The pace of green jobs growth in the UK has plunged to its lowest level in five years as ministers dither over a raft of decisions on the future of a renewable energy industry battered by subsidy cuts.
The number of jobs in wind, solar, biofuel and other clean power companies rose to just under 126,000 last year, new figures show, a record amount for a sector that barely existed 20 years ago.
However, this is only a 2.5 per cent rise from the previous year, the smallest increase since 2012 and well below the 9 per cent jump recorded in 2014.
“What is deeply frustrating is that this growth could have been greater,” said Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association, which compiled the latest data. “Policy instability in Westminster, however, has slowed growth.”
Businesses across the UK energy sector have grown increasingly frustrated by delays on a slew of policy decisions affecting future investments, as ministers grapple with Brexit and the fallout from the second general election in two years.
Renewables companies are still waiting for the energy department to publish a much-delayed “clean growth plan” setting out how the UK will meet targets to cut carbon emissions. Ministers said in 2015 it would be published by the end of 2016 but now say it will not come out until autumn 2017.