“In politics timing is everything, and when it comes to dealing with climate change, time is of the essence. Only last week, the Prime Minister rallied the international community to propose strong Nationally Determined Contributions ahead of COP26, saying there was ‘no time to waste’.
“Now he has provided more detail on his plans for the UK. The £12 billion underpinning the 10 Point Plan for Net Zero is clearly welcome news. More so than the headline figure, it is the emergence of greater detail that we had been waiting for. Proven technologies are getting the backing they desperately need, while new innovative solutions are being nurtured.
“The broad direction of travel is the right one. As WSP has called for, additional funds to drive the hydrogen and CCUS burgeoning markets, especially in the North, gives business the confidence that Government is serious about scaling up these technologies. Aiming for 5GW of low carbon hydrogen by 2030 with £240 million cash injection for new production facilities, and committing to £200 million to create new carbon capture clusters is great news for clients in Teesside, Northwest and the Humber.
“Bringing forward the ban of selling new petrol and diesel cars to 2030 is another strong signal to the market that change is coming faster than planned, and that the future of mobility is electric. However, with only one in six councils equipped with EV charging points, we will need to see a bold supporting infrastructure strategy, building on today’s £1.3 billion announcement.
“The £4bn investment in the creation of green collar jobs is welcome. At a time when many are seeking employment, and as the retrofit and energy efficiency industry speaks of a skills shortage, this investment will help address both challenges together. With one million heat pumps to be installed each year, this extra support will be welcome.
“Just as important but less flashy is the £40m commitment to habitat restoration and renewal. Nature renewal and biodiversity protection are critical to any progressive agenda and seeing Government allocate specific funding to it is positive news, but more investment is surely needed if Government is serious about its commitment to protect and restore 30% of the countryside by 2030.”
“There was also good news for the UK’s manufacturing basin. With £1 billion split between mass battery making facilities, and the development of Small Modular Reactors, as well as a commitment to the decarbonisation of maritime and aviation travel, innovators up and down the country will see opportunities.
“Finally, it was good to see the PM look beyond energy, towards climate adaptation with £5 billion for coastal and flood defences and a substantial boost for active travel solutions, both of which have a role in making the UK’s net zero journey more resilient.
“While today’s announcement still pales in comparison to the £ 1 trillion investment needed to deliver net zero and to lead by example on the international stage ahead of COP26, it is a step in the right direction. More of the same please, Prime Minister!”