Boris Johnson will today unveil a ten-point plan for a “green industrial revolution” which he says will create and support up to 250,000 jobs.
The prime minister says that the plan, which is supported by £12 billion of government investment, will create a “greener, more prosperous future”.
The government has brought forward the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by a decade to 2030. It is one of the earliest deadlines of its kind in the world.
More than 6,000 schools in Britain, with 2.6 million pupils in total, are in areas where fine particles in the air exceed limits set by the World Health OrganisationBEN GURR FOR THE TIMES
Hybrid cars with a combustion engine will be sold until 2035 provided they can drive a “significant” distance in zero-emission mode, probably 30 miles or more. The government has also committed itself to consulting on phasing out new diesel lorries.
Buses, cycling and walking
Ministers have already committed £2 billion for cycling and walking as an alternative to the car. A blueprint published in the summer promised thousands of miles of new cycle lanes and the closure of roads to cars to prevent “rat-running”.
On public transport, money has been allocated for electric and hydrogen buses, with at least one town or city getting a fully electric fleet by 2025.
Earlier this year Mr Johnson said that he wanted the UK to build the first zero-emission long-haul plane. He convened the Jet Zero Council with representatives from the aviation industry and experts to discuss how it could be done.
While short-range electric flight for the smallest planes is already a reality, there are concerns about its viability for short-haul and long-haul passenger flights. Industry has focused on hybrid-electric models, with jet fuel needed for take-off.
Homes and public buildings
The government has pledged to install 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028 as part of plans to make homes, schools and hospitals greener.
Ministers want gas boilers replaced by electric heat pumps, which extract heat from the ground or air surrounding a building. However, they are expensive and poor quality installations have undermined consumer confidence.
Earlier this year the government announced a £2 billion green homes grant scheme, with vouchers of up to £5,000 for energy-saving measures.
The government has a target of planting 30,000 hectares of woodland a year, which it believes could help tackle unemployment. The Conservative manifesto pledged to increase tree planting to hit the target by 2025 but the government has struggled so far. Just over 13,000 hectares of trees were planted in the year to the end of March, a similar level to the previous year. More than 80 per cent of last year’s total was in Scotland.
Tens of thousands of homes could be heated using hydrogen instead of natural gas by 2030 under the government’s plans. Hydrogen does not emit carbon when burnt and could enable existing gas pipelines and home heating systems to be adapted with less disruption than electrifying heating.
The government has committed £500 million to support hydrogen, but producing it cheaply and greenly is a challenge; £240 million of the funding will go into new facilities to produce the gas, which is likely to entail using low carbon electricity to make hydrogen through electrolysis.
Carbon capture and storage
Technology to capture and dispose of carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming is crucial if Britain is to hit its net zero climate targets. The plan also doubles the ambition for how many sites will be developed: it now wants to see two carbon capture and storage “clusters” developed by the mid-2020s, and two by 2030. It says this could support 50,000 jobs in areas such as the Humber, Teesside, Merseyside, Grangemouth and Port Talbot.
The plan reiterates the government’s commitment that Britain would produce more than enough electricity from offshore wind to power every home in the country by 2030. That will entail a huge expansion. The government has said that it will award subsidy contracts next year to support the next wave of offshore wind projects.
A total of £525 million has been pledged “to help develop large and smaller-scale nuclear plants, and research and develop new advanced modular reactors”.
However, there is no word as yet on a funding package to support the proposed £20 billion new nuclear plant at Sizewell in Suffolk.
The government has pledged to make London a centre for green finance. Earlier this month Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, announced plans to launch green gilts for investment in green infrastructure projects, while also requiring companies to disclose their emissions. However, big investors are urging the government to go further.