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Queen's Speech 'thin' on sustainability and renewables

The Government’s legislative programme set out in the Queen’s Speech has not given green energy producers the confidence they need to expand, according to the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA).

The Queen’s Speech included reference to the Energy Bill, which has been carried over from the previous session of Parliament.

ADBA policy manager Matt Hindle said: “It was a thin Queen’s Speech for sustainability and renewables - but we need certainty over the Energy Bill, and especially support for small-scale generation going forward.

“Confidence over government’s vision for green energy would make a huge difference and isn’t there.”

“There are two things this Parliament should sort out: long term support through the financial incentives, where the small scale feed-in tariff in particular is vulnerable to degression which would damage industry growth, and more supportive waste policy including a ban on biodegradable waste to landfill.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Energy and Climate Change said the Energy Bill reaches its report stage in the House of Commons on Monday (13 May), where “minor amendments” will be debated.

The Queen’s Speech also outlined “progress in tackling climate change” as the UK takes on the presidency of the G8 forum.

Hindle added: “A positive note was the mention for climate change in leading the G8 - growth and export markets through UK green technology could be huge.”

Audit Commission replaced

It was also announced a Local Audit and Accountability Bill will be published on Friday proposing to replace the Audit Commission with a localised auditing system.

The bill will set out plans to allow local taxpayers to veto council tax rises set by Waste Disposal Authorities and other bodies communities secretary Eric Pickles referred to as “unelected local quangos”.

Mr Pickles previously clashed with the Audit Commission over the re-introduction of weekly bin collections.

Apprenticeships to expand

Proposals to expand traineeships and apprenticeships were also outlined. The Government will is currently consultation on the future of apprenticeships in England until 22 May and will publish an implementation plan on apprenticeships in autumn of this year.

The speech said the Government would “take steps to ensure that it becomes typical for those leaving school to start a traineeship or an apprenticeship” if they do not go to university.

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