October was a bumper month for government announcements. In the run up to COP26, the UK's Net Zero Strategy was published, outlining how the government will decarbonise various economic sectors in preparation for the 2050 Net Zero deadline.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak also unveiled his Autumn Budget and Spending Review on 27th October, which set out the planned spending allocations for various areas. Read on for the key headlines:
Autumn Budget and Spending Review
There was some positive news in the announcement, with the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasting economic growth for 2021 at 6.5%, with the economy forecast to return to pre-COVID levels by 2022. The business investment forecast has also been revised up for the next five years. In terms of spending commitments, £5.7 billion will be invested in eight City Regions over the next five years, as well as £24 billion being earmarked for a 'multi-year housing settlement', with much of this investment dedicated to affordable housing.
Large swathes of green funding were confirmed, including £240 million for the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund; £450 million to grow the heat pump market; and £416 million of UK-wide R&D funding for programmes to help commercialise low and zero emission transport technologies. An unconfirmed amount of funding has also been announced for free, separate food waste collections in every English local authority from 2025.
Net Zero Strategy
The Strategy builds on the Prime Minister's Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, and includes proposals across various key sectors, including Power, Fuel Supply & Hydrogen, Transport and Natural Resources. Some of the goals outlined in the Strategy include the generation of 40GW of offshore wind by 2030; the creation of 5GW of hydrogen production capacity by 2030; the launch of the Heat Pump Ready programme, which aims to install 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028; and much more.
The Environment Agency has published its Regulating for People, Environment and Growth report (RPEG), which shows many improving trends in environmental compliance, pollution incidents, crime and emissions. The report showed that the EA found 621 new illegal waste sites, and stopped illegal waste activity at 722 sites. The EA has also updated its guidance for shipping waste plastic. Elsewhere, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is seeking views on its proposed approach to deliver heat network zoning in England, as well as on proposed updates to guidance for operators in the energy sector.
Yesterday (27th October), Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered his Autumn Budget and Spending Review, read on for some key points from yesterday's announcements.
The harmful effects of harvesting peat for use in compost have been widely reported for some time. But calls for peat products to be banned have now stepped up a gear, with organisations like the National Trust joining the campaign.