The United Kingdom’s Conservative Party under the leadership of Boris Johnson has announced a raft of pledges intended to support the country’s net zero 2050 target, including £1 billion in investments to support the growth of the green automotive industry.
The new package of policies and promises focuses on a wide array of sectors including transport, housing, energy, and nature, and are intended to solidify the Conservatives’ commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 – announced in June as the last meaningful act of former Prime Minister Theresa May before she left office.
The package includes a promise to plant up to one million trees by 2024 through the development of new green spaces across the country, and a Future Homes Standard to develop greener homes.
It even includes an investment in UK science with a pledge to build a new fusion power plant by 2040 which will be backed by an initial investment of £220 million (AU$401 million).
Maybe the biggest piece of news, however, was a £1 billion (AU$1.82 billion) new investment in the country’s automotive industry set to focus on green growth and delivering emissions reductions in the road transport sector.
The £1 billion is intended to ensure the UK’s automotive industry stays “at the forefront of greener and more advanced technologies, while securing the UK’s place as a world leader in transport technology and innovation.”
It will look to invest in the manufacturing of key green automotive technologies such as batteries, electric motors, drives, power electronics, and hydrogen fuel cells, along with their component and materials supply chains.
“Addressing climate change is a top priority for the Conservative Party, and today’s announcements will not only help us reach our Net Zero 2050 target, but will benefit communities and households – and improve wildlife and wellbeing – while doing so,” said Andrea Leadsom, the business and energy Secretary.
“Today’s announcement is further evidence of the benefits of going green. The Conservatives are doing this properly: creating hundreds of thousands of low carbon jobs and growing our economy while successfully reducing emissions.”
The Conservative Party Conference, due to finish on October 2 will be dominated by conversations around the pending Brexit deadline and the possibility of a snap general election.
However, the Tories are hoping to focus at least occasionally on the future and their plans to achieve their party’s signature long-term policy of net zero emissions by 2050.
Thee opposing Labour Party voted at its own party conference to create a pathway toward a net zero emission target by 2030 – two decades earlier than their rivals.
The extremely ambitious target is, at the moment, just a promise, and one that holds very little merit if the Labour Party can’t take power anytime soon. Even then, it is ba challenging call for change.
Before the Labour Party Conference, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell announced on UK’s Today programme a plan, if it gained power, to “democratise” electric vehicles through the use of 2.5 million interest free loans that would be targeted to trial vehicle-to-grid technology.
This technology allows electric vehicles to feed stored power back into the grid at times of peak demand to smooth out electricity grid peaks and troughs.
Interest free loans of up to £33,000 ($A60,800) would be made available to the UK’s low-income and rural households as well as to independent contracts and small- to medium-businesses.