New consultation proposes stripping fracking decisions from local councils

Fracking has a serious public relations problem. The latest government opinion poll found that just 16% support fracking, with 32% opposed. And the more heavily industry pushes, the more local communities dig their feet in. Recently, Conservative-controlled Derbyshire county council planning committee voted nine to one not to support a fracking application by Ineos - the fourth example in less than fortnight of English councils opposing onshore gas plans.

But will councils in the future have the chance to vote on fracking applications or will the decision be taken out of their hands?

New court case to challenge government on climate targets

As a member of the Paris climate agreement, the UK has signed up to play its part in the overall aim: "Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change."

The UK's emissions targets under the Climate Change Act are to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. Emissions budgets for five year periods are determined by the Committee on Climate Change. It's extremely concerning that according the Committee we are well off track to meet the cuts we need to make by 2030, let alone 2050.

But the organisation Plan B have been asking a different question - are the targets themselves sufficient to meet the aims of the Paris climate agreement?

Budget bad news for renewables as Treasury stalls subsidies

Unheralded by Philip Hammond in his speech, this year's Budget contained an alarming announcement for renewable energy: there will be “no new low carbon electricity levies until 2025”. 

Commitments made in the government ’s Clean Growth Strategy will not be affected: existing Contracts for Difference (including Hinkley Point C) and existing commitments under regulatory schemes such as the Renewables Obligation and Feed-in Tariffs, and up to £557 million (in 2011-12 prices) for additional Contracts for Difference (most of the latter to be spent on offshore wind).