Net zero strategy: UK government’s climate plans will ‘support up to 440,000 jobs’

The strategy details plans to meet legal targets to cut emissions to net zero by 2050

The Government has published its long-awaited “net zero” strategy ahead of UN Cop26 climate talks, which the UK is hosting in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November.

The plans have been unveiled as part of efforts to drive down climate-warming emissions, and include more money for electric cars, on-street charging points and planting trees.

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The strategy details plans to meet legal targets to cut emissions to net zero by 2050 and cut pollution as much as possible.

According to the Government, the plans are set to support 440,000 jobs in new sectors or for people moving from high-carbon industries to cleaner ones, such as boiler fitters retraining as clean heat pump engineers.

Officials said new investment in the plans includes £620 million for electric vehicle grants and infrastructure such as on-street charging, £500 million for innovation projects to develop new clean technologies, and £140 million to help green hydrogen projects get off the ground.

A £450 million figure will also give households in England and Wales grants of £5,000 to swap their gas boilers for low-carbon electric air-source heat pumps for heating and hot water.

There is also a £124 million boost for creating woodlands and restoring peatland to store carbon.

However, critics were quick to warn that the strategy did not provide enough policies or investment to drive the transformation needed to reach net zero.

‘Still lacking the full suite of policies and increased funding’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The UK’s path to ending our contribution to climate change will be paved with well-paid jobs, billions in investment and thriving green industries, powering our green industrial revolution across the country.

“With the major climate summit Cop26 just around the corner, our strategy sets the example for other countries to build back greener too as we lead the charge towards global net zero.”

Katie White, from conservation charity WWF, said: “We are finally seeing the UK Government set out a positive vision for net zero, sending a clear signal to every sector of the economy on their role, but we are still lacking the full suite of policies and increased funding to close the gap between climate promises and action.”

She called for the Chancellor to ensure public finances supported the transition, and to adopt a “net zero test” to ensure all Government spending was in line with climate action.