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Lord Deben is worried

Lord Deben is worried. Veolia UK Ltd, the company he chairs, stands ready to connect just as many windfarms to the grid as the country is willing to subsidise. But without clear national carbon reduction targets, the company is unlikely to make its mint.

In an entirely unrelated step, Deben has written to the Energy Secretary.

We note that the Government has acknowledged the benefit of a 2030 carbon-intensity target in your recent proposed amendment to the Energy Bill. However, the delay in setting this until 2016 at the earliest means that a high degree of uncertainty about sector development beyond 2020 remains. This will adversely impact on supply chain investment decisions and project development, therefore undermining implementation of the Bill and raising costs for consumers.

  • Scenarios recently published by the Government in its gas generation strategy suggest the possibility of a significant fall-off in investment in low-carbon power generation after 2020...
  • This could be particularly damaging for investment now in the offshore wind supply chain.

That would be a shame, wouldn't it?

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Reader Comments (56)

Can we definitively determine who he means by the word "we"? I am guessing he means Veolia?

Feb 27, 2013 at 3:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Nothing could be more damaging to our electricity supply than offshore wind. Therefore anything that is particularly damaging to investment in the offshore wind supply chain is a very very good thing. It will reduce costs to the consumer.

Feb 27, 2013 at 3:22 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

That treasonable little oik Gummer needs to be kicked out of his position as Chair of the CC committee toot sweet. He should be replaced by Douglas Carswell.

Feb 27, 2013 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterRog Tallbloke

I'm predicting:

... a significant fall-off in investment in low-carbon power generation ...

BEFORE 2020.

Feb 27, 2013 at 3:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

'Scenarios recently published by the Government in its gas generation strategy suggest the possibility of a significant fall-off in investment in low-carbon power generation after 2020...'

'This could be particularly damaging for investment now in the offshore wind supply chain.'

-"That would be a shame, wouldn't it?"

Get out the Veolin.

Feb 27, 2013 at 3:24 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Bare faced corruption is the only way it should be, right in front of peoples' faces here it can't be noticed!

Feb 27, 2013 at 3:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Is this the "treasonable little oik Gummer " who was on the telly feeding kids beefbugers at the height of the mad cow disease scandal? He's probably feeding them horsebugers now.

Nice to see he's still got the bit between his teeth.

Feb 27, 2013 at 3:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

Grimly amusing to hear Hazel Blears bewailing the high cost of energy in PMQs, and what is the PM going to do about it? Er ... did you vote for more renewables, Hazel? Your fault, then. And doubtless I missed you banging the drum for shale.

Reminder to all Labour MPs banging on about food banks: your obsession with making energy dearer makes things worse for your voters.

Feb 27, 2013 at 3:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Page

It would of course be cheaper all-round if we didn't connect them at all.

Feb 27, 2013 at 4:20 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

"In an entirely unrelated step..."

You do have a nice line in irony, Your Grace.

Feb 27, 2013 at 4:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Fowle

Is this the "treasonable little oik Gummer " who was on the telly feeding kids beefbugers at the height of the mad cow disease scandal? He's probably feeding them horsebugers now.

Feb 27, 2013 at 3:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff
It doesn't seem to have done them any harm, Roger:

I'm more worried about Selwyn (aka Lord Deben). I think his 1993 brush with the Norwegians, when he was called "drittsekk" (translated as "shitbag") by the Norwegian Minister of Environmental Affairs, has unhinged him.

I think he needs a call from an influential Norwegian (or a Christmas Tree) to tell him that they have precisely zero intention of stopping gas and oil extraction, and he should get off his groovy wind-train.

Likewise, the Australians may be getting carbon-shafted by their government but they will continue to sell China and the rest of the world as much coal as they are pleased to pay for.

Feb 27, 2013 at 4:32 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Later in that letter: Setting a 2014 carbon intensity target will "provide more confidence that there will be good value for money from the levy control framework funding." One has to wonder whose value concerns him.

