Spring Statement 2019: Green Economy round-up

On 13 March 2019, the Chancellor announced in his Spring Statement various proposals on how the Government will accelerate the shift to a clean economy. 

3/13/2019 12:00:00 AM

These proposals build on the Industrial Strategy, the Clean Growth Strategy and the 25 Year Environment Plan. This note sets out the key clean growth proposals in the Spring Statement.

  • Low-carbon homes - to help ensure consumer energy bills are low and homes are better for the environment, the Government will introduce a Future Homes Standard by 2025, so that new build homes are future-proofed with low carbon heating and world-leading levels of energy efficiency. The Chancellor also builds on his pledge to halve the energy use of new-build homes by 2030;
  • Business energy efficiency - to help smaller businesses reduce their energy bills and carbon emissions, the Government is launching a call for evidence on a Business energy efficiency scheme to explore how it can support investment in energy efficiency measures;
  • Decarbonisation of gas - to help meet climate targets, the Government will advance the decarbonisation of gas supplies by increasing the proportion of green gas in the grid, helping to reduce dependence on burning natural gas in homes and businesses;
  • Biodiversity 'net gain' requirement for developers - to ensure that wildlife isn’t compromised in delivering necessary infrastructure and housing, the government will mandate net gains for biodiversity on new developments in England to deliver an overall increase in biodiversity;
  • Review into the Economics of Biodiversity - to explore ways to enhance the natural environment and deliver prosperity, the Government will launch a global review into the Economics of Biodiversity;
  • Zero-carbon travel - to give people the option to travel ‘zero carbon’, the Government will launch a call for evidence on Offsetting Transport Emissions to explore consumer understanding of the emissions from their journeys and their options to offset them. This will also look into whether travel providers should be required to offer carbon offsets to their customers;
  • Marine Protected Area - to help protect critical habitats, the government will support the call from the Ascension Island Council to designate 443,000 square kilometres of its waters as a Marine Protected Area, with no fishing allowed.

It is positive news that the Chancellor has announced that all new homes from 2025 must be heated from low carbon sources and have world-leading levels of energy efficiency. This is especially important given the recent Committee on Climate Change’s 'UK housing: Fit for the future?' report warning that energy-inefficient and high-carbon housing is jeopardising the UK’s chances of meeting its carbon budgets. We look forward to seeing further details on this policy from the Government in due course.

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