UK needs electric cars and nuclear power, says watchdog

| 12th October 2009
Jeremy Harrall
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The government should roll out a home audit scheme with the help of energy companies to recommend the improvements to homeowners

Government climate watchdog says a 'step change' in Government policy is needed to meet carbon reduction targets

The UK will need to push homes to be more energy efficient, set up an electric car infrastructure and build three nuclear power stations by 2022 to meet carbon reduction targets.

So says the Climate Change Committee (CCC) in its first annual progress report.

The authors said the UK was already at risk of falling behind on its legally binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.

The watchdog, set up as part of the Climate Change Act 2008 to monitor progress on reducing carbon emissions, said the recession had created an 'over rosy impression' of progress and could 'undermine steps to drive long-term reductions'.

Outlining what the Government should be working on over the next decade, the Committee said the UK needed to build 8,000 new wind turbines and two nuclear power stations by 2020 and a third by 2022.

It also said four Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) demonstration plants should be up and running by 2020.

But the Committee said that the biggest changes would need to be in the home.

The report says that energy efficiency in homes could be improved by 35 per cent by 2020 with improved insulation; lofts, cavity walls and solid walls. But existing government schemes were unlikely to achieve this target.

Instead, the Government should roll out a home audit scheme along with energy companies to recommend the improvements to homeowners.

To accelerate the transition to a sustainable transportation sector, the Committee said in transport, the Government should fund an electric car charging infrastructure to cater for 1.7 million electric and plug-in hybrids cars that should be on the road by 2020.

'What we have proposed is achievable and affordable but action needs to be taken now if we are to make our contribution to combating climate change,' said CCC Chair Lord Turner.

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