Feb 27, 2013 at 4:50 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

If I read this right the trougher is concerned that his trough may not be completely full after 2020. [Raise the tone please]

Feb 27, 2013 at 4:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterNTropywins

"In an entirely unrelated step...."

Yes, the spectacle of noble public servants working tirelessly on behalf of the public good, with no thoughts or prospects for personal gain, must always be an edifying one.

No one could question Lord Deben's altruistic motives in such matters.

Feb 27, 2013 at 5:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterSkiphil

Lord Deben >>>>> Chair of CCC >>>>> Chair of Veola Renewables Co >>>>> MASSIVE conflict of interests.

He can be Chair of one but not the other. Time for someone to decide for him.

Feb 27, 2013 at 5:22 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

At least Deben's behaviour is pure old-school Tory, which has been much-lamented as missing in the modern age. You can at least admire his chutzpah.

Feb 27, 2013 at 5:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Why has Lord Deben not declared his interest when writing this missive to the Secretary of Stae. Is this not an abuse of Parliament.

Who do we report him to for this slip of the pen?

Feb 27, 2013 at 5:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Dent

Compare Deben's concerns with the statement on the website of Dalkia (Veolia's energy branch):

"To support our long-term solutions we can design, build and invest in energy centres that will cut your carbon emissions"

Feb 27, 2013 at 6:10 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

I am not sure that any of us, steeped in the comforting certainties of tax-payer funded high office and its consequent ready access to multi-nationals anxious to solicit your apparent influence, could resist the temptations that have been dangled so enticingly in front of 'Lord' Deben, not least given his presumption that eminence such as his deserves, in fact demands, repeated and lucrative renumeration.

[Raise the tone please]

And for Deben, read Yeo.

In 1973, Edward Heath criticised 'Tiny' Rowland as representing 'the unacceptable face of capitalism'. Bandit though he was, Rowland had nothing on the self-serving greed of the likes of Deben – all, let it never be forgotten, at public expense.

Feb 27, 2013 at 6:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts

The indignation directed at Gummer in this thread is entirely understandable and justified. But there will always be corrupt politicians seeking the sort of role he has if the legislative system allows people with financial interests in the outcome of legislation and Government policy to sit on and chair parliamentary committees which influence legislation and policy.

Yeo and Gummer are openly exploiting the fact that their conflicts of interest are not prohibited. We should be lobbying at the very least for parliamentary committee members to be required not to have any financial interests in businesses which benefit from Government subsidies or policy. In other words, it is a problem with the rules, not just one of two corrupt legislators. It absurd that such a situation still exists, especially after the "Tory sleaze" of the 1990s and the recent parliamentary expenses scandal.

Feb 27, 2013 at 6:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterGuy Leech

Guy L;

What you say is true. But does this excuse the likes of Gummer and Yeo from so shamefully abusing their parliamentary positions for personal gain? Can all sense of honour and public interest be jettisoned in the interets of financial gain purely because the rules allow it?

Honour is a much mis-used word. What I find for repellent is is men of apparent 'honour' such Yeo and Gummer, with their pin-stripped suits and airs of gravitas, prostituting themselves for personal gain at the obvious expense of all the rest of us.

Clearly, they have no shame. No less clearly, they should be hounded and humiliated until they are forced to run for cover.

Feb 27, 2013 at 6:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts

"Veolia UK Ltd, the company he chairs, stands ready to connect just as many windfarms to the grid"

That would be the Veolia whose main line of business (according to Gumboil himself) was the supply of water meters? They seem to have diversified rather quickly...

Feb 27, 2013 at 6:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

This could be particularly damaging for investment now in the offshore wind supply chain.
Oh, good!

Feb 27, 2013 at 6:41 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson


"airs of gravitas"

I get your drift, but Gummer has only ever had the gravitas of a Tellytubby.

