David Cameron urged to use budget to promote clean energy

Letter signed by public figures including Sir Richard Branson bemoans lack of clarity over support for low-carbon energy sources
Sir Richard Branson said the budget is 'one of the biggest opportunities to tackle climate change'

A letter signed by 101 public figures including Sir Richard Branson has been sent to David Cameron, urging him to promote the benefits of clean energy in the forthcoming budget.

The letter – a response to the 101 Conservative backbenchers who recently rubbished wind power – is also a strong call for the reinstatement of a stable investment platform for renewable energy as the driver of the UK's low-carbon economy.

It complains about a "lack of clarity" over support for solar, biomass and other low-carbon energy sources as well as wind, and says this should be put right in next week's budget.

"March's budget provides one of the biggest opportunities to tackle climate change in the UK," Branson said.

"We must ensure it encourages investment rather than create uncertainty and delay further serious investment in the renewable sector. As a country, we need to be better prepared to deal with rising energy prices."

The letter comes at a time when turbine manufacturers and other green investors are considering whether to invest in Britain at a time when some politicians are openly hostile, and when fossil fuel prices are soaring.

Juliet Davenport, the founder and chief executive of the renewable power supplier Good Energy, another of the letter's signatories, said Britain needed a more inclusive approach to the way it invested in its energy infrastructure.

"We need to ensure that both our planning system and our grid network support renewable energy as a vehicle for both economic and social investment in communities, towns and regions across the UK," she said.