The government’s holey strategy for delivering net zero

The government’s holey strategy for delivering net zero

Last week the Climate Change Committee (CCC) released its annual progress report on reducing emissions in the UK.

The main takeaway? Detail appears to be lacking in the UK’s strategy to deliver net zero, with several gaps in government policy to deliver net zero emissions by 2050.

Although the UK Government has passed into law the CCC’s Sixth Carbon Budget, the government is yet to publish key strategies, including the Heat and Buildings Strategy and Transport Decarbonisation Plan, to provide the detail on how the UK can reach net zero.

The CCC has made 200 policy recommendations in its latest progress report, including:

  • Replace the scrapped Green Homes Grant with a new scheme.
  • Bring forward regulations to ensure all new homes are built to low carbon standards.
  • Support sustained uptake of heat pumps and require all new gas boilers to be hydrogen-ready by 2025.
  • Ensure 150,000 public electric vehicle charge points are in operation by 2025.
  • Develop a public engagement strategy for net zero.

In its report, the CCC urges the government to be bold and decisive, pointing to the record decrease in UK emissions in 2020 of 13% during the pandemic. They says this shows that people can change their behaviour when they have the information they need to make an informed decision.

Perhaps this is being over simplistic; during its peak in May 2020 8.9 million private sector employees were furloughed and breaking lockdown was punishable by a fine. However, there are aspects of the pandemic, such as working from home that could make a positive impact.

James Brooman, a Elmhurst Energy Consultancy Technical Consultant,  commented:  "we welcome the recommendations set out by the CCC which recognise the importance of addressing the issues with both the existing building stock and the regulations for new buildings. Reducing the energy demand of our existing and new buildings is a key area to be addressed in reducing our emissions. Implementation of a replacement to the Green Homes Grant scheme, with less administrative issues, will help with the deployment of energy efficiency improvements and low-carbon heat in the residential sector. Bringing forward changes to the building regulations, with Part L- Conservation of Fuel and Power not being changed since 2013, will ensure all new homes are built to high energy efficiency standards, minimizing the emissions they will generate in the future."

Article published 30/06/21

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