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UK industry will receive around £350m to cut emissions in heavy industry and drive economic recovery from coronavirus, as new plans are introduced to step up efforts to tackle climate change, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Wednesday.

The enormous investment package will build on the Prime Minister’s work throughout his first year in office to drive forward development on the UK’s target to reach net zero by 2050, by helping businesses to decarbonise across the heavy industry, construction, space and transport sectors.

The investment comes ahead of the Prime Minister launching the first meeting of the Jet Zero Council on Wednesday evening, which will bring together government, representatives from the environmental sector and the aviation and aerospace industry to tackle aviation emissions in line with the government’s ambition to achieve the first-ever zero-emission long haul passenger plane.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We’ve made great strides towards our net zero target over the last year, but it’s more important than ever that we keep up the pace of change to fuel a green, sustainable recovery as we rebuild from the pandemic.

“The UK now has a huge opportunity to cement its place at the vanguard of green innovation, setting an example worldwide while growing the economy and creating new jobs.

Business and Energy Secretary, Alok Sharma also spoke within the press release, as he stated that, “Climate change is among the greatest challenges of our age. To tackle it we need to unleash innovation in businesses across the country.”

What key expenditures are included within the package?

  • £139 million to cut emissions in heavy industry by supporting the transition from natural gas to clean hydrogen power, and scaling up carbon capture and storage technology which can stop over 90% of emissions being released from industrial plants into the air by storing carbon permanently underground
  • £149 million to drive the use of innovative materials in heavy industry; the 13 initial projects will include proposals to reuse waste ash in the glass and ceramics industry, and the development of recyclable steel
  • £26 million to support advanced new building techniques to reduce build costs and carbon emissions in the construction industry
  • Launching a New National Space Innovation Programme backed by £15 million initial funding from the UK Space Agency, which will see the first £10million go towards projects that will monitor climate change across the globe, which could protect local areas from the impacts of extreme weather by identifying changes in the environment

In addition to this, the Prime Minister will also be opening up bids for a further £10m for R&D in the automotive sector, to help companies take cutting edge ideas from prototype to market, including more efficient electric motors or more powerful batteries.

One year on from taking office, Wednesday’s announcements form part of the PM’s wider efforts to ensure the UK meets its legally binding target to reach net zero emissions by 2050, whilst also driving forward a green recovery from the pandemic.

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