UK climate change masterplan targets draughty homes
Published: 12 Oct 2017

A long-delayed blueprint for how the UK will hit its binding target of cutting emissions by 57% by 2032 has been published by Ministers. It includes a range of policies supporting everything from low-carbon power and energy savings to electric vehicles and keeping food waste out of landfill.

Millions of the UK's draughtiest homes will be insulated by 2035, which could save families up to £300 a year on their energy bills. Energy efficiency for businesses and householders is at the heart of the 164-page Clean Growth Strategy. Although there is an aspiration that all houses will be brought up to the minimum of energy band C by 2035, there is no definite plan of how this is to be achieved. Existing schemes to improve insulation will be extended until 2028.

The Government has also guaranteed a further £550m of subsidies for offshore wind farm developers, which experts believe could enable the UK's existing offshore wind capacity to be doubled. New nuclear power stations are to be encouraged, but will only go ahead if developers can do so at competitive prices. There was tentative support for solar power.

Launching the plan, the Business Secretary, Greg Clark, claimed: "This government has put clean growth at the heart of its industrial strategy to increase productivity, boost people’s earning power and ensure Britain continues to lead the world in efforts to tackle climate change."

The Climate Minister, Claire Perry, said there would be a new 'triple test' for whether the Government backed clean technologies. They would have to maximise the amount emissions are reduced, show that they can become cheaper in the future, and be an area in which the UK can lead the world. 

The plan was mostly welcomed by green campaigners, industry groups and businesses, but some said it needed more ambition and lacked detail in certain areas. Although there is £120 million of funding for research on carbon capture and storage (CCS), this is only a fraction of the £1 billion government competition on the technology that was axed two years ago.

The plan lacks detail on how the UK will cut emissions from heating, and despite the wide-ranging policies, the strategy concedes that the UK is still not on track to meet its legally binding carbon targets. Campaign group ClientEarth said it is weighing its options, as the UK government is in breach of the Climate Change Act 2008. The UK's statutory advisers on the targets, the Committee on Climate Change, will pass its verdict in January after analysing the plan.