MP Neil Carmichael discusses ‘green finance’

10:10am Monday 10th March 2014

By Neil Carmichael

THE Environmental Audit Committee, of which I am a member, is empowered to range over all aspects of government to probe and assess the effectiveness of environmentally sustainable policies, and recently published its report entitled Green Finance. The launch event took place in the City of London in order to underline the emphasis on accessing capital for green purposes.

The Stroud Valleys and Vale are home to many green businesses so this report should be of considerable interest to those focussing on emerging technologies, investment in environment protection, and anything related to renewable energy and saving energy.

Several local firms are already trading with great success and some have developed promising export markets, notably Green Fuels of Stonehouse with its bio-fuel technology.

The committee has already reported on the need for a green investment bank and, now it is in place and already providing finance to green businesses, the next step is to ensure it can expand.

A key report recommendation is for the Green Investment Bank to be able borrow in 2015-16 and beyond, and, by extension, for the Government to resolve some difficulties with state aid rules in connection with, for example, community energy.

At the event, Shawn Kingsbury, chief executive of the Green Investment Bank, noted the need to be 'green and profitable'. He went on to point out that green lending would soon exceed £1 billion and, more impressively still, new launches of green businesses in the City had raised some £1.2 billion.

He welcomed the report and recommendations; indeed the relationship between the committee and bank is very constructive.

Another event speaker was Robert Rabinowitz of Pure Leapfrog, a provider of finance to community energy schemes.

The key message from this presentation was all about the importance of engaging with and, above all, providing benefits to local stakeholders in community energy schemes.

Like in all finance deals, local stakeholders should have “skin in the game”.

An overriding theme of the report is the danger of overvaluing companies with fossil fuel assets if further measures to counter climate change are required.

Anyone wanting to contact Neil can call his office on 01453 751572, write to 7 Bridge Street, Nailsworth, GL6 0AA or email neil.carmichael.mp@parliament.uk

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