Wednesday 28 May 2008

Short Termist Policy Making has caused the Fuel Crisis

The Government has trapped itself into a no win crisis over fuel and energy policy. Short term policy making over the last decade has resulted in a disastrous failure to develop alternative energy sources despite all the warnings about peak oil.

The result is a continuing and indeed increasing dependency on fossil fuels and now a panic rush to escalate the country's nuclear programme in the very week that new estimates have emerged over the spiralling costs of dealing with the country's existing nuclear waste.

The Prime Minister's announcement of the opening up of new North Sea oil fields is clearly recognised, pardon the pun,as a drop in the ocean compared with rising demand. In addition it re-opens the argument over the ownership of this oil for the SNP to exploit in the independence debate.

The sense of urgency we are now witnessing in the current public debate over fuel and energy shortages was certainly not witnessed in the recent debate in Parliament over the Government's Energy Bill. When Labour backbenchers were pressing to include in this legislation early action to introduce feed in tariffs for altenative energy produced by homes and community organisations the Government refused to co-operate and instead offered yet another consultation over the coming year, delaying the whole process by at least another year and possibly longer. In Germany and other European countries the introduction of feed in tariffs has resulted in a dramatic increase in alternative energy production.

In the meantime the oil price appears to be moving innevitably towards $200 a barrel and the Government by its inaction alienates more of our supporters facing mounting fuel and energy bills.