Green infrastructure – moving past planning a green revolution
Recently the PM Boris Johnson announced an ambitious 10 point green revolution plan. Outlining how the UK can become net zero and achieve its emissions targets by 2050. The plan includes creating at least 250 000 jobs and providing public investment to build the infrastructure needed. While welcomed by both environmental and infrastructure development parties, there’s also the recognition that it’s a very ambitious plan. Much more will be required to transform those plans into action.
A different road ahead for home building
The post-pandemic economic recovery plan has to include environmental actions. This is readily agreed on. It’s critical that new homes and commercial buildings are built to be more sustainable and energy efficient. This is not just to meet net zero requirements. It will also translate into a massive cost saving in the future, negating the need for expensive retrofitting to ensure that all buildings are compliant with carbon emission legislation. As a start £1 billion in funding will be made available for 2021 for retrofitting homes and public buildings and ensure that they are adequately insulated.
Clean energy initiatives
Already the UK is a leader in wind powered energy in terms of the successes achieved in offshore wind production. The government plans to quadruple wind energy output, generating 40GW by 2030. It is the plan that wind energy will be able to power the majority of the UK’s homes. Coupled with that is the plan to increase hydrogen production to be able to supply energy more efficiently to commercial sectors. Even nuclear power generation remains in the mix with proposals to build smaller, more affordable reactors.
Green infrastructure for transport
Perhaps one of the most ambitious elements of the plan is to ban the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030. This means transitioning all existing vehicles to electric or hybrids within the next ten years. For this a massive investment in the development of charging stations will be required. While government has announced their support of this, the public funding made available isn’t sufficient. Private funding will almost certainly be required but in order to attract that investment greater clarity on the roll out of charging infrastructure will be required.
It’s interesting to note that the plan also includes encouraging behavioural changes that’ll have positive environmental impacts. These include promoting walking and cycling as alternate transport options and planting 30 00 hectares of trees each year.