East Anglia: Bio Group chief attacks UK progress on ‘green’ energy

THE chief executive of an East Anglian-based bioenergy company has attacked the UK’s limited progress in switching to “green” sources of electricity.

Steve Sharratt from Bio Group, which operates a network of facilities producing renewable energy from food waste, was speaking at the launch of a CBI report on maximising the potential of green business.

The report, The Colour of Growth, includes new research which shows that the UK has the ability to become a global front-runner in low carbon products and services, which could be adding an extra �20billion to the economy by 2015.

However, the CBI warns that the Government needs to take the right action to grasp this potential and avoid damaging the competitiveness of key industries.

“The Government must realise it does not have to choose between going green and going for growth, if it is to make the most of green business,” said Mr Sharratt.

“If Portugal can increase its reliance on green electricity from 17% to 45% in just five years, our own leaders have little excuse for our measly 3%. Their new target is to have 60% renewables or energy production by 2020 and they are well on track. If they can, why can’t we in the UK?”

Keynote speaker at the launch was CBI director-general John Cridland, He said: “With something like a third of all our growth accounted for by green business last year, the UK could be a global front-runner in the shift to low-carbon.”

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The report shows that the UK grew its share of the �3.3trillion global green market by 2.3% in real terms in 2010/11, reaching �122bn and accounting for around 8% of GDP.

Green goods and services are also a strong contributor to UK exports, it says, with the potential to cut the UK trade deficit by half by the end of this Parliament.

However, the report warns that the Government’s current approach risks the UK missing out on reaching its potential. It says a green business slowdown could cost the UK �400million in net exports in 2014/15, and poor policy choices could undermine sectors which are crucial to any low-carbon transition, such as energy-intensive industries.