The government is set to invest £40m in helping polluting industries reduce their carbon footprint as the Prime Minister attempts to cozy up to US President Joe Biden’s new green agenda.
Businesses in Britain’s energy-intensive sectors, including pharmaceuticals, steel, paper and food and drink, will be able to apply for their share of the cash through the government’s Industrial Energy Transformation Fund.
Companies will be eligible to grants worth between £100,000 and £14m to help “drive them towards a cleaner, more sustainable future,” the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Beis) said in a statement.
The grants will help businesses use new technology to improve the efficiency of industrial processes and reduce energy demand.
Beis will encourage factories to install electric motors and heat pumps to replace their natural gas-fired boilers, manufacturers to recycle waste heat and generate renewable electricity, and industries such as the food and drink sector to replace natural gas with hydrogen.
“We can only achieve our ambitious plans to tackle climate change if everyone plays their part, including businesses large and small,” said energy minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan.
“That’s why our £40m investment will not only help some of the highest polluting industries like steel, paper and pharmaceuticals build back greener by finding innovative ways to reduce their carbon emissions but will also create more opportunities for growth and jobs by levelling up and making industry fit for the future.”
The government has pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 68 per cent over the next 10 years, in a bid to reach its target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Johnson has laid out a ten-point plan to achieve the goal, including banning the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2030, providing £582m in grants to aid buyers of low or zero emission vehicles and spending £500m on developing hydrogen technologies to heat homes.
The Prime Minister is understood to be ramping up the UK’s commitment to climate policies as he attempts to win the approval of newly-elected US President Biden.
Johnson used his first phone call with the Democrat to welcome Biden’s announcements that the US would rejoin the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate and the World Health Organization.
However, he has faced widespread criticism over the government’s support for a new coalmine in Cumbria, despite pledging to reduce carbon emissions.
Scientists, green campaigners and government advisers have expressed their disapproval of the government’s support for the UK’s first new deep coalmine in three decades.
The UK is set to host the Cop26 UN climate summit in Glasgow in November this year, where countries will be asked to sign up to long-term targets of net zero emissions by 2030.