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The General Election: What does the new government mean for the waste sector?

The new Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, has only been in her new post for a few weeks but is already making her presence felt. A junior energy minister in the coalition government, Rudd would not have expected to find herself in her current position - not least because she was defending a marginal seat in Hastings and Rye at the election which many commentators believed might swing to Labour.

So what will the new Government mean for renewable energy? The Conservative manifesto is the obvious starting point, which promised "The greenest Government ever” and made clear that onshore wind farms will have their public subsidy removed. Any such wind farms will also be reverted to local authorities for planning consent and will therefore require local public support before going ahead - unlikely in many cases. It is currently unclear if the Government will remove the right for developers to appeal any decisions taken by local authorities in this regard. 

 Perhaps as a part of rebalancing the renewable energy mix, Rudd has already pledged to unleash a "solar revolution" instead. 

Reassuringly for the renewable sector, Rudd is fully committed to tackling climate change although believes that new nuclear is essential. 

Both she, and more importantly the Chancellor of the Exchequer, are keen to explore the potential of shale gas. Perhaps to appease anticipated local opposition to drilling, the concept of a sovereign wealth fund has been suggested that would ensure that local communities directly benefit from shale gas. 

And intriguingly there is a commitment to provide start-up funding for new renewable technologies and research - but a value for money test will need to be passed first. 

In what promises to be an interesting and controversial Parliament, Amber Rudd will need to ensure that the lights stay on, consumers feel as though they are getting value for money and that the UK meets its renewable targets. Quite an in tray to deal with. 


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