Energy secretary says green policies are not a “burden”

Energy secretary Ed Davey has launched a thinly-veiled attack on chancellor George Osborne over his lack of support for the green economy.

Last autumn the chancellor said green policies were a costly “burden” on business.

But in a speech to global energy ministers in London today, Davey criticised the view that “in some quarters, the green agenda is painted as an unbearable burden”.

He said: “We need to make the medium and long-term case, even when people are preoccupied by short-term impacts… We should state more strongly the business case for going green. Efficiency policies are unashamedly good for growth: using less resource lowers operating costs and frees up capital.”

The speech follows moves by the prime minister to block changes to building regulations, which would have forced home owners to increase the energy efficiency of their homes when carrying out extensions to their property.

The construction industry was divided over whether the policy would stimulate or hamper business.

David Cameron’s intervention was prompted by outcries in the press that the changes amounted to a “tax on conservatories”.

Some Conservatives were even reported as wanting an end to the government’s Green Deal, which was poised to receive a boost from the changes to regulations, even though it was a policy the Conservative Party developed in opposition.

Cameron is due to address ministers at the conference tomorrow.