The government has announced “ambitious” measures to create a low-carbon industrial sector and over £1 billion to cut emissions from industry, schools and hospitals.
This includes measures to reduce carbon emissions from public buildings including hospitals, schools and council buildings.
For this, the government has announced £932 million to be directed to 429 projects across England as a part of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. The scheme will provide grants for public sector bodies to fund energy-efficient heat decarbonisation measures such as heat pumps, and energy-efficiency measures like insulation and LED lighting.
The government will also introduce new rules on measuring the energy and carbon performance of the UK’s largest commercial and industrial buildings, including office blocks and factories, in England and Wales. The move could provide potential savings to businesses of around £2 billion each year in energy costs up to 2030 and could reduce annual carbon emissions by over 2 million tonnes – approximately 10 per cent of the current emissions from commercial and industrial buildings, the equivalent to removing emissions from a town the size of Doncaster.
The wider plans are based on the prime minister’s Ten-Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution published last year. The new Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy sets out the government’s vision for “building a competitive, greener future for the manufacturing and construction sector”.
The government said the measures announced are a part of its “path to net-zero by 2050” and “will create and support 80,000 UK jobs over the next 30 years while cutting emissions by two-thirds in just 15 years”.
The strategy will be underpinned by supporting existing industry to decarbonise and encouraging the growth of new, low-carbon industries in the UK to protect and create skilled jobs and businesses in the UK, as well as giving businesses long-term certainty to invest in home-grown decarbonisation technology, such as that which “can capture and store carbon emissions from industrial plants – rather than outsourcing industrial activity to high-emission countries around the world”.
Business and energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the measures “will make a considerable dent in the amount of carbon emissions emitting from our economy and put us on the path to eliminate our contribution to climate change by 2050”.
Stephen Phipson, CEO of Make UK the manufacturers’ organisation, said: “Plans to reduce carbon emissions in industrial buildings is particularly welcome as it will enable our SMEs to get started with this most urgent and basic need, before even green tech projects. Manufacturing is key in driving the solution to the green agenda and the whole industry is working together to lead the race to net-zero.”
Other key commitments within the strategy include:
- To use carbon pricing as a tool for getting industry to take account of their emissions in business and investment decisions.
- To establish the right policy framework to ensure uptake of fuel switching in industry from fossil fuels to low-carbon alternatives such as hydrogen, electricity or biomass.
- To establish a targeted approach to mitigate against carbon leakage that meets the government’s domestic and global climate goals, while keeping businesses competitive.
- To develop proposals for new product standards, enabling manufacturers to clearly distinguish their products from high-carbon competitors.
- To explore the role of coordinated action on public procurement to create demand for green industrial products, helping to drive down costs and allowing a broader market to develop.
- Use the government’s Infrastructure Delivery Taskforce, named ‘Project Speed’, to ensure the land planning regime is fit for building low-carbon infrastructure.
- To work with the recently reconstituted Steel Council to consider the implications of the recommendation of the Climate Change Committee to “set targets for ore-based steelmaking to reach near-zero emissions by 2035”.
- To support the skills transition so that the current and future workforce benefit from the creation of new green jobs.
- An expectation that industrial emissions will fall by two-thirds by 2035, and by at least 90 per cent by 2050, compared to 2018 levels.
- An expectation that at least three megatons of CO2 are captured within industry each year by 2030, compared with the minimal levels at present.