Energy & climate change minister Greg Barker has rejected criticism by green campaigners of government efforts on the low-carbon agenda.
Mr Barker said he was “fed up with the environmental Taliban” criticising ministers’ efforts to address legitimate industry concerns.
He told the Financial Times measures such as the £3bn Green Investment Bank, sweeping electricity market reform, a carbon price floor and a “Green Deal” encouraging household insulation were all evidence the government’s enthusiasm for green action was undimmed.
But he acknowledged that there had been a shift in focus in recent months.
He said: “There is a change, and that is towards better value for money and greater financial rigour,” he said.
“We recognise that in tough times the green economy doesn’t fit in a silo on its own, as some in the green lobby seem to think it should. It’s entirely right we should be mindful of the impact on consumer bills.”
The comments followed chancellor George Osborne riling green activists in the November autumn statement, when he unveiled a £250m package to help ease the impact of climate policies on heavy electricity-consuming companies, saying “we are not going to save the planet by shutting down our steel mills”.
At the same time, ministers infuriated the solar energy industry by hastily moving to stem a rush on household solar panel installations by halving the subsidies paid for such systems sparking criticism from Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace
”I was quite shocked about how some in the environmental lobby were so scathing about [the £250m industry support package],” said Mr Barker.