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A green recovery – how does the UK get there?

Greenpeace and the Aldersgate Group of businesses, NGOs and public sector bodies are among many to set out their blueprints for a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new manifesto: A Green Recovery: How We Get There published by Greenpeace UK, calls for transformative recovery packages, significant funding and radical policy changes across a range of priority areas – clean transport, green buildings, smart power, nature and a circular economy.

By implementing this green recovery plan, the government could create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, attract private investment, help to ‘level up’ communities across the UK, stimulate local economies and improve public health and wellbeing – all while putting the UK on track to meet net zero greenhouse gas emissions before 2045, says the environmental group.

Greenpeace stresses several priority areas, which should be viewed as intertwined, with successful action in one area being dependent on actions happening in the others:

Clean transport – policy measures to speed up the transition to electric vehicles and the electrification of public transport, creating thousands of new jobs and enabling the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans to be banned by 2030.

Smart power – by making offshore wind the backbone of the UK’s energy system, supported by thriving onshore wind and solar, we will increase access to clean, affordable power. Upgrading the electricity grid to ensure a smart energy system will also increase UK energy security.

Green buildings – a new policy framework to ensure all new buildings are installed with solar panels, and required to meet Passivhaus standards, or equivalent, by 2023. By then, the standard for new buildings should be even more ambitious.

Nature – the nature emergency requires a UK-wide programme of nature recovery, restoration and protection projects on land and at sea to avoid further losses of wildlife and biodiversity.

Waste – the government must get the UK on track to a zero-waste economy by halving the use of single-use plastics by 2025, rapidly implementing a Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers.

Meanwhile, the Aldersgate Group’s new policy briefing: Seize the moment: building a thriving, inclusive and resilient economy in the aftermath of COVID-19, suggests a wider range of low carbon and environmental projects. From energy efficiency and vehicle charging infrastructure investments to hydrogen trials, green tech and wetland restoration projects, its briefing argues that low-carbon and nature restoration projects can deliver key benefits in terms of employment, greater regional equality, long-term competitiveness and resilience.

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