Progress to Net Zero: Mel Stride's View...

26 July 2022

Following on from the item above, and for an opportunity to contrast and compare, below is our MP's take on the government's progress towards net zero, this letter being received by Liz Brooks-Hocking, mayor of Crediton.

'Dear Liz, 

Further to our previous correspondence regarding the Government's net zero strategy, I have put your comments to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and received the following response from the Rt Hon Greg Hands MP, Minister of State for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change: 
"Thank you for your email dated 23 May enclosing correspondence on behalf of Crediton Town Council, regarding the Net Zero Strategy and carbon reduction in buildings. Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding to you.
The Net Zero strategy, accelerated by our British Energy Security Strategy, builds on the landmark Prime Minister's Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution. Together, they will drive forward our ambition to reach net zero and level up the UK by supporting up to 190,000 jobs in the middle of the 2020s and around 480,000 jobs in 2030.
For buildings decarbonisation, a range of policies will combine to support the development of the heat pump market towards 600,000 per year by 2028. This package includes: the Future Homes Standard, which will ensure that new homes are built zero carbon-ready without the need for costly retrofitting; consulting on a new market-based incentive for heating system manufacturers to be introduced from 2024.; consulting on phasing out new oil, coal and liquefied petroleum gas heating in off-gas grid non-domestic buildings from 2024 and homes from 2026, following natural appliance replacement cycles; and a range of other policies such as the £450 million Boiler Upgrade Scheme, the Home Upgrade Grant and Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund.
To grow the installer supply chain, the Government is investing in skills and training. In 2021, the government invested £6 million in the BEIS Skills Training Competition, resulting in 7,000 training opportunities provided, across heat pumps, insulation and wider retrofit skills. We are developing plans for a further competition in 2022/23.
The Government is not waiting until 2025 to act. Our work on a full technical specification for the Future Homes Standard has been accelerated and we will consult on this in 2023. We also intend to introduce the necessary legislation in 2024, ahead of implementation in 2025.
In the short term, our priority will be to implement an interim 2021 Part L uplift for new homes in June 2022. When it is implemented, new homes will be expected to produce 31% less CO2 emissions compared to current standards. This will deliver high-quality homes that are in line with our broader housing commitments and encourage homes that are future-proofed for the longer-term, serving as an important stepping-stone to the Future Homes Standard in 2025.
BEIS analysis conducted at the time of the Net Zero Strategy (published October 2021) shows that, to achieve net zero, engineered greenhouse gas removal methods will be required to balance residual emissions from some of the most difficult to decarbonise sectors. This includes agriculture and aviation industries. This confirms the assessment by independent institutions such as the CCC and the National Infrastructure Commission.
In the Net Zero Strategy, we set the ambition of deploying at least 5MtCO2/yr of engineered removals by 2030. We will develop markets and incentives for investment in greenhouse gas removal methods by consulting on our preferred business models to incentivise early investment in 2022.
Our route to net zero by 2050, including to navigate the inherent uncertainty, and presents an indicative pathway to deliver on our ambitious emissions targets along the way. It outlines how our early and ambitious action can help protect consumers, lives and livelihoods, while maximising the co-benefits for people, society, the environment, and the economy. It details key actions we will take in different sectors to make sure we deliver on building a greener, fairer UK.
The Heat and Buildings Strategy principally covered the operational emissions from buildings but other areas of government strategy, including the Net Zero Strategy - and the Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy from March 2021 - cover our plans for decarbonising materials, in more detail.
As mentioned, in the short term, our priority will be to implement an interim 2021 Part L uplift for new homes in June 2022. When it is implemented, new homes will be expected to produce 31% less CO2 emissions compared to current standards. We know that the carbon emitted during the construction of homes and buildings, or embodied carbon, can account for a significant proportion of the total carbon emissions over the lifetime of a building. The Government recently published the England Trees Action Plan and the forthcoming Waste Prevention Programme setting out ways the Government is supporting a shift towards a greater use of low-carbon materials.
BEIS are conscious of the importance of understanding local conditions in planning for net zero, and in ensuring we capture the full benefits, or levelling up and providing new, skilled, green jobs across the whole country."
​I hope that this response is useful to you and helps to clarify the Government's position on this matter. 
Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.
With best wishes,