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Community Energy Legislation To Be Debated in British Parliament

Labour MP publishes community energy Bill

6 March 2012
Labour MP publishes community energy Bill

Parliament is due to debate a new Bill today designed to establish a new right for communities to invest in green power projects and takeover ownership of their local electricity distribution network. 

This legislation – known officially as the Energy Generation (Planning and Right to Invest) Bill – has been drawn up by Labour backbencher Gareth Thomas.

The Harrow West MP’s bill also includes a proposal for a new agency, called Community Power Direct. This would help local communities buy shares in new energy investment and have a say in how profits are allocated and the business is run. 

The agency would also have to be consulted before planning applications for new energy projects were approved.

In addition the Bill would create a right of first refusal for local communities to take over the ownership of the electricity distribution network in their area if and when it is put up for sale.

As well the measures would introduce a licensing process for new “infill” grid networks (for example where a major new housing development requires new infrastructure). The local community would be given a right to tender for the licence to run this part of the network.

Said Thomas: “Local people should have the right to invest in, benefit from and have a say in how our future energy is produced and run”.

He added:” Helping people to have a say through a co-operative in how a vital community need is produced could help communities to be just that little bit more resilient and that little more able to stand up against the vested interests that have driven up energy prices and driven down energy investment.” 

Source: Utility Week (

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