Net Zero Strategy - A blog by Alex Taylor, GBSLEP Senior Policy Officer for Low Carbon and Energy Technologies

Net Zero Strategy - A blog by Alex Taylor, GBSLEP Senior Policy Officer for Low Carbon and Energy Technologies

22 Oct 2021

Ahead of the start of COP26 in Glasgow, the government published its Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener on the 20th October, with a broad coverage of how the UK will decarbonise towards 2050.

The Strategy goes into depth around how all sectors of the economy will be decarbonised, and details how investment into high-quality, low carbon jobs will underpin our route to Net Zero. The Government states that 190,000 jobs will be supported by 2025, and 440,000 by 2030 with the help of £90 billion investment from the private sector. Regionally, the low carbon sector is expected to grow significantly over the next decade with analysis from K Matrix on behalf of the Midlands Energy Hub and regional LEPs indicating that we could see up to 60% growth in jobs across the wider sector in the coming decade.

Provisions announced in the Net Zero Strategy include: 

  • £620 million for zero-emission vehicles and a further £350 million will be invested into the Automotive Transport Fund 
  • £14 billion in public/private investment to deliver four industrial clusters
  • An additional £124 million into the Nature for Climate Fund
  • £140 million into hydrogen and carbon capture clusters
  • £150 - £270 million to decarbonise the power system

The long-awaited Heat and Buildings Strategy was also published this week along with the Net Zero Strategy. The decarbonisation of our heating system will be critical for the West Midlands region; the WMCA’s 5-Year-Plan indicates that domestic and industrial & commercial buildings make up the vast majority (71%) of our regional carbon emissions, and action here must be prioritised.

The Heat and Buildings Strategy includes £3.9 billion in funding to drive down the costs of clean heat. This commitment will support the delivery of the Government’s plan for all new heating systems installed in UK homes from 2035 to be low carbon and drive down the emissions of public sector buildings by 75% against the 2017 baseline.

Funding announcements included within the Strategy includes:

  • £5,000 government grants through £450 million Boiler Upgrade Scheme to help install low-carbon heating systems in domestic buildings
  • A £60 million innovation fund launched to make clean heat systems smaller, easier to install, and cheaper to run

For the West Midlands and our cities, the creation of thousands of secure, well-paid jobs will again be critical to deliver on the decarbonisation of our regional heat demand.

The GBSLEP acknowledges the scale of the challenge to achieve Net Zero in our Strategic Economic Plan 2016-2030, and we are acting now to make a tangible difference to our regional decarbonisation efforts. This Autumn we have launched our Low Carbon and Circular Economy Grant Fund and Growing Places Capital Fund Programme. In November 2021, we will launch the Clean Growth Programme via our Growth Hub. The Programme will help businesses of all sizes and sectors with planning, funding, and delivering practical steps to reduce their energy use and carbon footprint.

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