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‘Green’ Economy Greatly Inflated

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David Rose, Mail on Sunday

Official Government figures on the size of the green economy are totally bogus, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. The official figures exaggerate the scale of the ‘green’ sector by up to 700 per cent.

The figures, issued by the Department for Business and Skills, are said to show that the environmental sector was worth a staggering £122 billion last year, making it the fastest-growing part of the economy, writes David Rose.

Ministers have repeatedly used the figures to justify crippling energy taxes and subsidies for wind farms. They claim the figures show that these policies will open the way to a booming future of ‘green jobs’ and low-carbon prosperity.

But documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal the true value of the green economy is actually between only £16.8 billion and £27.9 billion, depending on exactly how the term ‘green economy’ is defined. In other words, the official figures exaggerate the scale of the sector by up to 700 per cent.

The so-called Low Carbon and Environmental Goods and Services (LCEGS) figure has no known basis in reality.

For example, calculations assert that renewable energy is worth £37 billion a year – when, according to the Department of Energy, the entire UK electricity market is worth less than £30 billion.

Even the Renewable Energy Association – an industry lobby group which tries to persuade the Government to increase its subsidies – says that the total value of the renewable sector is less than £10 billion.

The LCEGS figures also include billions of pounds from activities which few people would class as ‘green’ – such as water supply, landfill sites for rubbish and, most bizarrely of all – accounting for almost £9 billion – ordinary windows and doors.

Another £11.7 billion is supposedly contributed by the liquid propane and natural gas markets. This figure is many times greater than the industry’s own estimates – while gas is a CO2-producing fossil fuel. 

Analysis of the LCEGS data came in a six-month report by independent researcher Ben Pile, commissioned by UKIP MEP Roger Helmer. 

The politician said there should be a full review of all policies influenced by the data. ‘The previous and current governments made big promises about the “green economy”, based on research that was hidden from public view and which now seems to have been skewed to favour the green agenda,’ he said. ‘They have misled people, including MPs.’ 

This newspaper gave a copy of the report to the Business Department, asking if it contained anything that could be factually disputed.

A spokeswoman replied that the green economy ‘is a complex area to assess as there is no standard industry classification. However, the LCEGS data has helped to inform the debate’.

Business Secretary Vince Cable has cited the bogus figures to back his case for a new Green Investment Bank, claiming they prove that ‘green sectors have outperformed the wider economy’.

The Mail on Sunday, 14 July 2013