Amidst the political chaos we have seen in the last few weeks, the new Conservative government under Liz Truss has outlined details for a review of net zero policies to ensure they are pro-growth and pro-business.
This review comes following increasing scepticism among Tory ranks about the cost of net zero, with many citing the policy as unaffordable given recent changes to the geopolitical landscape.
At first glance, a policy review under changing circumstances may seem fair enough. However, the language of the review is polarised and presents net zero and economic growth as conflictual within a zero-sum game.
At TDUK, we disagree with this narrative and instead believe that net zero can be a driver rather than a hindrance to economic growth.
On a simple level, if companies or households are investing in new “green measures”, their investment will help drive economic growth just the same as any other form of investment or consumer spending.
With housing, if the government and consumers are investing in effective insulation and clean air source heat pumps, this acts as an economic driver for those businesses providing solutions. This may come at a short-term cost; however, an effective net zero policy pays for itself through both an initial economic stimulus as well as longer-term consumer energy savings.
There are also benefits on a macro-level, with future growth almost certain to be driven by the creation and export of green technology and solutions. The UK should be looking to spearhead this green industrial revolution, not shy away from it.
Despite the increased deregulatory language from Conservatives, we believe a net-zero strategy with effective and targeted regulation can work to achieve both economic and environmental goals.
Our industry is a great example of this. By regulating building emissions through limits on embodied carbon, we can boost demand for low-carbon wood construction products, stimulate local and regional business, and significantly reduce built environment emissions.
Increased use of timber can also act as a catalyst for tree growth both at home and abroad, with greater demand requiring more tree planting and more forest.
Below are the key questions for our sector from the review. We have begun providing a response to the review however any feedback from our members is greatly appreciated – please contact our Sustainability Director Charlie Law if you would like to provide information or have any questions.
Alternatively, members can provide their own responses via the BEIS website here.
BEIS Net Zero Review Questions:
- How does net zero enable us to meet our economic growth target of 2.5% a year?
- What challenges and obstacles have you identified to decarbonisation?
- What opportunities are there for new/amended measures to stimulate or facilitate the transition to net zero in a way that is pro-growth and/or pro-business?
- What more could government do to support businesses, consumers and other actors to decarbonise?
- Where and in what areas of policy focus could net zero be achieved in a more economically efficient manner?
- How should we balance our priorities to maintaining energy security with our commitments to delivering net zero by 2050?
- What export opportunities does the transition to net zero present for the UK economy or UK businesses?
- What growth benefits/opportunities have you had, or do you envisage having, from the net zero transition?
- What barriers do you face in decarbonising your business and its operations?
- Looking at the international market in your sector, what green opportunities seem to be nascent or growing?
- What challenges has the net zero transition presented to your business?
- What impacts have changing consumer choices/demand had on your business?
- What impacts have decarbonisation/net zero measures had on your business?
- What more could be done to support your business and/or sector to decarbonise?
- Do you foresee a role for your business within an expanded UK supply of heat pumps, energy efficiency, electric vehicles, hydrogen economy or clean power?
- For clean power industry: what barriers to entry have you found in deploying new plant and technologies?
- How many green jobs do you estimate will be created in your sector by 2030?