Environment news: 10th July
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The Chancellor laid out a £3bn green investment package to support a green economic recovery in his fiscal Summer Statement. The funding is expected to create 140,000 green jobs, upgrading buildings and also reducing emissions. Part of the package includes £2 billion Green Homes Grant scheme this year to pay for green improvements such as loft, wall and floor insulation. However some have criticised the £3bn total, compared to French and German green recovery packages of €15bn and €40bn respectively. Read more about the announcement here.
Environment & COP26
The BEIS Select Committee held an evidence session to discuss whether net-zero carbon emissions targets are being met and how these may affect the UK during COVID-19. The witnesses largely agreed that standards had to improve, and that the pandemic had offered opportunities to inject greener policies into industrial and commercial standards, especially with the large infrastructure and building projects recently announced by the government. Read more about the session here.
The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) is calling for anyone with expertise to suggest priorities for the UK’s involvement in COP26. The survey questions cover issues including the lessons the UK government can take from the COVID-19 pandemic to apply to COP26 preparations, and what to consider when planning for and delivering COP26. You can take part in the survey here.
Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, Philip Dunne MP, has written to Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng highlighting how to overcome barriers for expansion of offshore wind energy generation. The EAC recognises the progress made since 2010 through engagement with industry, but has highlighted areas to achieve greater progress, including further development of the electricity transmission networks, and investment in deep water ports to support floating wind farms. Read the full letter here.
The APPG on Hydrogen has written a report suggesting how the UK’s hydrogen sector can help deliver a green recovery. It urges the government to move quickly on hydrogen and also set ambitious policies to unlock investment and support the UK's net-zero targets. Its top recommendations include mandating hydrogen-ready boilers by 2025, and implementing Contracts for Difference to incentivise industry and scale up a hydrogen economy. Read their full report here.
The DfT has opened a new consultation on ideas for a transport decarbonisation plan to help reduce emissions in transport. It is also asking the public about their ideas on the necessary steps to reduce emissions from transport, and on creating a plan to ensure the UK transport is net zero in emissions by 2050. You can also contribute to the consultation here.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has launched the first meeting of the Net Zero Transport Board to help guide the decarbonisation of UK transport. The group convened high-profile expert stakeholders to discuss how the transport industry can support a green recovery. The UK will lay out its approach to decarbonising every form of transport, delivering transport’s contribution to carbon budgets and meeting net-zero by 2050. Read more about the meeting here.
The Agriculture Bill returns to the House of Lords for Committee Stage this week. The Bill sets out plans for a new land management system, where farmers are rewarded with public money for improving air and water quality and providing wildlife habitats. Last week the government also announced a new Trade and Agriculture Commission to ensure that the UK's trade policy fully maintains the UK's animal welfare and food safety standards. Read more about the bill here.
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