The government has revealed its long-awaited blueprint for continuing the UK’s transition to a lower carbon economy into the 2020s - backed up by a £2.5 billion investment in innovation.
Published on 12 October, the Clean Growth Strategy sets out 50 policies and plans for innovation spending, low carbon transport, improving efficiency in homes and businesses, supporting clean power and protecting natural resources.
The aim is to ensure that the UK continues to meet its legally-mandated ‘carbon budgets’ through the 2020s by replacing existing policies and programmes with new ones as they expire over the next few years.
Collectively, the strategy amounts to £2.5 billion in public spending to support low carbon innovation from 2015 to 2021, as part of the largest increase in government investment in science, research and innovation in over three decades.
At a glance, the strategy commits to:
• £505 million for an Energy Innovation Programme to develop low carbon heating, energy efficiency, carbon capture and other clean technologies
• Launching a programme of support to improve energy productivity in businesses by at least 20 per cent by 2030
• Introducing a new energy and carbon reporting framework for businesses in 2019
• Establishing an Industrial Energy Efficiency scheme to help large companies make improvements
• Launching an £18 million programme to support heat recovery in industry
• Phasing out fossil fuel heating in businesses off the gas grid during the 2020s
• Getting as many fuel poor and privately rented homes as possible to meet Energy Performance Certificate Band C by 2030, and by 2035 for other households
• Spending £1 billion to support the uptake of low emission vehicles
• Investing around £841 million in innovation of low carbon transport technologies and fuels
• Providing up to £557 million in subsidies for new large-scale clean power generation and agreeing a special sector deal for offshore wind
• Ending unabated power generation from coal by 2025
• Taking steps to achieve a ‘zero avoidable waste’ economy by 2050
• Publishing a new Resources and Waste Strategy in 2018 to support resource productivity and resource efficiency
• Publishing a Clean Air Strategy in 2018 to improve air quality in urban areas
• Introducing an annual ‘Green Great Britain’ week to promote clean growth in businesses and civil society.
The detail behind many of these commitments is still forthcoming, with public consultations in the pipeline for several key areas. Nevertheless, the strategy has mainly been well received.
Shaun Spiers, executive director of the Green Alliance think tank, said: “It is certainly a welcome move in the right direction.
“Going green is not only good for the environment: it is crucial for the future of the UK economy. This strategy is the opportunity to reboot the agenda on energy efficiency, clean vehicles and the efficient use of resources in the UK.”