Green infrastructure obsession "damaging" Britain, think tank warns14 October 2009
Transport and energy infrastructures in Britain are being damaged by politicians' obsession with 'green' technology, according to a report from the independent think tank Reform.
It says that the £4bn a year being spent on sustainable energy should be phased out, allowing for "a new culture of entrepreneurship".
This would allow companies to build new road, rail and broadband networks and "repeat the success of low-cost airlines".
"The UK is on a road to nowhere. Vast amounts of taxpayers' money are being spent subsidising uneconomic activity," said Reform deputy director Elizabeth Truss.
The report says that politicians are blinded by the "green heat of technology" leaving Britain's infrastructure "creaking".
Meanwhile, private road and rail investments are being blocked by bureaucrats while ministers favour grand projects such as high-speed rail and wind power.
Instead, says the report, they should be promoting the roads and nuclear power needed to drive growth and reduce carbon emissions.
The report notes that although the UK is ranked sixth in the world for gross domestic product, it is 34th for the quality of its infrastructure.
It cites the £2.8bn levy on utility bills for new energy and broadband projects that are "uneconomic" and the "thousands of green jobs that will remain a pipedream".
A further £1.3bn will be spent funding this activity that "will not address the real problems preventing private investment, including planning sclerosis and over-zealous bureaucracy".