UK must go big on clean energy investments, says NIC

The UK’s infrastructure advisers have urged the government to concentrate on fewer, larger, and better-targeted initiatives to achieve its climate goals

Big Zero Report 2022

The government needs to focus on fewer, larger initiatives to meet its long-term economic and climate goals, according to the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC).

The commission’s annual Infrastructure Progress Review criticises the government’s “negligible advances” in improving energy efficiency and water supply sustainability while noting progress towards nationwide gigabit broadband coverage and renewable electricity growth.

The report also highlights government shortfalls in the installation of heat pumps and electric vehicle charge points and calls for greater policy staying power, devolution of funding and decision-making and unblocking delivery barriers.

The NIC has proposed several measures to help the UK get back on track with its infrastructure goals.

These include greater policy staying power, fewer but larger interventions from the government, more devolution of funding and decision-making and unblocking delivery barriers, such as the planning regime for nationally significant infrastructure projects.

Sir John Armitt, Chair of the NIC, has stated that there has been slow progress in many areas in 2021 and movement has further stuttered in 2022, just as acceleration is needed.

He said the energy efficiency of UK homes, the installation of low carbon heating solutions and securing a sustainable balance of water supply and demand have seen negligible advances.

A HM Treasury spokesperson told ELN: “We are committed to achieving our net zero goals and are spending £12.6 billion this decade to cut national energy consumption by 15%.

“Delivering high quality infrastructure is foundation of our future growth and we have maintained our total investment at record levels over the next five years, with the Commission recognising our progress on gigabit broadband rollout and renewable electricity generation.”

ELN has reached out to the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero for a statement.

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