The Conservative Party has pledged a suite of new policies comprising a ‘net zero package’ which it said would put “21st Century Conservativism” at the heart of the government’s green agenda.
But the suite of policies, some of which had been previously announced, has been criticised by the sector for failing to address the challenge with the requisite urgency.
Over the weekend, just as the Conservative Party Conference was kicking off in earnest, business secretary Andrea Leadsom, alongside environment and housing secretaries Theresa Villiers and Robert Jenrick, unveiled a raft of measures aimed at helping the country meet its legally binding 2050 net zero emissions target.
Those measures have been targeted at the transport, power and housing sectors principally, with up to £1 billion in R&D funding announced for the UK’s automotive sector.
That funding is to support “green growth and a new future of mobility”, the party said, aimed at keeping the industry at the forefront of cleaner and more advanced transport technologies. It is to be focused primarily at the manufacture of batteries, electric motors, drives and power electronics, with a secondary aim of helping support job creation in the sector.
In addition to transport, measures have also been announced to support further decarbonisation in power generation. The Tories have lauded their record on renewable power, pointing in particular to cost reductions seen in offshore wind over the last four years, and have now announced plans to design, develop and build a fusion power plant within the next 20 years.
An initial £200 million investment is to support the first five-year development phase of the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) project which intends to build a commercially viable fusion power plant by 2040.
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