WSP responds to Committee on Climate Change’s annual Progress Report to Parliament

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) delivered its annual Progress Report to Parliament, entitled ‘Reducing UK Emissions’.

In the report, the Committee provides new advice to the Government on delivering an economic recovery that accelerates the transition to a net zero economy and strengthens the UK’s resilience to the impacts of climate change.

Responding to the CCC’s report, Paul Tremble, Chief Strategy Officer at WSP, said: “Today’s Progress Report by the CCC acts as a powerful reminder that as the UK plans its recovery, no plan will be good enough unless it embeds the principles of decarbonisation, circular economy and resilience from policymaking all the way to project delivery. More than ever, it is essential to embrace the fact that achieving the UK's climate goals and rebuilding the economy are complementary and interdependent.

“The CCC confirms that it is possible to deliver an improved economy, better public health, greater biodiversity and resilient places, but only if decisive action is taken and meaningful finance allocated. There will be a tension between building back better and building back quicker in the months ahead. We hope that this report convinces policy makers to meet the public’s expectations and plan for a resilient and low carbon recovery now, accelerating our transition to a net zero society.”

Paul Tremble

Paul Tremble, Chief Strategy Officer at WSP UK

Responses to specific investment priorities identified by the CCC

Katherine Jackson, Technical Director for Energy at WSP, said:We welcome the CCC’s recommendations regarding the need to strengthen energy networks. Reinforced electricity networks, hydrogen networks and CCS infrastructure will all be essential to achieving net zero and decarbonising industry, heating and transport. They are also areas of activity well suited to the reskilling and re-employment of energy workers coming out of fossil fuel-based energy industries.”

Katherine Jackson (2)

Katherine Jackson, Energy Technical Director at WSP UK

Rachel Skinner, Head of Transport at WSP, said: “On transport, it is entirely right that we focus on embedding active travel – walking and cycling – into everyday mobility networks as both a short term solution to COVID-affected alternatives and a longer term option for healthy, zero emission movement. Digital connectivity is also key in reducing the need to travel as often, as there is clear potential to capitalise on the potential for increased remote working over recent months.

“That said, it is not realistic to expect these three elements to fulfil all movement needs. Many people have no option but to attend work in person, and many more live too far from work for walking or cycling to be a practical everyday option in all weathers.

“To build back better and avoid an unintended and rapid back-step to carbon intensive and congested car-based travel, it is therefore essential that urgent effort goes into three additional areas: providing a forward-looking public transport system that layers together established rail and bus services plus new potential for amended service patterns that could better support higher passenger flows alongside a degree of social distancing; taking advantage of new modes and in particular the opportunity for flexible, on-demand services to provide enhanced public transport services to more people in more places, and continuing support for investment in zero emission electric vehicles and associated infrastructure.”

Rachel Skinner

Rachel Skinner, Head of Transport at WSP UK

Barny Evans, Head of Sustainable Places, Energy and Waste at WSP, said: “While the CCC’s report contains ‘common sense’ proposals for the sector, it will undoubtedly focus minds in Westminster on the need for urgent action and greater direction and financial support.

“The call for a Buildings and Heat strategy is not new, and we hope that this time it will be answered. Despite the strong ambitions and laudable efforts by many in the sector, progress remains slow and the lack of direction is hindering it. The CCC’s call to speed up the switch away from fossil fuels is helpful for town and city planning, but arguably, it is greater support for the existing stock that is primary. While they are more difficult to switch to clean heat, the fact that current regulation and supply chain don’t provide any incentives isn’t helping.

“As noted in WSP’s ‘Rethink Retrofit’ report, what UK PLC needs from Government is a strong sense of direction and set standards that ensure quality remains high and public health is protected in the transition.”

Barny Evans 563 x 563

Barny Evans, Technical Director, WSP

In May, WSP and think tank Bright Blue launched Delivering Net Zero: Building Britain’s Resilient Recovery, a collaborative manifesto on how the UK can deliver a net zero economy and society by 2050 with contributions from executives in the public, private and third sectors.

 

ENDS

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

MEDIA CONTACTS

Dan Williams, UK PR Manager, WSP

Dan.e.williams@wsp.com / 07341 681 673 

 

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As one of the world’s leading engineering professional services consultancies, WSP brings clarity and vision to complex challenges. Our team of more than 8,200 technical specialists and strategic advisers across the UK is part of a nearly 50,000-strong global family of expertise. Together, we ensure innovative solutions solve complex problems for our clients and the communities we serve, meeting both the needs of today and addressing the challenges of the future.

As the largest environmental consultancy in the UK, WSP takes pride in leading the way we collectively tackle the climate emergency. Working collaboratively with industry organisations, WSP co-founded ‘Pledge to Net Zero’ which commits environmental services firms to science-based carbon targets and public reporting. In May 2020, we brought together the public and private sector for our Delivering Net Zero report, and WSP is on course to become a net zero business by 2025 – an achievement for which we were named Global Good Company of the Year in 2019.

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