Prime Minister Unveils New Net Zero Plans: A closer look at key announcements

On September 20th, the Prime Minister revealed the government's updated plans on climate change to achieve the Net Zero target. Here's an overview of the key announcements:

Revised Timeline for Petrol and Diesel Vehicle Ban:

The Prime Minister disclosed a delay in the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans, pushing it from 2030 to 2035. Energy UK expressed a different viewpoint, advocating for an earlier date of 2032. as well as expressing their support for an ambitious Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate to ramp up electric vehicle sales in the lead-up to the 2030 target.

Boiler Upgrade Scheme Funding Boost:

Funding for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme will see a 50% increase, reaching £7,500. However, the government decided to abandon its goal of banning the sale of new gas boilers (or new emitting boilers) by 2035, a move opposed by Energy UK. The previously planned ban on emitting boiler installations in off-gas grid properties by 2025 has also been scrapped, a decision Energy UK disapproves of. The Prime Minister's statement that heat pumps may not be suitable for all homes contradicts the findings of the government's own Electrification of Heat trials. Uncertainty remains regarding potential changes to the clean heat market mechanism and the Future Homes Standard.

Energy Efficiency in Privately Rented Homes:

The government has discarded the aspiration to legislate for all privately rented homes to achieve an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of C or higher by 2028. Instead, they will continue to offer subsidies for energy efficiency improvements and encourage households to pursue them.

Energy Infrastructure Reforms:

The Chancellor and ESNZ Secretary will implement reforms to energy infrastructure, including the anticipated Connections Action Plan and a potential Spatial Planning approach. A new approach to grid connections will prioritize those who are "ready first" for connection. The government also intends to reform planning regimes to provide industry certainty while incorporating local community input, though there are concerns about potential challenges under the new approach.

Parliamentary Debate on Carbo Budgets:

The Parliament will now debate both Carbon Budgets and the plans aimed at achieving and meeting the targets. Previous Parliament votes on Carbon Budgets barely considered the carbon goals that need to be met and the plan for that budget. The debate will be expected to raise opportunities in the green industry and suggestions for the development of new sectors and new job opportunities.

North Sea Oil and Gas Extraction:

Contrary to some expectations, there will be no ban on oil and gas extraction in the North Sea, marking a notable decision in the government's climate strategy. By slowing efforts to reduce the UK’s dependency, the country will be left reliant on more expensive imported energy for a longer period.

Investment in Green Technologies:

To support scientific and engineering innovation in green technologies, the government has earmarked £150 million in funding. The plan is that this budget will support at least 50 scientists and engineers on their mission to develop green technologies.

The Prime Minister's announcements signal changes in climate change policies, eliciting diverse reactions from Energy UK and other stakeholders. The debate surrounding these policy adjustments is anticipated to continue as the nation grapples with the pressing challenges of climate change.