The business leaders, academics and environmentalists warning that we need a major U-turn in UK energy policy (Government ‘must change course’ after climate pact, 14 December) were clearly correct. They were focusing rightly on the need for renewables and energy conservation to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets. But it is also worth focusing on how we need many of the environmental measures that the government has cut back, delayed or abolished for economic and social reasons.

George Osborne has understandably stopped talking about rebalancing the economy – given his patent failure to achieve that in five years as chancellor – but effective policies to support wind and tidal power offer design and manufacturing opportunities for British business that are currently being squandered. The rest of the world is powering ahead on renewables, and we’re being left behind. Small- and medium-sized enterprises around the country who’ve invested in training staff – and could be taking on many more apprentices to improve Britain’s skill base – for solar installation and home energy efficiency could be given a secure future by a sensible response to the feed-in tariff consultation and a recognition that housing is part of our national infrastructure and desperately needs investment.

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