An inquiry into the Government’s environment record between 2010 and 2015 by the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has called for the Green Investment Bank (GIB) to be given full borrowing powers.
The committee issued its final report and recommendations before the general election and the formation of a new committee. EAC chair Joan Walley is standing down at the election.
In a series of recommendations it argued the GIB was a “key strand” boosting investment in renewable energy and waste projects that would otherwise struggle to gain funding.
It said: “It could do more if it were permitted to borrow to invest. The next Government must give early consideration to granting the GIB borrowing powers, to allow it to significantly scale up its investments.”
Giving such powers is now official Lib Dem policy, following the party’s latest policy conference.
The EAC also called for an “ambitious circular economy approach”, regardless of the European Commission’s work programme expected to be published by the end of the year.
The report said: “In light of the recent decision of the European Commission to drop a prospective directive on the circular economy from its 2015 Work Programme, the next Government must consider what action it might take at national level to facilitate a circular economy, with less waste and greater resource efficiency.”
When giving evidence to the committee in February, resource minister Dan Rogerson admitted that the Green Economy Council, a forum set up for business leaders to advise the Government on green growth, had not met for two years.
In addition it called on the Government to “reactivate” the council and “put it at the heart of the Government’s further work on the green economy”.
Overall, MPs were critical of the coalition government’s environmental record.
The report said: “In our many interconnected reports we have exposed gaps and failures in government policy and also a silo mentality sometimes embedded in decision-making. The agenda is urgent, so this needs to change.”