More Government funding for Green Economy: is it enough?
Updated: Sep 9, 2020
The dizzying sums of money pledged by the UK government to help the economy recover from the Covid-19 pandemic have come under scrutiny from leading figures in the green economy. Environmentalists of all hue had urged the government to place a green recovery at the forefront of their plans and were told their message had been taken on board.
In a key speech on June 30th, Boris Johnson unveiled plans which would see the UK “build, build, build” its way out of the economic ravages caused by the pandemic. However, the Prime Minister’s emphasis on building projects led to accusations that he had overstated the government’s green commitments.
As a partial redress, Chancellor Rishi Sunak included a £3bn package to stimulate the green economy in his Summer Economic Update on July 8th. This was more favourably received across the green economy and was soon followed by details of £750m funding for heavy industry and aviation.
On July 20th, details of a £400m package to be allocated to projects developing energy-efficient aircraft components and technology designed to reduce fuel consumption were announced by the Department for Transport. Half of the amount will be provided by the aviation industry.
A £350m package was announced by the Prime Minister on July 22nd to help decarbonise heavy industry, construction, space and transport sectors. The breakdown of the amount is:
£139m to reduce emissions from heavy industry by transitioning from natural gas to hydrogen power and improving carbon capture and storage;
£149m to increase the use of low-carbon materials in polluting industries with £83m of it coming from the private sector;
Smaller packages amounting to £60m allocated to construction, space and transport sectors to be spent on improving building techniques and technology.
The latest announcements will go some way towards abating those within the cleantech and green energy sectors although many dissenting voices remain. Muna Suleiman from Friends of the Earth said “A green and fair recovery should be the centrepiece of government plans, not some detailing at the very edges”.