Will Sir Keir Starmer’s new government have a sharper lens on the climate agenda?

09 July 2024 by Acre
blog author

​Last week's general election saw a new Labour government voted in with ambitious plans to transition to a greener British economy.

With a landslide majority of 412 seats compared to the Conservative’s 121 (and three extra seats for the Green Party), new Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer has made many bold pledges to support the green economy and help accelerate the sustainability agenda.

It includes a UK-wide Green Prosperity Plan to cut household energy bills by up to £1400 a year, insulate millions of homes and create hundreds of thousands of good new jobs for plumbers, electricians, engineers and technicians across Britain.

Yesterday, Rachel Reeves gave her first speech in her new role as Chancellor where she pledged to ‘fix the foundations’ of the UK economy.

She stated that Labour plans to reform the national planning policy framework to deliver infrastructure and that the government will restore mandatory housing targets.

She broke the news that as of today, Labour will lift the ban on onshore wind development projects and decisions on large projects will be taken nationally, rather than locally.

The new government will analyse greenbelt boundaries with local councils and planning authorities to prioritise brownfield and ‘grey belt’ land to meet housebuilding targets. The phrase ‘grey belt’ was conceived by the Labour Party to describe green belt areas of land that have been neglected but remain in green belt allocation due to its location.

What do you need to know about Labour’s proposed energy/climate plans?

  • Investment in new technology, support capital intensive projects and deploy local energy production, through the creation of publicly-owned GB Energy (with £8.3bn capitalisation)

  • Onshore wind to be doubled, solar power to be tripled and offshore wind to be quadrupled by 2030 and effective ban on onshore wind development projects to be scrapped. Labour also wants to extend the lifetime of existing nuclear power and get Hinckley C ‘over the line’

  • Fracking will be banned, licences to explore new oil fields will be refused, and no new coal licences will be granted

  • National transmission infrastructure will be upgraded

  • £6.6bn to be allocated to a Warm Homes Plan to upgrade household energy efficiency over the next Parliament

  • Creation of a Clean Power Alliance, uniting a coalition of countries at the cutting edge of climate action

  • Support a carbon border adjustment mechanism

  • Development and implementation of ‘credible transition plans that align with the 1.5-degree goal of the Paris Agreement’. This will be undertaken by banks, asset managers, pension funds, insurers and FTSE 100 companies

  • £500m per year rewards for clean energy developers creating jobs and building supply chains in industrial heartlands, coastal areas and energy communities

Ms Reeves said she will set a date for the Autumn Budget before the summer recess. Voters are well-versed in the knowledge that actions speak louder than words but Labour’s manifesto for energy and climate cannot be ignored. These pledges are will no doubt spark interest from UK electorates, regardless of how they voted.

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