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UK government commits £350mn to cut heavy industry emissions and drive economic recovery
UK industry is to receive around £350mn of funding from the UK government to cut carbon emissions under new plans to step up efforts to tackle climate change and meet UK’s target to reach net zero by 2050.
The investment package will help businesses to decarbonise across the heavy industry, construction, space and transport sectors and to secure the UK’s place at the forefront of green innovation, said Prime Minister Boris Johnson on 22 July 2020.
The projects set to receive funding will work on developing new technologies that could help companies switch to more energy-efficient means of production, use data more effectively to tackle the impacts of climate change, and help support the creation of new green jobs by driving innovation and growth in UK industries.
The package includes:
- £139mn to cut emissions in heavy industry by supporting the transition from natural gas to clean hydrogen power, and scaling up carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology which can stop over 90% of emissions being released from industrial plants into the air by storing carbon permanently underground.
- £149mn to drive the use of innovative materials in heavy industry; the 13 initial projects will include proposals to reuse waste ash in the glass and ceramics industry, and the development of recyclable steel.
- £26mn to support advanced new building techniques in order to reduce build costs and carbon emissions in the construction industry.
- A £10mn boost for state-of-the-art construction tech, which will go towards 19 projects focused on improving productivity and building quality, for example, re-usable roofs and walls and ‘digital clones’ of buildings that analyse data in real time.
- Launching a New National Space Innovation Programme backed by £15mn initial funding from the UK Space Agency, which will see the first £10mn go towards projects that will monitor climate change across the globe, which could protect local areas from the impacts of extreme weather by identifying changes in the environment.
- Opening up bids for a further £10mn for R&D in the automotive sector, to help companies take cutting edge ideas from prototype to market, including more efficient electric motors or more powerful batteries.
One year on from taking office, this latest funding forms part of Boris Johnson’s wider efforts to ensure the UK meets its legally binding target to reach net zero emissions by 2050, whilst also driving forward a green recovery from the pandemic. So far this year, this includes committing to consult on ending the sale of new petrol, diesel or hybrid cars by 2035 or earlier; launching the Transport Decarbonisation Plan to cut emissions across the sector; providing over £1bn to support the roll-out of ultra-low emission vehicles in the UK via support for a super-fast charging network for electric vehicles; and committing up to £100mn of new funding for research to develop Direct Air Capture clean technology.
The news came ahead of the Prime Minister launching the first meeting of the Jet Zero Council, which was to discuss how to decarbonise the aviation sector while supporting its growth and strengthening the UK’s position as a world leader in the sector. The members will look at how to work across their sectors to achieve these goals, including through brand new aircraft and engine technologies. These could include using new synthetic and sustainable aviation fuels as a clean substitute for fossil jet fuel, and eventually the development of electric planes.