Networks must be significantly strengthened across the UK to accommodate the electrification of heat and transport and boost economic recovery, according to an influential Government advisory body.
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) said the post-Covid-19 period presents an precedented opportunity to also accelerate investment in areas such as new hydrogen and CCS infrastructure.
It said the costs involved in upgrading the system will need to be borne at some point as part of the net-zero transition in any case and could be recovered through modest increases in customer bills over periods of several decades. It also said revenue could be raised by setting or raising carbon prices for sectors of the economy which do not bear the full costs of emitting greenhouse gases.
In letters to the UK Prime Minister and First Ministers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the body stressed reducing emissions and adapting to climate change are integral to the recovery package needed for the UK.
CCC Chairman, Lord Deben, said: “The Covid-19 crisis has shown the importance of planning well for the risks the country faces. The actions needed to tackle climate change are central to rebuilding our economy. The Government must prioritise actions that reduce climate risks and avoid measures that lock-in higher emissions.”
The CCC’s comments came as a group of UK business and environmental leaders also called for the Government to invest in a green recovery.
The open letter called for significant backing for green infrastructure, technology, and skills, and said that polluting industries without credible decarbonisation plans should not be bailed out.