Prime Minister Boris Johnson has released his eagerly awaited Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial revolution, setting out pledges to create 250,000 jobs.
The plan covers offshore wind, carbon capture and storage (CCS), heat pumps, hydrogen, and electric vehicles (EVs), including bringing forwards the ban on internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to 2030.
Solar charging your electric cars (Image: Shutterstock)
Johnson said that although 2020 had take “a very different path to the one we expected”, the government hadn’t lost sight of its ambitious plans to “level up across the country”.
“My Ten Point Plan will create, support and protect hundreds of thousands of green jobs, whilst making strides towards net zero by 2050.
“Our green industrial revolution will be powered by the wind turbines of Scotland and the North East, propelled by the electric vehicles made in the Midlands and advanced by the latest technologies developed in Wales, so we can look ahead to a more prosperous, greener future.”
Many in the energy sector have welcomed the plan, with Frank Gordon, head of Policy at the REA calling it “a major day for the building of green industries in the UK.”
But there is also concern that policies are reiterations of previous pledges, and have some notable absences in particular solar and storage.
Ban of ICE vehicles brought forwards to 2030
In a long anticipated move, Johnson confirmed that the ban of the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles will be brought forwards to 2030, ten years earlier than the original date.
The move follows extensive consultation with car manufacturers and sellers, and includes the caveat that the sale of hybrid cars and vans will still by allowed up till 2035. The government had previously moved the ban of all petrol and diesel cars, including hybrids, from 2040 to 2035.
Fiona Howarth, CEO of Octopus Electric Vehicles said this was a “landmark moment” for the UK.
“Tesla has transformed the market with brilliant electric cars. As others race to catch up, it’s an important signal to the market that the UK will no longer welcome dirty diesels and petrol cars from 2030 – in turn, creating thousands of green jobs while saving motorists billions of pounds, and showing the UK’s leadership position in our low carbon future.”
To support the transition, the Prime Minister announced £1.3 billion to accelerate the rollout of chargepoints for EVs in homes, streets and motorways across England.
Additionally, there will be £582 million in grants available for buying zero or ultra-low emission vehicles to incentivise the uptake of EVs. And nearly £500 million will be spent up to 2025 to develop and scale up production of batteries. This forms part of the government’s £1 billion commitment to boosting manufacturing bases such as the Midlands and North East.
A consultation will be undertaken to phase out new diesel HGVs, to place the UK in the “vanguard of zero emission freight.” No date has yet been set for this however.
Ambitious heat pump target of 600,000 a year
Another key area to receive support from the ten point plan is making homes, schools and hospitals ‘greener, warmer and more energy efficient’.
In particular, this will see the UK target 600,000 heat pumps being installed every year 2028. This is a particularly big step up, given research that suggested it will take the UK 700 years to move to a low carbon heating system at the speed it has been moving. The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) announced an inquiry into heat pumps in response to the damning research.
Targeting 600,000 heat pump installs will help to create 50,000 jobs by 2030, Johnson said. The government will invest £1 billion in the next year to make homes and public buildings more efficient.
Bean Beanland of the Heat Pump Federation said:
“The PM’s statement is excellent news for the heat pump sector. However, a clear and stable medium to long-term policy framework from the Government will be required to ensure that private investment funds, which we know to be available, can be drawn into the industry.
“The heavy lifting must start now to ramp up the manufacture of heat pumps in the UK and their increased deployment in people’s homes up and down the country. Working in partnership with Government, there is also a job to do to communicate the benefits of heat pumps to consumers.”
Additionally, the Green Homes Grant is being extended up a year, allowing more people to access the funding pot for technologies like heat pumps and solar thermal, as well as insulation. This has been welcomed, with the scheme having proven popular, and was set to be oversubscribed with 65% of homeowners interested in taking advantage of it.