The Government’s Clean Growth Strategy proposes to build a lower-carbon future for the United Kingdom.
Flogas, commercial gas specialists, have put together the following summary which details what the key points mean for UK homes and businesses.
What has the UK committed to?
The background legislation that brought the Clean Growth Strategy about was the Climate Change Act. This was introduced by the UK in 2008, making them the first nation worldwide to have a self-imposed legally binding carbon reduction target. The crux of it? To reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels).
Does it look like we will meet our target?
The figures released by BEIS appear positive. They revealed that the UK is well on its way to meeting this target, with overall carbon emissions having dropped by 42% since 1990. While this progress is encouraging, the Government acknowledges that there is still plenty more work to be done – and that’s where proposals like the Clean Growth Strategy come in.
How can the Clean Growth Strategy help us?
Simply put, the proposals and policies mentioned in the strategy are aimed at accelerating the pace of ‘clean growth’ in two ways: by decreasing emissions, and by increasing economic growth. With that in mind, the two guiding objectives underpinning the strategy are:
- To meet our domestic commitments at the lowest possible net cost to UK taxpayers, consumers and businesses.
- To maximise the social and economic benefits for the UK from this transition.
To turn this vision into a reality, the government has pledged to roll out lower-carbon processes, systems and technologies nationwide – doing so in the most cost-effective way possible for businesses and homes alike.
What are the Clean Growth Strategy’s key proposals?
There are six key areas that the strategy’s proposals focus. Together, they are responsible for 100% of the UK’s carbon emissions:
- Improving business and industry efficiency (25% of UK emissions)
- Improving our homes (13% of UK emissions)
- Accelerating the shift to low-carbon transport (24% of UK emissions)
- Delivering clean, smart, flexible power (21% of UK emissions)
- Enhancing the benefits and value of our natural resources (15% of UK emissions)
- Leading the public sector (2% of UK emissions)
You can find the 50 pledges laid out in this executive summary.
What does this mean for homes and businesses?
Essentially, the government is encouraging and supporting homes, businesses and industrial operations to minimise their carbon footprint. A major focus will be reassessing the fuels we use for jobs like heating, cooking, and powering industrial and manufacturing processes – and embracing cleaner, greener alternatives.
Not only will this boost the uptake of renewable technologies, such as biomass boilers and solar panels over time, but it also favours cleaner conventional fuels over more polluting ones. For example, for off-grid homes and businesses, the strategy sets out specific plans to phase out high-carbon forms of fossil fuels like oil. As the lowest-carbon conventional off-grid fuel, oil to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) conversions will play a key part in replacing oil in rural parts of the country.
It’s certain that natural gas is going to stay as a popular choice for buildings that are connected to the mains network. This is not only because it is affordable and accessible, but it is also the lowest-carbon fossil fuel available. Flogas, which specialises in highly competitive commercial mains gas, expects to see this part of its business continue to go from strength to strength.
The company, which has more than 30 years of experience in the sector, believes that the ‘green gas’ phenomenon (natural gas injected with a proportion of environmentally friendly biogas) will grow in popularity as the Clean Growth Strategy rolls out.
The reaction has been positive with a lot of support from key industry figures following the Clean Growth Strategy’s unveiling.
Managing director of Flogas, Lee Gannon, said: ‘Through the publication of its Clean Growth Strategy, the government has made clear its intention to reduce carbon emissions from off-grid UK homes and businesses. Natural gas is affordable, versatile, widely available and – most importantly – emits significantly less carbon than the likes of coal and oil. As such, it will continue to play a central role as the UK works towards cleaning up its energy landscape. We look forward to working alongside policymakers and wider industry stakeholders to make the Clean Growth Strategy the success that it deserves to be.’
Trade body Oil & Gas UK is also in supports of the strategy. Mike Tholen, its upstream policy director, commented: ‘Oil & Gas UK welcomes the government’s commitment to technology in the strategy, especially with regards to carbon abatement measures such as carbon capture, usage and storage. Oil & Gas UK looks forward to working with the government to see how these technologies can further reduce emissions across the economy.’
Nicky Bannister, head of Flogas