On Tuesday night, the green industrial revolution was given a giant push by Boris Johnson when he presented his Ten Point Plan to pave the way for the UK to reach its target of net zero emissions by 2050.
Mobilising £12 billion of government investment and aiming for three times as much from the private sector, the plan is to help create 250,000 highly skilled green jobs while also promoting the Prime Minister's mission to 'level up' across the country by putting the UK's industrial heartlands at the core of the blueprint.
The North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, West Midlands, Scotland, and Wales are the regions that will drive forward the green industrial revolution, generating green jobs and green industries in the future.
The Ten Points focus on clean energy, transport, nature, and innovative technologies by:
- Offshore Wind: Having four times the current level of offshore wind generation available, up to 40GW by 2030, to power every home and supporting up to 60,000 green jobs.
- Hydrogen: Aiming to generate 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 to use in industry, transport, power, and homes and enable the first town, heated entirely by hydrogen, to be developed in the same timeframe. Up to £260 million will be available for trialing domestic home uses, a 'Hydrogen Neighbourhood' in 2023 expanding to a 'Hydrogen Village' by 2025 and a 'Hydrogen Town' by 2030. A further £240 million will be available for new hydrogen production facilities.
- Nuclear: Promoting clean energy large scale nuclear and developing a new generation of small advanced modular reactors, possibly supporting 10,000 jobs with a cost of £525 million attached.
- Electric Vehicles: Backing car manufacturing bases, especially those in the West Midlands, North East, and North Wales, to hasten the transition to electric vehicles and the national infrastructure changes required for EV support. The Prime Minister took this opportunity to confirm something that the car industry had been expecting - namely that the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars and vans will cease in 2030, 10 years earlier than originally planned. To accomplish this, £1.3 billion has been earmarked to roll out charge points, £582 million will be available in grants for the purchase of zero or ultra-low emission vehicles, and nearly £500 million over four years on the development of mass-scale electric vehicle battery production. The Prime Minister also said that the UK would also launch a consultation of phasing our diesel HGVs, and although no date was set, he's put the freight industry on notice that a zero-emission alternative will be required.
- Public Transport, Cycling, and Walking: Investing in zero-emission transport for the future and to promote cycling and walking.
- Jet Zero and Greener Maritime: Promoting research projects into zero-emission planes and ships which traditionally are difficult industries to decarbonize. An initial £20 million has been budgeted for a competition to develop clean maritime technology.
- Homes and Public Buildings: Creating 50,000 green jobs by 2030, making homes, schools, and buildings warmer and more energy efficient. Replacing gas heating with heat pumps at a rate of 600,000 every year by 2028 is the target, with £1 billion being identified for these major projects.
- Carbon Capture: A target of removing and storing 10 million tonnes of CO2 from emissions by 2030 and becoming a world-leader in this technology. Extra funding of £200 million will be available to create two carbon capture 'clusters' by the middle of this decade and a further two by 2030, helping to support 50,000 jobs.
- Nature: Planting 30,000 hectares of trees every year while creating and retaining thousands of jobs.
- Innovation and Finance: Becoming the global centre of green finance and helping to develop the cutting-edge technologies needed to reach these new energy ambitions.
This plan builds on previous government investment over the last year, including energy innovation, greener transport (cycling, walking, and buses), and new flood and coastal defences.
It gives UK industry a clear message to invest in the UK's green industries and sets a marker for UK business operations regarding the need to consider their own carbon emissions.
This marks the beginning of the UK's path to net zero, with further plans to reduce emissions whilst creating jobs to follow over the next year in the run-up to the international COP26 climate summit in Glasgow next year.