Net Zero Strategy and Other Publications 19.10.21

Baskar Sundaram
Baskar Sundaram

The Government has today published its Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener which sets out how the UK will deliver on its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

This was accompanied by the publication of the Heat and Buildings strategy which outlines how the UK will decarbonise homes, and commercial, industrial and public sector buildings, as part of setting a path to net zero by 2050.

A summary of the announcements is included below.

Net Zero Strategy

The Strategy outlines measures to transition to a green and sustainable future, helping businesses and consumers to move to clean power, supporting jobs and leveraging up to £90 billion of private investment by 2030.

This will put the UK on the path to meet the Sixth Carbon Budget and the Nationally Determined Contribution, cutting emissions by at least 68% by 2030 on 1990 levels, and reaching net zero by 2050.

It comes as the UK prepares to host the UN COP26 summit, where the Prime Minister will call on other world economies to set out their own domestic plans for cutting emissions.

New Investment

New investment announced in the strategy includes:

  • an extra £350 million to support the electrification of UK vehicles and their supply chains and another £620 million for targeted electric vehicle grants and infrastructure, particularly local on-street residential charge points, with plans to put thousands more zero emission cars and vans onto UK roads through a zero emission vehicle mandate.
  • £140 million Industrial and Hydrogen Revenue Support scheme to accelerate industrial carbon capture and hydrogen. Two carbon capture clusters – Hynet Cluster in North West England and North Wales and the East Coast Cluster in Teesside and the Humber will also be backed by the Government’s £1 billion in support.
  • £500 million towards innovation projects to develop the green technologies of the future.
  • £120 million towards the development of nuclear projects through the Future Nuclear Enabling Fund.

Embedding Net Zero in Government

Part Four of the Strategy looks specifically at the climate considerations underpinning policy across Government.

This includes new measures to reduce emissions from Government’s £292 billion procurement spending – and to ensure that suppliers have plans for achieving net zero on major qualifying public contracts. Further details can be found in the section ‘Delivering net zero through public procurement’ (pages 257-8).

Other commitments include:

  • Requiring the Government to reflect environmental issues in national policy making through consideration of five environmental principles.
  • Ensuring that decisions taken on government spending are informed by their impact on meeting net zero.
  • Continuing to fund the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme at £475 million per year to drive ambitious emissions reductions in schools, hospitals, and other public buildings, whilst taking further action on skills, reporting, and targets.
  • Publishing an annual progress update against a set of key indicators for achieving our climate goals.
  • Expanding climate change training to ensure the Civil Service has the skills and people it needs to deliver net zero.

Other Key Industrial Policies

The strategy also sets out plans to future-proof industrial sectors through the £315 million Industrial Energy Transformation Fund (IETF), (£289 million for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, £26 million for Scotland) and to incentivise cost-effective abatement in industry at the pace and scale required to deliver net zero, through the UK ETS by consulting on a net zero consistent UK ETS cap (in partnership with the Devolved Administrations).

Innovation

The strategy also builds on themes set out in the Innovation Strategy which looked at government’s ambition for departments to procure more innovative solutions.

Departments will produce clear policy problem statements that describe the priority outcomes that they want to solve or achieve. Alongside this, every major project should publish an outcome statement.

Both measures are designed to improve demand-signalling from departments, allowing them to procure innovation to accelerate the UK’s transition to net zero. This in-turn is expected to help government “to leverage public procurement as a tool that drives greener and more resilient outcomes across public services”.

Heat and Buildings Strategy

The heat and buildings strategy outlines a transition that focuses on reducing bills and improving comfort through energy efficiency, and building the markets required to transition to low-carbon heat and reducing costs, while testing the viability of hydrogen for heating.

This includes £3.9 billion of new funding for decarbonising heat and buildings, with the new £450 million 3-year Boiler Upgrade Scheme, so homes and buildings are warmer, cheaper to heat and cleaner to run.

HM Treasury Net Zero Review

HM Treasury has also published the Net Zero Review: Final Report – an analytical report that uses existing data to explore the key issues as the UK decarbonises. It considers the potential exposure of businesses and households to the transition, and highlights factors to be taken into account when designing policy that will allocate costs over this time horizon so that policy can help to make the most of opportunities that will arise, and support households as necessary.

The Final Review also notes that the Government will update the Green Finance Strategy in 2022.

Previous announcements

The strategies build on previous policy announcements including the Ten Point Plan for a green industrial revolution, the Energy White Paper, and the Industrial Decarbonisation strategy.

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