Business group report warns billions of private sector investment could be lost

The government must clarify its policy on energy and planning reforms or risk losing billions of private sector investment, warns the CBI today.

In its report, No time to lose: Deciding Britain’s energy future, the business group said that without clarity on government policy, £150bn of private sector investment in low-carbon infrastructure would fail to materialise. Without it the UK’s ability to achieve a secure, sustainable and cost-effective energy mix could be jeopardised.

The CBI said that uncertainty about the planning regime in particular is making investors wary of committing to new energy projects. The government has announced it will abolish the Infrastructure Planning Commission and replace it with a Major Infrastructure Unit with decision-making powers returned to ministers. 

By the end of February next year the CBI wants the government to tackle delays in the planning system, speed up the development of carbon capture and storage technology and provide more detail on electricity market reform, its renewable energy policy, and the implications of the Emissions Performance Standard.

John Cridland, deputy director-general of the CBI, said the government must not let the timetable for energy and planning reform slip any further. “Energy companies are unable to get the ball rolling on new infrastructure projects when it is unclear how the future planning regime will work.  Uncertainty on plans for electricity market reform, slow progress on clean coal and nuclear power, as well as the cost of renewable energy are adding to the mood of caution among investors. We need investment from companies, not delays from government”.