LATEST

Scottish Government reasserts its ambition for a low carbon future

24th January 2017

Reacting to the publication of the Scottish Government’s Draft Energy Strategy today and Draft Climate Change Plan last week, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said:

"The Scottish Government has set out some challenging climate targets but has a great opportunity to capitalise on the progress already achieved and continue growing Scotland’s low carbon economy and supply chain. The bold measures that are being considered are welcome - particularly actions to tackle emissions in the built environment and transport. The proposal for 50% of all energy to be generated from renewables by 2030 will set an important long term signal that businesses can respond to with affordable investment and innovation. Technologies such as hydrogen can play an important role in the decarbonisation of heating, if the lack of progress on Carbon Capture and Storage can be tackled, but continued support should be given to more established technologies such as district heating networks and heat pumps."

Nick Molho added: "It is also positive to see that the Scottish Government’s consultation on improving energy efficiency includes suggestions such as tax rebates and green mortgages. Targeting fiscal incentives at key moments in a building’s life will help drive demand for energy efficiency improvements, with positive knock-on impacts on energy bills, carbon emissions and insulation supply chains. It is essential that the Scottish Government takes concrete measures as an outcome of this consultation."

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UK needs ambitious policy on resource efficiency as it prepares to leave EU

23rd January 2017

A new report from the Aldersgate Group out today, Amplifying action on resource efficiency, brings forward new business trials showing that greater resource efficiency could deliver significant economic benefits to the UK. To reap these rewards, the UK must outline the future of its resource efficiency policy, much of which currently comes from EU legislation. 

The new research published by the Aldersgate Group on behalf of the REBus project is based on the successful delivery of 26 business pilots that have delivered £4.89m in financial savings and reduced materials consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 62,619 tonnes and 1,953 tonnes, respectively. The work has been conducted across the UK and the Netherlands in a range of key market sectors (including electrical and electronic products, textiles, construction and ICT) that are worth an estimated €350bn to the EU economy. 

Based on the results from the pilot projects, the research also finds that adopting resource efficient business models across these key sectors of the EU economy could deliver an increase of up to €324bn of gross value added (GVA) by 2030 to the EU economy. Of this, the UK alone could see up to €88.4bn (approx. £76.9bn) in GVA gains.

The report features learnings from these business pilots as well as several case studies from Aldersgate Group members, including IKEA UK, Sky and Thames Water. The pilots taking part range from small SMEs such as iPower (whose installation of small scale fuel cells in social housing is estimated to save consumers up to 36% on their energy bills, whilst mitigating 3-4 tonnes of CO2 annually) to the Dutch Ministry of Defence (whose textile recovery programme for its military personnel has delivered additional revenue of approximately €750,000 and a savings of over 14,500 tonnes of CO2 annually).

As the UK prepares to leave the EU, the report sets out a range of key policy recommendations for the UK government based on the learnings from these business pilots:

1.    Improving the resource efficiency of the UK economy requires the development of government policy that is backed by all key departments across Whitehall and should feature in the upcoming industrial strategy.

2.    The government should develop standards that require products sold in the UK to be designed in a way that is resource efficient in order to minimise waste and ensure consumers benefit from better quality products that last as long they expect them to. These standards should be as good as or better than what will be put in place under the EU Circular Economy Package to avoid putting British businesses and consumers at a disadvantage.

3.    Government policy should help drive innovation on resource efficiency by helping businesses, especially SMEs, have better access to finance and technical advice.

4.    The UK should build on the success of its landfill tax and promote other fiscal incentives to encourage the re-use of materials, such as through variable VAT rates that favour resource efficient goods and services over their counterparts.

5.    Waste regulations need to be improved to ensure that secondary materials are not classified as ‘waste’, as long as a safe, alternative use can be found for them.

Other recommendations in the report include leading by example through public procurement practices that favour resource saving goods and services and improving the availability of data on how businesses are becoming more resource efficient. 

Steve Wallace, Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “The businesses involved in Rebus have demonstrated that resource efficiency can lead to commercial success. Theirs is an example  that others can follow. The pilots demonstrate that resource efficiency makes business sense and that there’s a double-win given the environmental benefits that coincide with the financial gains. The report that we are launching today sets out the critical actions required to encourage and support more businesses to follow this path, leading to a more resource efficient and therefore more prosperous UK economy.”

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “As it prepares to leave the EU, the government should urgently develop a resource efficiency policy that will help replicate the benefits of these pilot projects across the UK economy. This policy should be supported by all key government departments and should include fiscal incentives, product standards on resource efficiency that are as good as or better than what is in place in the EU and working with businesses to remove the financial and technical barriers that stand in the way of innovation."


