Number 10 unveils 10-point plan for a "green industrial revolution"
The long-awaited 10-point plan which Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said would lead to a “green industrial revolution” was released late on 17th November and has been met with a mix of acclaim and criticism. The plan covers renewable energy, transport, countryside restoration and nuclear power and pledges £12bn of government investment in an attempt to help the UK meet its legally-binding pledge for net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
It is claimed by Johnson that the plan will create and support up to 250,000 British jobs as well as helping his commitment to “levelling up” all areas of the country. In summary, the ten commitments cover:
Offshore wind: UK to produce 40GW of offshore wind by 2030 – a quadrupling of current capacity.
Hydrogen: 5GW of low-carbon hydrogen to be generated by 2030.
Nuclear: £500m to roll out small plants and create 10,000 jobs.
Electric Vehicles: A ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030 and £1.3bn invested in the EV infrastructure.
Public Transport: £5bn for schemes encouraging walking and cycling and the production of low-carbon buses.
Aviation and Maritime: Funding to support low-carbon innovation.
Homes & Public Buildings: £1bn to improve energy efficiency in homes, schools and hospitals.
Carbon Capture & Storage: £1bn to remove 10 megatonnes of carbon dioxide from the environment by 2030.
Nature: 30,000 hectares of trees planted annually and improvements to flood defences.
Innovation & Finance: Develop technologies to achieve energy targets and support green finance.
The plan was lauded by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), Confederation of British Industry (CBI), energy providers and business giants with some of the acclaim tempered by reservations. Others went further and dismissed individual commitments as either unattainable or insufficient. Friends of the Earth called for the government to “encourage the development of onshore wind and commit to ending gas-fired heating in our homes”.
Increasing offshore wind capacity was part of the Conservatives election manifesto in 2019 and the cost of reaching the 40GW target was costed by energy researchers at £50bn earlier this year. The government’s 10-point plan claims that the investment provided throughout the plan will be trebled by the private sector before 2030.
The Solar Trade Association issued a statement on Wednesday expressing disappointment that solar power was excluded from mention in the plan. The Labour party was also underwhelmed with shadow business secretary Ed Miliband calling the plan a “pale imitation” of what the country and economy needed. Miliband added that Labour’s own green Covid-19 recovery plan urged the government to spend £30bn over 18 months.
Close scrutiny will be applied when details of the projects resulting from the plan emerge but the Prime Minister will take comfort in unveiling a plan with a year to go before the UN climate summit (Cop26) takes place in Scotland.