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"The priority now is to get on with it": Sir John Armitt responds to government's net zero strategies

The Commission responds to new government strategies for achieving net zero.

The government has yesterday (19 October 2021) published a number of documents setting out commitments to support the transition to a lower carbon economy.

Responding to publication of the Heat and Buildings Strategy, Sir John Armitt, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, said:

“Kick starting the heat pump market to reduce costs for households to make the switch from gas boilers is an important step, but progress will need to be monitored closely. Alongside encouraging heat pumps, the key question is whether natural gas is going to be replaced with hydrogen or the gas network decommissioned, and only government can decide when and where that happens.

“This means it is vital that government sticks to its schedule for making decisions on the future role of hydrogen for heating.

“While we welcome government’s ambition to improve the energy efficiency of homes and other buildings, the continued lack of specific targets for the number of insulation installations makes it difficult to measure progress. It remains to be seen whether the range of schemes set out in the Strategy will be able to deliver at the pace required.”

Responding to the Net Zero Strategy, also published yesterday, Sir John adds:

“The Strategy sets out a range of commitments and timescales for action. It is both hugely ambitious and has to be delivered. The priority now is to get on with it.

“It is encouraging to see a commitment to developing a whole new industry to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, which the Commission has recommended needs to be put in place over the next decade if we are to meet our international climate obligations. The Strategy indicates broad agreement with the Commission’s proposals for how this market should be regulated and financed, and we look forward to seeing further details in due course.”

The Commission’s study on greenhouse gas removal technologies, published in July, can be read here. The report includes a recommendation, endorsed in the Net Zero Strategy, that government act to deploy at least 5 MtCO2/year of engineered removals by 2030.
The Commission will continue to digest the material and offer further responses in due course, including through our work on the second National Infrastructure Assessment.

UK's path to net zero set out in landmark strategy

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