Feb 27, 2013 at 6:44 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Guy Leech

I assume you are the self-same hero who penned a superb letter to the Prime Minister only to receive a complete non-response from some Jonny at DECC - all posted at Tallbloke's. If so, just want to say glad to have you on the side of the righteous.

Feb 27, 2013 at 6:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterNTropywins

I went to a lecture yesterday by Lord Deben Even ostriches need third party insurance: The case for action on climate change in a polycentric world

Deben said that it costs households just £60/year 'to ensure decarbonisation of the electricity supply by 2030' (he compared that with £500/y car insurance - sounds like he has a bigger/newer car than I do ...)

I assume that's just the renewables obligation certificates and not all the other costs. I didn't manage to ask a question.

Feb 27, 2013 at 6:57 PM | Registered CommenterRuth Dixon

Guy Leech

as to the substance of your post, you are entirely right. The current rules clearly attract the wrong calibre of person to politics. I think these armpits like to think of themselves as career politicians. If the rules strictly prohibited any semblance of conflict of interest then a lot of the chancers who find themselves in politics might think twice and take up another line of business more suited to their talents like running a cheese emporium or selling goldfish on a fairground.

Feb 27, 2013 at 7:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterNTropywins

How DARE they interfere with my offshore money generators!

Well Deben, my heart pumps p*** for you.

Feb 27, 2013 at 7:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

o/t - interesting snippet in the Speccie this evening:

Interestingly, the chairman of the Treasury Select Committee Andrew Tyrie argued that the Budget should reduce the cost of energy by scrapping various green levies. I’m told Osborne was extremely receptive to this idea.

Feb 27, 2013 at 7:10 PM | Registered Commenterwoodentop

I may be the only commenter here that has actually had contact with the slimeball Glummer. Let's just just say that he has always been acutely aware of whose butter he puts on the public bread he consumes.

Feb 27, 2013 at 7:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

For anybody who has the time and patience to raise a formal complaint about Deben's outrageous conflict of interest, the person to write to is:

Feb 27, 2013 at 7:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

Now that's what I call brass neck.

Feb 27, 2013 at 7:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterTC


Nailed it. 'Selling goldfish on a fairground' is about exactly what Deben and Yeo are up to – and about all they are good for.

It's spiv time all round, with all the fun of the fair. Fake nylons, girls? Lip-stick? A quicky round the back?

Except that the cost is not being measured in fivers but in billions.

Theft is too polite a word to describe what these modern-day crooks are up to.

Feb 27, 2013 at 7:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts

I hope you have seen this already, if not, wallow in Schadenfreude:

Feb 27, 2013 at 8:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Silver


It's more like those gouging old folks out of thousands for work on their roofs which doesn't need doing and which they don't do anyway.

Feb 27, 2013 at 8:41 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

[Do that again and you are banned]

Feb 27, 2013 at 8:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterSean

Sean (8:42 PM) -
I am not defending Gummer, but I consider comments such as that one beyond the pale.

Feb 27, 2013 at 8:52 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW


Feb 27, 2013 at 8:55 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A


No less true. Here I am with my big bucket of pitch fixing granny's roof while she cowers downstairs, demanding to be paid in cash and off well before the inevitably bodged job brings the ceiling down.

Expect that it isn't just granny's cash. It's all our cash.

Once upon a time, rogue traders of this kind used to end up in prison. These days, they're in the House of Lords.

Feb 27, 2013 at 8:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts


Feb 27, 2013 at 9:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterSean

Right on, Sean!

Feb 27, 2013 at 9:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Silver

Gummer, Yeo et. al. have the full support of the Guardian's environmental pressure

If we do not put those renewables in place at once our bills are going to go up, you know.

Feb 27, 2013 at 9:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

[Raise the tone] I had a much longer post ready but then, for the fifth time today, a brownout wiped my house. Five times in one day.

