UK unveils Net Zero Strategy

Image by Adam Derewecki from Pixabay

A long-awaited ‘landmark’ Net Zero Strategy, which sets out policies and proposals for decarbonising all sectors of the UK economy to meet the country’s net zero target by 2050, has been unveiled by the UK government today.

According to government, commitments made will unlock up to £90 billion of private investment by 2030, and support 440,000 jobs in green industries in 2030.

This is set to provide certainty to businesses to support the UK in gaining a competitive edge in the latest low carbon technologies, from heat pumps to electric vehicles, and in developing thriving green industries in our industrial heartlands, from carbon capture to hydrogen, backed by new funding.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson commented on the announcement: “The UK’s path to ending our contribution to climate change will be paved with well-paid jobs, billions in investment and thriving green industries – powering our green industrial revolution across the country.

“By moving first and taking bold action, we will build a defining competitive edge in electric vehicles, offshore wind, carbon capture technology and more, whilst supporting people and businesses along the way.

“With the major climate summit COP26 just around the corner, our strategy sets the example for other countries to build back greener too as we lead the charge towards global net zero.”

As part of the strategy, new investment announced today includes:

  • An extra £350 million of up to £1 billion commitment 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.
  • The government is also working to kick-start the commercialisation of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) made from sustainable materials such as everyday household waste, flue gases from industry, carbon captured from the atmosphere and excess electricity, which produce over 70% fewer carbon emissions than traditional jet fuel on a lifecycle basis. The ambition is to enable the delivery of 10% SAF by 2030 and the government will be supporting UK industry with £180 million in funding to support the development of UK SAF plants
  • £140 million Industrial and Hydrogen Revenue Support scheme to accelerate industrial carbon capture and hydrogen, bridging the gap between industrial energy costs from gas and hydrogen and helping green hydrogen projects get off the ground.
  • An extra £500 million towards innovation projects to develop the green technologies of the future, bringing the total funding for net zero research and innovation to at least £1.5 billion.
  • £3.9 billion of new funding for decarbonising heat and buildings, including the new £450 million 3-year Boiler Upgrade Scheme.
  • £124 million boost to Nature for Climate Fund which helps towards meeting commitments to restore approximately 280,000 hectares of peat in England by 2050 and treble woodland creation in England to meet our commitments to create at least 30,000 hectares of woodland per year across the UK by the end of this parliament.
  • £120 million towards the development of nuclear projects through the Future Nuclear Enabling Fund. There remain a number of optimal sites, including the Wylfa site in Anglesey. According to the government, funding like this could support path to decarbonising the UK’s electricity system fifteen years earlier from 2050 to 2035.

Two strategies published today, Net Zero Strategy and the Heat and Buildings Strategy, build on a set of existing policies: the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan, the Energy White Paper, North Sea Transition Deal, Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, Transport Decarbonisation Plan, and Hydrogen Strategy, and the recent commitment to decarbonise the UK’s electricity system by 2035.

The Net Zero Strategy will be submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as the UK’s second Long Term Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategy under the Paris Agreement.

AUK’s first Net Zero Research and Innovation Framework, set to support the delivery of the Net Zero Strategy by setting out the key net zero research and innovation priority areas for the UK over the next 5-10 years, has also been published today.

Together these documents set out a long-term plan for the green economy that the government will report against.

The full Net Zero Strategy is available on the UK Government website.