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Rising energy bills and a Brexit-related policy vacuum will lead to the re-emergence of renewables being used as a punchbag, warned former Conservative MP Laura Sandys.

The former parliamentary private secretary to climate change minister Greg Barker in the previous coalition government said the renewables industry would once again face accusations of being “green crap” in the months ahead.

Speaking at the RenewableUK annual conference in Liverpool, Sandys said the sector should invoke a “hard decarbonisation” strategy in the face of likely opposition in the months ahead.

“‘Green crap’ will re-emerge as reviving some form of magnet around the right of the Tory party and, unless the renewables industry fills the policy vacuum, it will be filled very quickly by the likes of Nigel Lawson and Matt Ridley who want to use coal and reverse the low-carbon transition,” she added.

Sandys, now chief executive of consultancy Challenging Ideas, suggested the UK creates a ‘Low Carbon Transition Group’ or even an Environment Agency-style delivery body to deter political interference.

Siemens director of energy stratergy Matthew Knight said hundreds of MPs could be tempted to blame renewables for rising energy bills instead of Brexit if it was politically expedient to do so.

“We have to get in first and be very loud about costs coming down and local benefits or we will lose the battle over the next six months,” he added.

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