“Jez we can” put councils in the driving seat on energy says Corbyn

Labour leadership hopeful Jeremy Corbyn has set out his vision for the environment, which includes local authorities helping to shape future energy policies.

The Islington North MP published his Protecting Our Planet manifesto today (7 August), in which he pledges to establish an Energy Commission to “draft a fundamental shift in UK energy thinking”.

The proposed Commission would be charged with bringing “new partners into energy policy making”, specifically naming councils, community groups and smart technology companies.

Mr Corbyn also pledged to look at ways to allow communities to own local energy systems, with the right to have first use of energy they generate.

"The question should not be how can we afford to do this?" said Mr Corbyn. "The question should be how can we not afford to?

"Our policy ideas today make sense on the health front, the economic and jobs front and the planet front. It's high time for politics where we implement the long overdue environmentally-friendly changes that will make a difference not just to us but to our children and grandchildren.”

In his manifesto, Mr Corbyn said zero carbon homes must become “the norm, not the exception” and pledged to support more household and community solar panels.

He also said he is opposed to fracking and new nuclear power stations.

“Instead, we should be looking at more sustainable solutions to the ways in which we deliver answers to the transport, heating, cooling and power needs in a society that must live more lightly on the planet,’ he said.

“It’s the only one we’ve got. We must clean up our act, clean up our air and clean up our mess at the same time.”

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues