Government fights climate change with a no-carbon transport plan

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AMBITIOUS plans on how to combat climate change and meet the Net Zero deadline were announced by the government today.

As an official response to the Committee of Climate Change’s (CCC) recommendation, management will be strengthened in order to shock the whole of government into fighting climate change, as well as speeding up the decarbonisation of transport with a first-ever plan.

“Four months ago the UK took the bold step of becoming the first country in the developed world to put into law our ambition to wipe out the UK’s contribution to climate change by 2050, following the CCC’s advice”, Andrea Leadsom, Business and Energy Secretary, commented.

“This builds on our long and proud track record of leadership – since 1990 we’ve cut our greenhouse gas emissions by 42% while growing our economy by more than two-thirds. More than half of our electricity currently comes from low carbon sources. And we will keep on going further and faster to ensure our action meets our ambition.”

Since introduction of Net Zero, the government has announced an investment of around £2 billion in low carbon technologies from research and development in large-scale battery technology to speeding up the development of carbon capture capability.

New actions to tackle climate change includes proposals to dramatically improve commercial buildings in the private rented sector, with businesses set to benefit by saving up to £1 billion per year in energy bills by 2030.

This includes a consultation on plans to improve the energy performance of rented commercial buildings. The proposal to set minimum energy efficiency standards at EPC band B by 2030 could reduce UK emissions by the equivalent of half a million homes.

Another measure to be taken is a consultation in 2020 on introducing mandatory in-use energy performance ratings for business buildings. This will be a key step in helping businesses to understand and manage the amount of energy they use.

Other measures include consultation on proposals to make it simpler for large-scale energy storage facilities to obtain planning permission, as well as an endorsement of the recommendations of the Energy Data Taskforce.

This would unlock the potential of data sharing across the energy system to support decarbonisation and reduce consumer bills.

Today, the new Environment Bill will also be introduced in Parliament. The Bill outlines a new public body, the Office for Environmental Protection, which will hold government and other public bodies into account on their environmental obligations, including on climate change.

One of the highlights of today’s announcement was the introduction of Transport Decarbonisation Plan, which seeks to end UK’s transport emissions by 2050.

“From driving our cars, to catching a train or taking a flight abroad, it is crucial that we ensure transport is as environmentally friendly as possible.

“This is why, as well as agreeing to the CCC’s recommendation on net zero by 2050, we have launched this ground-breaking plan to achieve net zero emissions across every single mode of transport”,

Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, said.

“We want to work with the industry and communities around the country to develop this plan – to make our towns and cities better places to live, help to create new jobs, improve air quality and our health, and take urgent action on climate change.”

Due to be completed next year, the Transport Decarbonisation Plan will set out in detail the action required in all levels of society to deliver the needed emissions reduction from all modes of transport, with a particular emphasis on making changes to the way people and goods move across the UK.

Earlier this month, the government announced up to £1 billion to develop and embed the next generation of automotive technologies with manufacturing of batteries including cells, modules and packs as well as electric motors, power electronics and hydrogen fuel cells.

The new money will be invested in research and development of new, advanced electric vehicle technologies, building on the £1 billion R&D commitment to the Advanced Propulsion Centre and £274 million funding for the Faraday Battery Challenge.

Further details are expected in the National Infrastructure Strategy this autumn.