New investment for electric car grants and on-street charging points has been announced as the Government sets out its plans to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
The long-awaited net zero strategy has been unveiled ahead of crucial UN Cop26 climate talks which the UK is hosting in Glasgow with ministers hoping to set an example to other countries on how to go green.
It details how the Government aims to meet its legal target to cut climate-warming emissions to net zero by 2050, cutting pollution as much as possible and using measures such as woodland creation to mop up what remains.
Setting out the plans, ministers said it would support 440,000 well paid jobs and unlock £90 billion in private investment in 2030 on the way to the mid-century goal, as well as reducing the UK’s reliance on imported fossil fuels and putting the country at risk of global price spikes.
But critics were quick to warn the strategy, which runs to more than 360 pages, did not provide enough policies or investment to drive the transformation needed to reach net zero.
New investment in the plans includes £620 million for electric vehicle grants and infrastructure such as on-street charging, £500 million for innovation projects to develop new clean technologies and £140 million to help green hydrogen projects get off the ground, officials said.
The Government also said it will introduce a zero emission vehicle mandate setting targets for a percentage of manufacturers’ new car and van sales to be zero emissions each year from 2024.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The UK’s path to ending our contribution to climate change will be paved with well-paid jobs, billions in investment and thriving green industries, powering our green industrial revolution across the country.
“By moving first and taking bold action, we will build a defining competitive edge in electric vehicles, offshore wind, carbon capture technology and more, whilst supporting people and businesses along the way.
Commenting on the announcement Tech Nation CEO said: “Climate tech is critical to achieving Net Zero and EV technologies are increasingly offering the solutions needed to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from one of the most carbon-intensive sector such as road transport. We’re seeing significant growth in electric vehicles technologies, which the UK is a leading global innovator in, along with other net-zero technologies. There are 519 net zero startups and scaleups in the UK, nearly double the number in France and 63% more than in Germany. These companies are scaling rapidly; in the first half of 2021 alone, UK tech companies tackling UN SDGs have raised $1.2bn.
“Electric Assisted Vehicles, Paua Tech and The Tyre Collective are just three amazing company examples from our latest Net Zero 2.0 growth programme, dealing with EV technology solutions in helping us to reach Net-Zero. We need to support entrepreneurs and innovators who are pioneering new ways of creating greener and safer transport.”
Matthew Fell, CBI Chief Policy Director, also commented saying: “The Net Zero Strategy and Review fills in some of the blanks on how we realise the UK’s decarbonisation ambitions. What’s clear is that Government plans can only be achieved alongside swift action from businesses. Undoubtedly many of these initiatives will help firms better understand how to unleash more innovation and investment – and put us at the forefront of global climate action ahead of COP26.
“Establishing a grant scheme for heat pumps will help deliver the ambitious roll out we need in the years ahead and bring down the cost of the technology. Extra funding for EV charge points and manufacturing of vehicle batteries will accelerate emissions reductions and boost green growth and jobs in our economy. Cash for innovation projects will help make the most of our world leading science and technology advances.
“But there are still some pieces of puzzle missing. Strong consumer incentives to make homes more energy efficient and delivering business models to make carbon capture and hydrogen projects more investable need to be brought forward urgently. To truly transform the UK economy based on sustainable and green growth, we need to push further and faster and make key decisions on how to finance the transition to net zero. An honest conversation needs to happen here in the UK about how we pay to go green”.