Boris Johnson: COP26 a ‘decisive shift’ in climate change battle
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Dr Nina Skorupska CBE, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association, described how moving away from the EU restrictions, including higher VAT for renewables, is an opportunity ripe for pushing UK investment in renewable energy. This comes as the European Commission moves to get rid of lower VAT on fossil fuels and peat by the start of 2030.
Dr Skorupska told Express.co.uk: “I think it’s been a whole mixed bag, the impacts on our sector as a result of Brexit.
“I do welcome that the UK Government has the ability to set how we tax things independently, and we’ve long called for VAT-positive positioning for renewable technologies and energy transitions for people’s homes, so they can be encouraged to install it.
“With the whole mixed bag of VAT rules – at the moment, you only have to pay five percent in VAT if you want to heat your home with a bag of coal.
“Yet energy storage, and certain scales of solar, it’s up to 20 percent.”
She added: “We’ve got inconsistencies that now the UK Government can choose to put right in its own way, without due regard for EU rules.
“I really look forward to all that becoming a lot more refined.”
Dr Skorupska believes the timeline of dealing with Brexit negotiations had taken attention away from the drive towards cleaner energy.
She claimed: “All the civil servants who were diverted for nearly three years meant that we were not working on those policies that have just appeared now.
“We’ve got a three-year black hole of where we could be.”
Dr Skorupska added: “Over this last year, there was a massive hurry by this Government following the announcement by the Prime Minister of the ten-point plan, back in last November, and then, last December, they released the energy white paper.
“Over the course of this year, we’ve had a whole plethora of strategies, of policies, statements, consultations.
“We’re doing a lot of thinking, but what we have to now do is take all that feedback and next year, not slow down, but actually start doing.”
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Amid this talk, there is increasing support for measures such as those suggested by Dr Skorupska. A new YouGov poll suggests around 46 percent of MPs support removing VAT from domestic renewables and energy efficiency measures for 10 years.
The survey also found that over three-quarters of MPs thought that small-scale renewables, for example, heat pumps, should be a default addition to new builds as of next year.
Dr Skorupska also described the impact of Brexit on renewable energy production, particularly those “who rely on imported components when they’re putting their kit together”.
She painted a picture of opportunities lost to forge a new industry in which the UK leads the rest of the world, hindered further by supply chain issues from Brexit.
She added: “The area where it’s not been so good is around logistics, transport, and where we’ve seen the number of people available for our members who need to move their goods around or to have to import goods have had to withstand greater levels of bureaucracy.
“It’s not as seamless as it was before.
“We can no longer rely on a just-in-time approach for managing goods and services.”
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