Long-awaited clean growth strategy unveiled

The UK Government has set out its vision for a low carbon economy under its long-awaited Clean Growth Strategy.

The document, which was originally due to be published two years ago, details how ministers plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions between now and 2032 while still growing the economy.

It promises more than £2.5 billion of investment in low-carbon technology and infrastructure.

The strategy includes the extension of the Energy Company Obligation until 2028, triggering £3.6 billion of cash to make homes more energy-efficient.

Climate Change and Industry Minister Claire Perry said:

“The impact of the Paris agreement and the unstoppable global shift towards low carbon technologies gives the UK an unparalleled opportunity.

“By focusing on Clean Growth, we can cut the cost of energy, drive economic prosperity, create high value jobs and improve our quality of life.”

Commentators welcome the strategy

Shaun Spiers, Executive Director at the Green Alliance think tank, added: “It is great to see this long-awaited strategy setting out the government’s ambitions for clean growth.

“It is certainly a welcome move in the right direction. The test now will be to embed the strategy across government and encourage investment in clean growth by giving businesses the certainty they need.”

Sam Fankhauser, Director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change & the Environment at the London School of Economics, who is also a former member of the UK Committee on Climate Change, said: “There is much to praise in the clean growth strategy but there are also many aspirations rather than tangible policy commitments.

“For instance, the strategy is notably vague on industrial energy efficiency. The strategy is also missing some key elements, such as how the government proposes to establish a sufficiently strong carbon price before and after Brexit.”

Nina Skorupska, Chief Executive of the Renewable Energy Association said the “language, ambition and recommitment from Government to lower emissions” were welcome, as is the recognition that decarbonisation and economic growth are not mutually exclusive, but are in fact linked in the coming decades.

“However, for many of our members they will see very little substance in this plan and we will have to ensure we are pushing government for how they intend to address the big issues of adding low-carbon generation, greening our heat system, cleaning our transport and leading the decentralisation revolution that will lead to a cheaper and low-carbon future," she added.

Some argue more is needed

But environmentalists questioned whether the strategy went far enough.

Gareth Redmond-King, Head of Energy and Climate at WWF, said: “The strategy’s ambition is to be welcomed, however the details fall short of what we need to lead the UK to a green and prosperous future.

“We have been a global climate leader, but if we set out plans that don’t meet our own targets to meet the global threat of climate change, then we will have so much further to go to meet the more ambitious international ones agreed in Paris.”

> Read Perry's speech in full