Report finds sustainable projects are boosting economic growth in the UK
The UK passed legislation in 2019 that committed to reducing 100% of net emissions by 2050. The resulting increase in investment in green projects has resulted in a significant boost to the economy.
A recent report from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has shown that the switch to a greener economy is worth £71 billion, reviving various declining industrial sectors in the UK. The report cites 20,000 businesses and 480,000 jobs as serving the UK’s Net Zero ambition.
Additional findings from the report show that regions such as Tyneside, Teeside, Merseyside and the Humber had all done better than average. The average wage for green jobs (£42,600) was also found to be significantly above the national average (£33,400).
The UK has long been viewed as a leading nation in renewable technology, particularly offshore wind turbines, and as a result has attracted significant investment. A recent example is the initiative from the Dogger Bank Wind Farm, the completion of a 2 phase project in 2023 will provide renewable energy to around 6 million homes in Britain.
However, the position the UK holds is under threat. “Other places are setting out their stalls for how they’re going to capture that investment,” says Tom Thackeray from the CBI, adding that there is now a “global competition” for green funding.
The United States of America has introduced landmark legislation called the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The Bill has designated $369 billion to tackle climate change, including subsidies for existing wind and solar technologies; next-gen renewable energy technologies; electric vehicles; alternative aviation and shipping fuels and low-carbon technologies for ports. There is also funding for upskilling and reskilling workers and making infrastructure more climate-resilient in places frequently affected by extreme weather.
The IRA passed last August is the largest single package of spending on low-carbon technologies and activities by any national government. The competition for green investment is increasing, and the UK is realizing how close its competitors are to usurping their position. Peter Chalkley, the director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), has said, “if the UK doesn’t build on the good work that has already been done, we will lose out and lose jobs.”
Stringent planning regulations for onshore solar and wind projects as well as inconsistency in policymaking, have been cited among the factors currently holding back investments in the private sector.
However, the government has spoken out in response to the criticisms, stating that “plans will support up to 480,000 jobs by 2030” and that the current government funding of £30bn invested since March 2021 is driving an expected “£100bn of private sector investment by 2030”.