Although I'm no believer in the idea that this is a 'democracy', I do believe that, in times past, those robbing the system kept it to themselves. Deben and Yeo are typical NuX - no reason to hide your theft - after all everyone else is at it. Democracy eh? Licence to steal your neighbours wealth and hand it out to your school chums - we even have thugs to break your skull should you resist.

- This isn't going to end well

Feb 27, 2013 at 10:17 PM | Unregistered Commenter3x2


The Rule of Law. There has to be a pre-existing body of law which you've transgressed to be guilty of a crime. No retrospective law making.

Deben, Yeo and the like are acting within the law. Now there's a conflict of interest, and they help make and implement the laws from which they benefit. The whole thing stinks to high Heaven, especially the humbug passed off as doing well by doing good, and the squeals that follow the discovery that the scam might not be quite the money machine they thought.

But, however morally repugnant you find their actions, it's counter-productive to talk of lamp posts and piano wire.

Some years back, "date rape" was all the vogue. There was a case in the papers of a student who was reported to the university authorities for "date rape". It was their clear intention to hold a hearing and expel him.

He laid the matter before his tutor who was Bertrand Russell's grandson. Russell's view was that the authorities were accusing him of a serious crime carrying the penalty of several year's in prison. It wasn't up to them to deal with it privately according to arbitrary standards and impose their own sanction of expelling him. It was their public duty, if they had reasonable suspicion that an indictable had been committed, to report it to the police who might then report it to the CPS. It was his entitlement to have the case heard in a recognised court with established standards of evidence.

That was the line he put to the university authorities, who went silent on the matter.

I'd argue that by advocating the death penalty for Deben for what you claim are his crimes, you are placing yourself in the same position as those university authorities.

The real Thomas More was far from the goody goody shown in the film, but the point made is a good one.

Feb 27, 2013 at 10:34 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

Deben is the worst kind of benefits scrounger- and should be dealt by the Courts as such.
When I have a little spare time, I will construct a case [against] Deben and his fellow parasite, Yeo.

Feb 27, 2013 at 11:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

I found this about a wind farm at Cape Cod, USA

Two wind turbines towering above the Cape Cod community of Falmouth, Mass., were intended to produce green energy and savings -- but they've created angst and division, and may now be removed at a high cost as neighbors complain of noise and illness.

"It gets to be jet-engine loud," said Falmouth resident Neil Andersen. He and his wife Betsy live just a quarter mile from one of the turbines. They say the impact on their health has been devastating. They're suffering headaches, dizziness and sleep deprivation and often seek to escape the property where they've lived for more than 20 years.

"Every time the blade has a downward motion it gives off a tremendous energy, gives off a pulse," said Andersen. "And that pulse, it gets into your tubular organs, chest cavity, mimics a heartbeat, gives you headaches. It's extremely disturbing and it gets to the point where you have to leave."

Feb 27, 2013 at 11:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterForester126


Who will rid of of this appalling trougher non pareil - entity?

I've got some ideas but not on a polite blog................

Feb 28, 2013 at 12:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

cosmic - I would be happy to discuss this further, but apparently this blog does not encourage free speech.

Reply to moderator - feel welcome to ban me if that is your inclination.

To steal shamelessly from Groucho Marx: I Don’t Want to Participate in Any Blog That Does Not Allow Free Speech. I was already disappointed by your censorship the other day of the curtain call story. Its your blog so do as you will. Goodbye.

Feb 28, 2013 at 4:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterSean

Agouts - Prison? Perhaps. I'd think the French 'tax farmers' of the pre-Revolutionary era might represent a pretty good analog. Our modern Lavoisiers may fear for their pocketbook but they do not seem to think they'll end up 'lanterned'.

Feb 28, 2013 at 6:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterJEM

Don 1102 pm

I think you'll earn the gratitude of all on this blog if you do so.

ex HuneToTheSlammer

Feb 28, 2013 at 8:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterGummerMustGo

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