Revised net-zero plan leaves the UK as a ‘climate basket case’

Today, the UK government have announced their long-awaited climate strategy on how to meet Net Zero emissions. But, green charity organisations and academics have claimed that rather than this being a momentous ‘green day’ it has turned into a ‘basket case.’

Unveiled this morning, the 1,000 page climate strategy, known as ‘Powering Up Britain’, has been picked apart amidst fears that it could surrender the country’s leading role in climate action due to the government’s ‘business as usual’ approach to delivering green investments.

white windmill

Grant Shapps, the Energy and Net Zero Secretary, announced the plan which includes support for carbon capture projects, nuclear energy, offshore windfarms, electric vehicles, home heat pumps and hydrogen power.

However, most of the plans are based on existing government commitments and lack new funding. Josh Burke, a Senior Policy Fellow at the London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute, said the lack of long-term, economy-wide investment plan ‘undermines investor confidence and prevents the UK from leading green race.’

One of the government’s pledges within the strategy is to rebrand the ECO+ scheme to the Great British Insulation Scheme which will help insulate 300,000 of the poorest performing homes. However, UK100’s Interim Chief Executive, Jason Torrance has said that more funding needs to be given to local authorities in order for plans, such as this one, to be successful.

Torrance said: ‘On ‘Green Day’ we hoped to see a plan for Net Zero delivery that understands, as the government’s Independent Mission Zero Report did, that local authorities are the key to achieving Net Zero in the UK. Our hopes however, have been dashed on the ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams.’ Today’s announcements fall far short of unlocking the ambition and ability within local government to go further and faster in delivering Net Zero.’

‘Extra local powers require appropriate funding -especially when local authorities are more stretched than ever in a cost-of-living crisis’, Torrance said. ‘It’s welcome that the government plans ‘explore the simplification of funding’ but we need urgent action, not warm words without detail.’

Torrance added: ‘This should include consolidating different funding pots, reducing competitive bidding processes, giving longer lead-in times where bidding remains and providing funding over the medium and long – rather than the short-term.’

The bidding process is a system in which local authorities can apply for government funding to help improve their local area through pitching why it would be beneficial. Research shows councils in the UK have spent between £27m and £63m since 2019 on applying for competitive fund pots.

Alongside pledging to insulate thousands of UK homes, the strategy also highlights £240m in funding will be given to green hydrogen projects and more flexibility in planning for onshore wind and accelerated planning for offshore wind and solar.

The government have published a revised Net Zero strategy after the High Court ruled last July that the original plan was not detailed enough to show how the UK would reduce its emissions.

Image: Abby Anaday


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