Leaked Rudd letter reveals UK 'will miss renewables targets'

Reports that energy secretary Amber Rudd is aware the UK will miss its 2020 target for renewable energy provision, despite voicing support for new cuts to solar and wind subsidies, feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Guardian reports that a leaked letter from energy secretary Amber Rudd reveals she is aware that the nation will only deliver 11.5 per cent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020, despite an EU requirement for the proportion to be 15 per cent. Greenpeace and the Green Party said the revelation was inconsistent with Rudd’s claims in parliament that the UK would "still be meeting" renewables targets after post-election cuts to subsidies for power generated by wind and solar schemes. The newspaper said the shortfall referred to in the leaked letter related to forecasts for power supplied as measured in terrawatt hours.

The Financial Times (subscription required) has news that the Treasury has removed one of the "last remaining incentives" for investment in renewables, following the government’s post-general election subsidy cull. It says that community-owned solar and wind farms have been exempted from social-investment tax relief (SITR), despite  having been "previously singled out by the chancellor as a vehicle for future investment in the sector". According to the Financial Times, a community scheme that would have powered the West Sussex village of Balcombe is among the first to be cancelled following the government’s move.

The Guardian reports that construction work in central London is at its highest level since the financial crisis, with the construction of new offices in the centre of the capital up 18 per cent over the past six months. It said research by property firm Deloitte Real Estate said a collection of new City skyscrapers  was among 77 current schemes, including 100 Bishopsgate which will house the Royal Bank of Canada and Principal Place, which will be online retailer Amazon’s UK headquarters.

An editorial in The Times (subscription required) salutes the government’s proposals to sell off some of the nation’s Victorian prisons for redevelopment, and to build nine new ones. "They are often located on prime inner-city land on which thousands of new homes could be built," it says. "Selling them to help solve the housing shortage is sensible. [Justice secretary Michael] Gove must push ahead with his plans. It is in everyone’s interests that he prevails."

Elsewhere, The Times (subscription required) has news that a Conservative backbench MP wants the government to urge housebuilders to create special habitats for hedgehogs when new homes are constructed. According to the newspaper, Oliver Colvile, who represents the Plymouth Sutton & Devonport constituency, has hedgehog-friendly garden fencing on his wishlist of things the industry can do to help the spiny creatures move more freely.

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