Lack of investment in green industries puts net zero targets at risk

Following the Spring Budget, announced on 6th March 2024, Neil Waite, Director of NetZero Collective shares his thoughts on the missed opportunity to deliver green growth.

“This week’s Spring Budget was lacking in major policy announcements to boost green industries and support the UK’s commitment to achieving net zero by 2050.

“Hailed as a ‘budget for long-term growth,’ by The Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, I think it missed the mark, and won’t meaningfully accelerate growth, certainly not within the decarbonisation sector.

“It is important that the UK remains an attractive place for development, and the UK Government must do more to address our urgent need to upgrade the energy efficiency of homes and commercial buildings.

“With a recession recently announced, the Government has missed a trick by not utilising our shared decarbonisation goals as a tool for accelerating growth and boosting the economy.

“In the current landscape, the Boiler Upgrade Scheme does very little to encourage low-income households to adopt clean-heat technologies and in the social housing sector, greater focus is being put on the 2030 EPC C deadline, which can be achieved without implementing low carbon heating technologies. It seems to me like short-termism has taken hold, and we’re missing out on the change to deliver dramatic change, hit our net zero 2050 targets and boost the economy whilst we’re at it.

“For the sector to grow there needs to be long-term support for homeowners, particularly low-income households, and social housing tenants. Increasing budgets for schemes such as SHDF, ECO 4 and the Green Homes Grant, and continuing with the implementation of the Clean Heat Market Mechanism would allow housing associations and local authorities to build long-term decarbonisation plans, and start to act now to decarbonise their property portfolio.

“With this expected to be the last major fiscal announcement before the next general election, it was disappointing to see a lack of ambition around, and support for, decarbonisation that could be used to unlock the investment required to boost the green economy in the UK. The target of net zero by 2050 is not going away and the pressure to fulfil our decarbonisation targets on time is building.”