Spring Statement: Low carbon homes and travel and business energy efficiency

Chancellor Philip Hammond has launched consultations on possible future changes for the public and businesses to comment on

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Philip Hammond has pledged to help small businesses reduce their energy bills and carbon emissions as well as introduce a Future Homes Standard by 2025.

Delivering his Spring Statement today, the chancellor said a call for evidence on a business energy efficiency scheme will be launched to explore how the government can support investment in energy saving measures.

A new standard will be introduced by 2025 to future-proof new build homes with low carbon heating and energy efficiency measures, building on the Industrial Strategy’s Grand Challenge mission to at least halve the energy use of new buildings by 2030.

Mr Hammond has also proposed to give people the option to travel “zero carbon” and will launch a call for evidence on offsetting transport emissions, which will look into whether travel providers should be required to offer carbon offsets to their customers.

He also intends to accelerate the decarbonisation of the UK’s gas supplies by increasing the proportion of green gas in the grid. A consultation will be launched later this year on the appropriate mechanism needed to deliver on the commitment and reduce the nation’s dependence on burning natural gas to heat homes.

An investment of £79 million has been announced for a new supercomputer in Edinburgh – five times faster than existing capabilities – whose processing power will aid discoveries in various sectors, including climate science.

The chancellor said: “We must apply the creativity of the marketplace to deliver the solutions to one of the most complex problems of our times: climate change; and build sustainability into the heart of our 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.”

A call for evidence is to be launched to identify what more should be done to strengthen Scotland and the rest of the UK’s position as a global hub for safe, environmentally-friendly decommissioning that meets the Oil and Gas Authority’s ambitious cost reduction targets.

Mr Hammond also reiterated the government’s efforts to tackle the scourge of plastic pollution, with a consultation already in place on new tax and regulatory measures.

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