What’s new and what’s not in the Government’s green plans?

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The Government released thousands of pages of documents on Thursday as part of what was billed as Green Day – big new proposals to help the UK reach its environmental targets.

But experts largely argued that there was little of actual substance in the announcements, with most of the money already having been earmarked in the past.

In the press release that accompanied the day the Government made many promises. But many were just repackaged versions of old announcements.

What follows is a brief – and very top level – look at the announcements. There is likely to be more detail buried in the documents which is not touched on here.

– Carbon capture

The Government promised a “world-leading commitment to Carbon Capture Usage and Storage”. It announced eight projects. It did not announce any new funding for carbon capture beyond the £20 billion it had already set out – all but £1 billion of which will not come until the next parliament when this Government might be out of power anyway.

(PA Graphics)

The Government already announced the establishment of Great British Nuclear last November – a body which is meant to support the industry. On Thursday it announced the names of the two experts who will lead the body and said it would be based in the Greater Manchester area. It did not appear to reveal any new funding for the body.

– Hydrogen

The Government released a shortlist of 20 hydrogen projects that it plans to support. This is new information. The projects could end up being part of the £240 million Net Zero Hydrogen fund, which had already been announced.

– Renewables

The Government opened bidding for the annual renewable energy auction which happens in the summer. This is not new as it happens every year.

Renewable energy
Bidding has opened for the annual renewable energy auction which happens in the summer (Owen Humphreys/PA)

– Insulation

The Government has renamed the Energy Company Obligation Plus (ECO+) scheme as the “Great British Insulation Scheme”. It does not appear to have announced any new money for the scheme, but has revealed some of the details of how it will work.

– Heating

The Government said that a new £30 million Heat Pump Investment Accelerator would help bring in private investment. The accelerator and the money had already been announced a year ago.

The Government said it would extend the Boiler Upgrade Scheme to 2028. This is new information and offers a grant of up to £5,000 for anyone buying a heat pump for an extra few years.

(PA Graphics)

The Government plans to “rebalance gas and electricity costs”. Right now many charges not related to supplying electricity are added onto electricity bills, but not onto gas bills.

Experts have been calling for this to end for a long time. Mr Shapps announced that he plans to change this last weekend.

– Planning permission

Right now it takes years to get planning approval for a new wind farm or other renewable project. The Government said that it plans to “speed up planning approvals” for energy infrastructure. It had already hinted at this in the past.

– Transport

Electrc car charging – Gridserve – Braintree
Gridserve, the UK’s first electric forecourt, Braintree, Essex (John Walton/PA)

– Private investment

The Government promised to update its Green Finance Strategy which it claims “will mobilise the billions of private investment needed for net zero and nature recovery.”

– Exports

The Government said that it would allow UK Export Finance – a Government-backed body – an extra £10 billion of capacity to help encourage green UK exports. This capacity is not the same as investing Government money.

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