Gordon Brown is being urged by a Cabinet colleague to reduce Britain’s commitment to climate change goals on renewable energy, it has been reported.
Documents apparently prepared for the Prime Minister by Business Secretary John Hutton warn that moves for 20% of all European energy to come from “green” sources are expensive and face “severe practical difficulties”.
The Guardian newspaper claimed that the leaked papers foreshadowed a major U-turn on the targets that Tony Blair signed up to during his final months in Number 10.
The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs would not comment on the leak but a spokesman for the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) said: “We are fully committed to tackling climate change and the UK has been a strong supporter of action at EU level, greater use of renewables is key to this.
“We recognise that the renewables target is an ambitious one and it will be a major challenge to achieve it – that is why we’ve recently given consent for Fullabrook Wind Farm in North Devon, Severn Barrage feasibility study, Wave Hub deep sea socket off Cornwall and Teeside Offshore Wind Farm off Teesmouth.”
The draft documents are to be presented to Mr Brown on Tuesday following analysis by BERR which is concerned about legal challenges and persuading the Ministry of Defence and shipping industry to accept more offshore wind power, the newspaper reports.
According to The Guardian, Mr Hutton will advise Mr Brown that the move will be “very hard to negotiate (with other EU leaders) … and will be very controversial”.
He adds: “The commission, some member states and the European parliament will not want the target to be diluted, though others may be allies for a change.”
23 October 2007
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