Blog by Nick Mills and Emma Andrews

This is a question that needs answering urgently by the Government.  Now that the Cop26 summit is over (with varying views as to how successful it was and whether politicians have done enough to have kept 1.5 degrees within reach), the focus must return to action.

Key to this call to action is the Net Zero Strategy, setting out the Government's proposals for decarbonising measures across all sectors of the UK economy in order to achieve net zero by 2050. Government plans to secure up to 440,000 jobs, release £26bn of government capital and unlock £90 billion in private investment by 2030.

Areas of Coverage

  • Power – to power the UK entirely by clean electricity;
  • Fuel supply - funding new hydrogen and industrial carbon capture business models;
  • Industry – decarbonising industry and future proofing business;
  • Heat and buildings – funding heat pump technologies, ending the sale of gas boilers by 2035 and developing low carbon heating systems;
  • Transport – making it greener, faster and more efficient;
  • Natural Resources, waste and fluorinated gases – protecting the natural world and supporting low carbon farming and agricultural innovation;
  • Greenhouse gas removals – investing in and aiding businesses to decarbonise sectors; and
  • Supporting action – embedding climate protection and biodiversity loss into wider government policy and spending.

Notable commitments

  • Electric vehicle funding and infrastructure: The introduction of a Zero Emission Mandate (ZEV) and £620m to support the transition to electric vehicles and the rollout of charging infrastructure.
  • Fuel Supply and Hydrogen: An ambition for 5 GW UK low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 with the support of a £240m, Net Zero Hydrogen Fund.
  • Natural Resources: Boost the existing £640m Nature for Climate Fund with an additional £124m.
  • Carbon Sinks: Treble tree planting under the Nature for Climate Fund, promote peatland restoration.
  • Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF): Enable 10% SAF delivery by 2030 and £180m funding for the development of SAF plants.
  • Nuclear Reactors: Launch a new £120m Future Nuclear Enabling Fund, retaining options for future nuclear technologies, including Small Modular Reactors.
  • Supporting the transition: Use the UK Infrastructure Bank (UKIB) to crowd in private finance, support more than £40bn of investment, and both scale and mature low carbon technologies and sectors.
  • Heating:  A £450m Boiler Upgrade Scheme providing £5,000 capital grants and a new market-based incentive for heating system manufacturers and a £60m investment in heat pump innovation.

Whilst the Net Zero Strategy represents a positive culmination of recent ‘green policy’ announcements, there now needs to be clear policy from Government that results in changes to the UK economy of the type and scale envisaged.

To decarbonise so many sectors and initiate so much change at the rate required needs a level of collaboration, clarity and cogency that government planning and organisation has sometimes been accused of lacking.  We look forward to the release of further detailed policy, which is needed in order to facilitate investment decisions in the private sector.