Government's clean growth strategy details plans to meet 2050 emissions target

 
Courtney Goldsmith
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The government announced its long-awaited clean growth strategy (Source: Getty)

The government has announced a raft of plans to invest millions in renewable technology and low carbon innovations as the UK works to hit its 2050 climate target.

From offshore wind to electric vehicles, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy's (Beis) clean growth strategy details how £2.5bn worth of funding will be dolled out by 2021 to tackle carbon emissions.

The funding covers programmes in the energy, transport, agriculture and waste sectors, including £265m for smart energy systems and £1bn to promote electric and other low-emission vehicles.

The government also said "as many homes as possible" will be brought up to a minimum of energy performance band C by 2035 in an aim to improve energy efficiency.

Read more: Renewables poised to cause a major disruption to UK utilities by 2030

Business and energy secretary Greg Clark said:

For the first time in a generation, the British government is leading the way on taking decisions on new nuclear, rolling out smart meters and investing in low carbon innovation. The world is moving from being powered by polluting fossil fuels to clean energy. It’s as big a change as the move from the age of steam to the age of oil and Britain is showing the way.

The plans were broadly welcomed by the energy industry, but some specific policies drew criticism.

Alex Wild, research director at the TaxPayer's Alliance, argued against minister for climate change Claire Perry's statement that the government was considering reducing stamp duty to act as an incentive for people to make their homes more energy efficient.

"The British tax system is horrendously complicated and stamp duty is arguably the most damaging tax we have, so ratcheting up complexity with environmental gimmicks is the last thing we need. Instead of fiddling around with silly tweaks the chancellor should cut rates across the board or, better still, abolish it entirely," Wild said.

The Solar Trade Association expressed disappointment about the strategy's "limited early opportunities" for solar power.

However, the Aldersgate Group, an alliance of leaders from business and politics who are pushing for a sustainable economy, said the clean growth strategy sets the UK's economy on a competitive path.

“The importance of positive government messaging on the low carbon agenda for investment confidence is often overlooked and today’s clear cross-government commitment to deliver on the UK’s climate targets will be welcomed by businesses," said Nick Molho, executive director of the Aldersgate Group.

"Recent announcements in the offshore wind and car manufacturing industries have highlighted how a clear vision, supported by detailed policies, enable the private sector to drive innovation, cut the costs of clean technologies and invest in UK jobs and supply chains."

Read more: The government has confirmed up to £557m for new renewable energy auctions

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