Green Investing in U.K. Falls to Lowest in Decade on Brexit

(Bloomberg) -- Green investing in the U.K. fell 56 percent last year, sparking concerns in Parliament that the nation will not maintain its lead in clean energy or meet climate targets after leaving the European Union.

“Billions of pounds of investment is needed in clean energy, transport, heating and industry to meet our carbon targets,” said Mary Creagh, a member of Parliament who leads the the Environmental Audit Committee. “A dramatic fall in investment is threatening the government’s ability to meet legally binding climate change targets.”

The U.K. is a leader in clean energy, particularly offshore wind. Britain has installed more turbines in the sea than any other country and generated 15 percent of its electricity from wind and solar in 2016.

Green Investing in U.K. Falls to Lowest in Decade on Brexit

Even so, green investment fell to $10.3 billion last year from $23.4 billion in 2016, according to a report released Wednesday by the committee, which has members the main political parties in Parliament. It cited data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance showing green investment in the U.K. reached its lowest in a decade last year.

Prime Minister Theresa May presented a Clean Growth Strategy last year, but it is “long on aspiration, but short on detail” and doesn’t meet the country’s climate change targets even if all of its policies are fully delivered, the report said.

“The U.K. is a world-leader in cutting emissions, with 50 percent of our electricity coming from low-carbon sources and recently going 72 hours without burning coal,” the government’s business department said in a statement. “We’re committed to meeting our climate change targets and will have invested 2.5 billion pounds on low carbon innovations by 2021. We will consider this report carefully and respond in full in due course.”

The European Investment Bank is a major lender to green projects, but it has scaled back its work in the U.K. since the Brexit vote. The U.K. also recently sold its domestic publicly-owned lender Green Investment Bank to Macquarie Ltd. The Environmental Audit Committee recommends that the government issue a sovereign green bond to raise additional funds for environmental projects.

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