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Renewable Energy

Volume 476: debated on Thursday 22 May 2008

11. What the change in the amount of electricity generated from renewable sources in the UK has been over the last 10 years. (206991)

The amount of electricity generated from renewable sources increased by 12,500 GWh between 1996 and 2006, to be more than three times the level it was 10 years earlier. It now represents about 5 per cent. of our electricity. The Government will consult over the summer on what more we should do to increase renewable energy use to meet the UK’s share of the European Union 2020 renewable energy target.

Almost everybody wants to see more energy produced from renewable sources, but whenever an application is made for a wind turbine, there are objections and delays and, more often than not, a rejection of a proposal. Last week, I went with the International Development Committee to Germany and Denmark, and both are far ahead of where we are. Does my hon. Friend agree that the planning laws are resulting in millions of tonnes of carbon unnecessarily being pumped into the atmosphere? In fact, they are an ecological and environmental disaster. Will the Government do something about it?

Order. When supplementaries are too long, it is unfair to other hon. Members in the Chamber.

My hon. Friend the Member for City of York (Hugh Bayley) never talks rubbish; it is a perfectly proper question. We are of course reforming the planning laws with the independent planning commission. Although it is perfectly right and proper that we safeguard the right of local communities to voice their concerns, we do need faster access to infrastructure because of climate change. There are a number of projects in the pipeline—renewables that will be built—and various reforms, including planning, will ease our progress.