Government not doing enough to support innovation in low carbon technologies, say MPs


MPs on the Energy and Climate Change Committee has said the Government is punching below its weight when it comes to developing low carbon technologies.

The Energy and Climate Change Select Committee scrutinised the Government’s performance in supporting firms developing new products for the £3.4 trillion international low carbon goods and environmental services sector. This followed up on a National Audit Office (NAO) report that had been critical of the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) record in 2010.


MPs found that there had not been enough progress since then and the resources allocated by the Government to support companies do not match its level of policy ambition in this area.

The committee found that the Low Carbon Innovation Coordination Group Secretariat in DECC for example is poorly resourced.

This leaves the low carbon innovation sector without the support to bring new innovative projects to market.

As well as this, the committee found that DECC’s lack of staff resource prevents it from engaging fully on European issues that are of direct relevance to UK innovators including on EU funding programmes, accessing funding and helping to shape EU standards on low carbon products.

Energy and Climate Change Select Committee chair Tim Yeo (pictured) said: “Entrepreneurs developing exciting new technologies sometimes need help to bride the ‘valley of death’ and bring products to market.

“The Government should be doing all it can to support innovative UK businesses in their efforts to access the growing global market for low-carbon goods and services.

“We were surprised and disappointed to hear that businesses and academic partners, among others, expressed continual frustration at the lack of consultation surrounding the Government’s new low carbon strategy.

“These innovators could hold the key to getting the UK over the line on our carbon emissions targets, but it’s going to be much harder for them to do that without better coordination to get us all pulling in the same direction and making better use of limited public funds.

“It is unsatisfactory that four years after the NAO criticised DECC’s support for businesses developing innovative sustainable technologies, the Government still hasn’t tackled the poor communication and coordination between its low carbon innovation group and businesses and broader innovation partners.”