The Labour Party is aiming to create one million additional “green jobs” and establish the UK as a “world leader” in low carbon technologies over the next decade.
Labour included the targets in its 2015 election manifesto, launched today (Monday) by party leader Ed Miliband at an event in Manchester.
The manifesto says that tackling climate change is an “economic necessity” for the next government and that Labour would commit to ambitious domestic carbon reduction targets – although these are not specified – and that it would include a legal target to remove carbon from the UK’s energy supply by 2030.
Also included is a previously mentioned promise to grant new powers to the Green Investment Bank, allowing it to invest in new green and renewable energy businesses and technologies with Labour set to firm up a timetable should it assume control at the general election next month.
Other plans unveiled include the creation of an Energy Security Board to plan the UK’s energy mix in advance and the establishment of robust environmental and regulatory regimes for fracking, however there was no additional information on plans revealed last week that would help schools seek funding for rooftop solar projects.
Climate-KIC UK director Richard Templer said it was “encouraging” for Labour's manifesto to recognise the role low carbon technologies can play in job creation.
“Big ideas on mitigating and adapting to climate change are the oxygen to feed the UK’s leadership in that market. Climate-KIC UK’s record; that 88% of start-ups exiting our accelerator pipeline have won £1m+ of seed funding shows that, with the right support, we can make the UK a leader in the carbon-constrained economy,” Templer said.
However the Renewable Energy Association said Labour's aim to create 1 million green jobs was an “ambitious” one.
“In order to succeed, we will need to really harness future technologies that the UK can excel in, such as solar, storage and marine, as well maximising technologies such as energy from waste, biomass and anaerobic digestion which are perfectly suited to the UK’s wider economy,” James Court, head of external affairs at the REA, said.
Labour is the first major party to unveil its election manifesto with other parties set to follow in its footsteps later this week.
Debate surrounding government policy and commitment to renewable energies has ratcheted up in recent weeks with the Renewable Energy Association leading calls for the next government to do more to encourage solar PV generation.
And last week Hive Energy’s Tim Purbrick said the current coalition government had “not done enough” for solar, lamenting the replacement of ROCs with a CfD process that has resulted in no new large-scale solar projects to be built this year.
This article has been amended from its original version to include new comments from the Renewable Energy Association and Climate-KIC UK.