Gas dash not to be banned

Labour spelt out details this week of how its environmental policies affect industry

Shadow energy minister John Battle said on Tuesday that a future Labour government would not block the construction of more gas-fired power stations.

He said further applications to build combined cycle gas turbine plants would be considered on their individual merits, as now. `We’d do it on a case-by-case basis,’ he said.

Neither would a Labour government set thresholds for gas-fired on any other type of generation, despite a desire to maintain diversity in electricity generation.

Shadow minister for environmental protection Michael Meacher, said this week that a Labour government would set up a task force to look at `greening the car’.

Involving car builders, government departments and university researchers, it would consider plausible and achievable targets in terms of fuel efficiency, alternative fuels, and emissions standards.

Speaking at a conference on Business and the Environment, Meacher called for more sensible regulations to create opportunities for providers of cleaner technology, for pollution abatement technology, for consultancy and for competitive advantage.

Another task force, including industry representatives, would look at building up solar power. Labour will include solar photovoltaic energy in a non-fossil fuel obligation scheme. The task force would look at reversible metering for solar electricity, full cost payment by utilities for solar electricity generated and the future of the regulatory and fiscal regime.

Shadow trade and industry secretary Margaret Beckett, said the party `would lead a change in culture which encourages design-intensive production, and the pursuit of scientific knowledge and understanding for its own sake’.

Labour would, she said, consider setting up a private sector-led partnership to promote exports in environmental technology – an idea proposed by the Environmental Industries Association.