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UK Chancellor of the Exchequer promises to deliver measures tackling climate change

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In his Spring Statement, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer promised a number of measures to further decarbonise the British economy.
UK Chancellor of the Exchequer promises to deliver measures tackling climate change
Courtesy of HM Treasury

The Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, promised to phase out fossil fuel heating systems in new homes from 2025, help small businesses cut their carbon emissions and introduce proposals to increase the amount of green gas in the grid.

The government will also publish a call for evidence investigating the possibility of requiring public transport operators to offer genuinely zero carbon travel.

“…So with the challenge of shaping the carbon neutral economy of the future we must apply the creativity of the marketplace to deliver solutions to one of the most complex problems of our time – climate change” Mr Hammond said in his statement to the House of Commons, promising to build sustainability into the heart of the British economic model. “The UK is already leading the world - reducing the carbon intensity of our economy faster than any other G20 country with ambitious and legally binding targets for the future. Today I can announce our next steps: First, we will publish a call for evidence on whether all passenger carriers should be required to offer genuinely additional carbon offsets so that customers who want ‘zero carbon travel’ have that option and can be confident about additionality.

Second, we will help small businesses cut their carbon emissions and their energy bills, publishing today a call for evidence on the Business Energy Efficiency Scheme that I announced at the Budget.

Third, we will publish proposals to require an increased proportion of green gas in the grid, advancing decarbonisation of our mains gas supply.

And finally, we will introduce a Future Homes Standard, mandating the end of fossil-fuel heating systems in all new houses from 2025”.

The measures have been warmly welcomed by a number of environmental and clean energy sector trade associations and NGOs, including the Ground Source Heat Pump Association (GSHPA) and the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA).

“The GSHPA welcomes the Chancellor’s announcement in his Spring Statement to end fossil fuel heating in all new homes from 2025” said Bean Beanland, Chairman of the Ground Source Heat Pump Association. “The ground source heat pump industry is ready to meet the challenge with a proven and efficient technology that can deliver to homeowners and tenants the lowest operating cost and carbon solution. We look forward to working with the Government and others to make this a reality by contributing to the training and standards that will be required to ensure the strongest possible consumer confidence and protection in this growing market.”

Responding to the Chancellor's Spring Statement, Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive of the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association, said:

“The UK’s green gas industry strongly welcomes the government’s commitment to increasing the proportion of green gas in the grid in order to decarbonise the UK’s heat supply, and we look forward to more detail on this in the promised consultation as soon as possible.

As the Chancellor rightly said in his statement, we need to reduce our dependence on burning natural gas for heating our homes in order to meet our climate targets, and the only way we can do this whilst making use of the existing gas grid is to increase the amount of green gas in the grid.

The UK’s anaerobic digestion (AD) industry stands ready to produce this green gas from the millions of tonnes of organic wastes currently going to incineration or landfill or being left to rot – but the industry needs a favourable policy environment from government to help it to deliver this.

While green gas has been the success story of the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive, funding for this is currently due to run out within the next two years. It’s therefore vital that the promised consultation includes a robust support mechanism for the production of green gas into and beyond the 2020s.

Alongside the government’s recent commitment to rolling out universal food waste collections in England to send inedible food waste to be recycled into green gas through AD, today’s announcement is another huge endorsement of the importance of the UK’s AD industry from the very top of government.

We therefore hope that this year’s Spending Review will confirm the government’s plans for supporting green gas production into the 2020s and funding for all English local authorities to roll out universal food waste collections.”

For additional information:

HM Treasury

Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA)

Ground Source Heat Pump Association (GSHPA)

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