The government must ensure that future investment is spent on low carbon transport, buildings and industrial infrastructure to ensure a green economic recovery from COVID-19, according to a report published today (June 29) by think tank Green Alliance.
The report titled Blueprint for a Resilient Economy has highlighted that since 2017, the UK government has spent £9bn on new high carbon transport infrastructure and has confirmed that it will spend a further £27bn over the next five years on building 4,000 miles of new roads.
In the report, Green Alliance has highlighted that even with the current 2035 phase-out date for petrol and diesel vehicles, with these spending plans the UK won’t meet it’s carbon budgets for transport.
Similarly, since 2017, the government is estimated to have invested nearly £9bn to support new housing projects.
The scrapping of the zero-carbon homes standard in 2015 means that most of these new homes are not net-zero compatible.
Green Alliance have estimated that there is a gap of £14.1bn in annual public investment in new low carbon transport, buildings, natural capital and industry infrastructure required in the UK.
The biggest investment gap, of £8.7bn per year, is in low carbon transport. According to the report, if the government were to reallocate the average annual investment committed to new road building towards low carbon transport infrastructure, it could already close 60% of that gap.
Chris Venables, head of politics at Green Alliance said: ‘This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the government to hardwire the environment into a post-COVID economy – now is the time for the Prime Minister to create the foundations of a healthier, more resilient economy.
‘With alarming temperatures recorded in the Arctic last week, it’s clear the climate crisis has not gone away, and no country will be immune. The Prime Minister needs to show real leadership this week or risk a downward spiral as the impacts of the environmental crises take hold.’
Anthony Browne MP (Conservative) and chair of the All-Party Parliament Group on the Environment also commented: ‘There is no doubt that we stand at a crossroads in the history of our nation. With the economy facing a historic challenge over the coming weeks and months, I believe that putting climate-friendly infrastructure at the heart of the recovery efforts is vital to building a more resilient and prosperous UK.
‘Today’s report shows what would be possible with leadership from the top of government, I hope we start to see the green shoots of a low-carbon recovery in the very near future.’
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