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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Bottrill

The UK's net zero strategy

The UK government — in preparation for COP 26 — has released the document “Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener”. It sets out the plan to UK carbon neutrality by 2050.

It is 368 pages long, but I am going to briefly summarise it below by concentrating on firm targets, actions and fundings.

The Executive Summary is a discussion on why we are doing it.

There is a preamble for 91 pages — the reasons we are going to go to net zero, timescale and climate discussions.

Then we get to the meat on page 92.

Chapter 3 Reducing Emissions across the Economy

3i. Power

  • All electricity (1/6th of our energy needs) to be low carbon by 2035 subject to security of supply

  • Deliver 40 GW of offshore wind including 1 GW of floating wind turbines (roughly 4 times current capacity)

  • Decide about nuclear strategy over the next few years

  • Prototype a Carbon Capture and Storage plant

  • Provide £380 million for offshore wind

  • Smart meter roll-out

  • Investigate whether the government needs to support long term storage and hydrogen

3ii. Fuel Supply and Hydrogen

  • Ambition for 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production by 2030

  • Set-up hydrogen production from natural gas with carbon sequestration - £140 million

  • £240 million for hydrogen initiatives

  • Develop a transport strategy for 2022

3iii. Industry

  • Accelerate Carbon capture and storage and hydrogen

  • Carbon capture and storage — £1 billion

  • £315 million for energy efficiency

  • Investigate how to take coke out of steel production — attempt to reach net-zero for steel by 2035

3iv. Heat & Buildings

  • No new gas boilers by 2035

  • 600,000 heat pump installations per year by 2028

  • Bring heat pump costs down to gas boiler levels by 2030 (lol!)

  • £450 million of £5000 per house grants for heat pumps

  • £60 million for heat pump research

  • £1.75 billion for social housing

  • £1.425 billion for public sector buildings carbon reduction

  • Minimum ratings for rental properties – domestic and commercial

  • Decide on hydrogen and home heating by 2026

  • £338 million for heat networks

3v. Transport

  • End the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030. Hybrids by 2035.

  • End the sale of petrol and diesel motorbikes, lorries and buses by 2040 (subject to consultation)

  • £620 million for charging network

  • £12 billion for local transport

  • £2 billion for cycle lanes

  • £3 billion for buses

  • All diesel trains removed by 2040

  • £180 million for low carbon flights

3vi. Natural Resources, Waste & F-Gases

  • 75% of farms to be low carbon by 2030

  • 30,000 hectares of new woodland per year

  • £750 million for peat restoration and woodland creation

  • £295 million to biodegradable waste going to landfill

3vii. Greenhouse Gas Removals

  • £100 million for direct air capture of carbon — 5 MtCO2/year

Chapter 4 Innovation for net zero

Mainly a discussion on public and private sector finance — some repetition of announcements in chapter 3 and some interesting case studies.


Some good stuff in there — a lot of waffle and a lot of consulting and ambitions and launching world class frameworks etc.

Actual measures could have been got across in a couple of pages but then there’d be nothing for civil servants to do.


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