahead of the agency’s national conference, Lord Smith said the long term future of society depended on the Government’s commitments to the environment as much as it did to education, health and the economy.

“We need a Green New Deal to meet our carbon emissions targets and create jobs in renewable energy and green technology,” he said.

“We need an ambitious and coherent strategy for the future, matched by investment by Government to kick-start key projects.

“We are facing a recession and there will be pressure to weaken environmental targets.

“I hope the Government will hold its nerve and deliver a far-reaching programme that looks further than the current crisis to deliver on our 2050 targets.”

Lord Smith’s comments came as the Environment Agency announced plans to site up to 80 wind turbines on its land – enough to generate electricity for 90,000 households.


Farm succession planning during the Covid-19 crisis

Register now