(Bloomberg) -- The UK has created a policy vacuum and hasn’t got a proper plan for achieving net zero by 2050, according to the chief executive of one of Britain’s largest energy suppliers.
The criticism, from Scottish Power’s Keith Anderson, was made at the Conservative party conference in Manchester where members are defending the prime minister’s backtracking on the UK’s green agenda. Rishi Sunak softened key parts of government policy, including a ban on petrol car sales, as he set out what he called a “new approach” to tackling climate change.
While Sunak said he remained committed to reaching net zero by 2050, weakening near-term goals will mean bigger gains have to be found later. This is a key week for the Conservatives to try to paint Britain as a global powerhouse in clean technologies.
“When you stop one policy or change it, you just leave a vacuum,” Anderson said at a fringe event. “The danger of leaving a vacuum is that people think you’ve done a U-turn and then investors start losing confidence in the future of the market.”
Investors have already expressed concern that the UK is now a less attractive place following Sunak’s announcement. The head of London-based Impax Asset Management Group Plc, a low-carbon fund investor overseeing close to $50 billion in assets, said the UK was now a risk for investors due to the changing policy.
The US tax incentive scheme for green energy is spurring investment in manufacturing capability, something the UK is lacking. In offshore wind, Germany and Denmark dominate the construction of turbines.
That’s because Britain has prioritized being “cheap” over promoting the “built in the UK” tag, said Anderson.
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