Britain’s New Green Industrial Revolution

By - World Infrastructure Journal

New sweeping legislation to help ‘level up’ Britain has been announced by the Government in the new 10-point plan to tackle climate change.

The Prime Minister expanded on his new plan commenting “We will turn the UK into the world’s number one centre for green technology and finance, laying the foundations for decades of economic growth by delivering net-zero emissions in a way that creates jobs and allows us to carry on living our lives. ”

The new plan includes the sale of petrol and diesel cars to be banned in 2030, which had initially been in place for 2040 but  has been brought forward under Boris Johnson’s new wave of greener thinking.

The plan also includes; producing enough offshore wind to power every home, developing the first town heated entirely by hydrogen by the end of the decade, and developing the next generation of small and advanced nuclear reactors.

The Prime Minister has claimed that his plan for a green industrial revolution will create and support up to 250,000 British jobs. The Government says it will spend £12bn, however, analysis by Sky News has found that only £4 Billion of this is new money.

Whilst the plan has been heralded as perhaps Britains new green industrial revolution in its fight to combat Climate Change, many have been left wondering if it's achievable. In a comment to Sky news Edmund King president of the Automobile Association explained that “without a commitment to developing the right infrastructure, the plan was "optimistic"

Researchers found that fewer than one per cent of cars on UK roads are powered entirely by electricity, meaning that the Governments plan to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will require an enormous investment in the infrastructure needed for electric vehicles. However, only £1.3bn has been allocated to accelerate the roll-out of charge points for electric vehicles in homes, streets and on motorways across England.

Mr King, continued his argument over the lack of infrastructure, commenting to Sky News that there are only about 6 per cent of local authorities that have installed on-street charging facilities in residential areas.

Whilst the odds seem stacked against the Government, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy The Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP stated: “If we apply the same zeal and ingenuity to stopping climate change as we have to tackling coronavirus, we can do so while transforming our economy, delivering jobs and growth across the country. ”

The Government expect that there is potential for three times as much investment from the private sector compared to the Government to create and support up to 250,000 green jobs.

The ten-point plan includes:

  1. Offshore wind: Harnessing enough offshore wind to power every home, quadrupling production to 40GW by 2030, supporting up to 60,000 jobs
  2. Hydrogen: Generating 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 and developing the first town heated entirely by hydrogen by the end of the decade
  3. Nuclear: Promoting nuclear as a clean energy source and developing the next generation of small and advanced reactors, which could support 10,000 jobs
  4. Electric vehicles: Accelerating the transition to electric vehicles, and transforming infrastructure to support electric vehicles
  5. Public transport, cycling and walking: Making cycling and walking more attractive and investing in zero-emission public transport
  6. Jet Zero and greener maritime: Supporting research projects for zero-emission planes and ships
  7. Homes and public buildings: Making buildings greener, warmer and more energy-efficient, creating 50,000 jobs by 2030, and installing 600,000 heat pumps every year by 2028
  8. Carbon capture: Technology to capture and store harmful emissions away from the atmosphere, removing 10MT of carbon dioxide by 2030, equivalent to all emissions of the industrial Humber today
  9. Nature: Protecting and restoring the natural environment, planting 30,000 hectares of trees every year, creating and retaining thousands of jobs
  10. Innovation and finance: Developing technologies needed for the plan and making the City of London the global centre of green finance The UK is due to host the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in a year's time.

Whilst the challenge ahead of the Government is apparent, Tanya Steele, Chief Executive of the environmental group WWF, praised the plans, commenting: “The government has fired the starting gun on the action we need to really transform our transport, homes and economy to overcome the climate and nature emergency. The more we drive down emissions, the more we will reap the rewards, not just in tackling this crisis but in good jobs, cleaner air and a competitive edge for UK businesses in the growing global clean economy. ”