The Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment, chief policy advisor, Martin Baxter:
“Today’s Autumn Statement has provided some level of confidence for business in terms of investment at a time of uncertainty, which is a welcome move. Investment in infrastructure, industry and skills is a strong trinity of themes that together, will bolster the UK’s resilience, competitively and productivity. Given this direction, we are looking to the government to ensure that environment and sustainability skills are absolutely central to this programme. We are disappointed that this hasn’t thus far appeared to be prominent. We look forward to seeing this come through in the imminent industrial strategy, the emissions reduction plan and the 25-year environment plan.
“Having said that, this statement has done little else to demonstrate Government’s commitment to environment and sustainability issues. Could do better!”
Rockfire Capital, chief executive, Liam Kavanagh:
“It’s good to hear that low-emission vehicles will be receiving £390m and I was also pleased at the support for digital signaling for the rail sector, however, I am a little disappointed that the main beneficiaries of this statement have been fossil fuels and car drivers. Increasing availability of charging for electric cars is all very good but the biggest challenge is making sure the energy used is as green as the cars. These measures are a drop in the ocean compared with what is actually required.”
Green Alliance, acting deputy director, Dustin Benton:
“The Chancellor announced £23bn in investment today for the economy of the future. That future is low carbon, so we should make sure our infrastructure is too. But most of the low carbon announcements today are jam tomorrow.
“Renewable energy infrastructure, which could deliver an additional £22 billion in private sector investment before 2020, has been put on hold until the March budget. Energy efficiency infrastructure didn’t get a mention, despite the headline that fossil fuel prices are now driving UK inflation. The best news is that the Chancellor has backed electric vehicles, by announcing £390m for EVs and tax credits for charging infrastructure.
“But the bigger picture is of overstretched public finances. If there’s no money on the table, we should use smarter regulation to drive the investment in the low carbon and resource efficient infrastructure we’ll need for the future.”
Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, energy analyst, Jonathan Marshall:
“Despite claiming to provide certainty to businesses, Mr Hammond has failed to offer any clarity for the energy industry beyond the short term. Freezing the carbon price support to 2020 was already announced in the March Budget, while deciding on the future of the levy control framework has been delayed until next year.
“Considering the long-term nature of energy investments, clarity more than three years into the future is vital for the industry. Vast swathes of the UK’s generating capacity are reaching retirement age, and long-term clarity on carbon pricing would provide investors with the platform to back much needed new low-carbon equipment.”
Renewable Energy Association, head of policy and external affairs, James Court:
“We welcome the Chancellor’s new funding for electric vehicles and charge point infrastructure across the UK. We urge him to remember that the development of these transport technologies are not emerging on their own but are part-and-parcel of a wider shift to a higher-tech, lower-carbon world. Decarbonising transport through electrification requires the decarbonisation of the electricity system as well.
“The renewable electricity sector was looking for certainty regarding the future of the Levy Control Framework beyond 2021. There was no further clarity on the Government’s plans for the future of the decarbonisation of the heat system. Key taxation and spending questions around the increases in business rates for solar PV and future CfD Pot 1 and 3 auctions, for renewables such as onshore wind, solar, advanced waste conversion technologies, and biomass, were also not addressed.”
Association for Decentralised Energy, director, Tim Rotheray:
“We welcome the Government’s commitment to improve the UK’s productivity, as boosting productivity is the most effective way to support economic growth.
“Improving energy productivity should be an integral part of both the Productivity Investment Fund and the new money for the Local Growth Fund. The remaining third of the funding that is yet unassigned should be dedicated to seizing the energy productivity opportunity.
“As our 2016 Energy Productivity Audit showed, the UK economy produced £193bn more in goods and services over the past five years using the same amount of energy, supported by energy efficiency investments by the industrial, services and domestic sectors. By making energy part of their productivity ambitions, the Chancellor will only drive further economic success.”
Association for the Conservation of Energy, chief executive, Joanne Wade:
“The evidence clearly shows that investments in energy efficiency deliver impressive productivity results for the UK economy, with our recent energy productivity audit showing the country producing billions of pounds more every year for the same amount of energy.
“Building houses and supporting businesses without helping them to use energy as efficiently as possible would be an own goal. If the Government wants to ensure it gets results quickly and effectively, it should make energy productivity infrastructure a key part of the Productivity Investment Fund and for the Local Growth Fund.”