New business trials show need for ambitious Circular Economy Package

23rd January 2017

A new report from the Aldersgate Group out today, Amplifying action on resource efficiency, brings forward new business trials showing that greater resource efficiency could deliver significant economic benefits to EU businesses. By encouraging resource efficient design and tackling key barriers such as access to finance, the Circular Economy Package could significantly improve the resilience and competitiveness of the EU economy.

The new research published by the Aldersgate Group on behalf of the REBus project is based on the successful delivery of 26 business pilots that have delivered €5.62m in financial savings and reduced materials consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 62,619 tonnes and 1,953 tonnes, respectively. The work has been conducted across the UK and the Netherlands in a range of key market sectors (including electrical and electronic products, textiles, construction and ICT) that are worth an estimated €350bn to the EU economy.

Based on the results from the pilot projects, the research also finds that adopting resource efficient business models across these key sectors of the EU economy could deliver:

  • Significant financial benefits: An increase of up to €324bn in gross value added (GVA) to the EU economy by 2030;
  • Reduced materials dependence: A reduction in material demand of up to 184 million tonnes and an additional 172 million tonnes of material diverted by 2030;
  • Decreases in greenhouse gas emissions: A reduction of up to 154 million tonnes CO2eq by 2030.

The report features learnings from these business pilots as well as several case studies from Aldersgate Group corporate members, including IKEA UK and Sky. The pilots taking part range from small SMEs such as iPower (whose installation of small scale fuel cells in social housing is estimated to save consumers up to 36% on their energy bills, whilst mitigating 3-4 tonnes of CO2 annually) to the Dutch Ministry of Defence (whose textile recovery programme for its military personnel has delivered additional revenue of approximately €750,000 and a savings of over 14,500 tonnes of CO2 annually).

The report also sets out a range of policy recommendations for the EU Circular Economy Package based on the learnings from these business pilots:

  1. The Ecodesign Working Plan must embrace resource efficiency standards and apply them across an increasingly broader range of products to ensure consumers are purchasing goods that last as long as they should and waste isn’t unnecessarily created.
  2. A viable innovation framework that improves businesses’ access to funding and technical expertise must be supported. This is especially true for SMEs.
  3. The Commission should encourage and support Member States to introduce fiscal incentives, such as variable VAT rates, so that circular products and services are promoted over their counterparts. The EU’s Action Plan on VAT provides a clear opportunity to address this.

Other recommendations in the report include EU public institutions leading by example through public procurement practices that favour resource saving goods and services, finalising the changes to the definition of ‘waste’ to incentivise the re-use of materials and improving the availability of data on how businesses are becoming more resource efficient.

Steve Wallace, Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “The businesses involved in Rebus have demonstrated that resource efficiency can lead to commercial success. Theirs is an example  that others can follow. The pilots demonstrate that resource efficiency makes business sense and that there’s a double-win given the environmental benefits that coincide with the financial gains. The report that we are launching today sets out the critical actions required to encourage and support more businesses to follow this path, leading to a more resource efficient and therefore more prosperous European economy.”

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “The Circular Economy Package is a great opportunity to scale up the benefits of these pilot projects across the EU. By requiring more resource efficient product design, working with businesses to remove the financial and technical barriers that stand in the way of innovation and encouraging the use of fiscal incentives, the Circular Economy Package could significantly improve the resource efficiency, competitiveness and resilience of the EU economy.”

European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "The Circular Economy is an important element to modernise the European economy. If we want to transform the market economy in a more sustainable direction, we must show there is a business case behind the circular way of thinking. To make it happen the Commission's and co-legislators' task is to set the appropriate framework. However, it is eventually companies that bring a more circular and sustainable economy into reality. The REBus project presents valuable evidence that being circular is profitable. At the same time it provides ideas on how to change the regulatory environment to help business get engaged in this transition."


Aldersgate Group welcomes Industrial Strategy Green Paper

23rd January 2017

Reacting to the publication of the Building our Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said:
 
"The government’s focus on ensuring the UK secures the economic benefits of an affordable and timely transition to a low carbon economy is welcome. The opportunities arising from the low carbon economy extend beyond energy innovation into a wide range of highly productive sectors. This part of the economy was already employing 447,500 people in 2014, with a turnover in excess of £83bn. The global transition to a more decarbonised economy led by countries as diverse as China, India, Brazil and South Africa offers significant economic opportunities in areas where the UK has a competitive advantage, such as in ultra-low emission vehicles, offshore wind, the built environment and ICT.

The government’s forthcoming emissions reduction plan will be key in attracting affordable private investment into energy efficient and low carbon projects in the UK. Through greater co-ordination with Local Enterprise Partnerships, a clear low carbon skills policy and consideration on the future role of the UK’s energy intensive industries in the low carbon economy, the industrial strategy could help maximise growth and employment opportunities in the UK’s low carbon supply chains."

Nick Molho added: "The industrial strategy must also embrace resource efficiency. As seen in two reports launched this morning, the shift to a more circular economy will help deliver financial benefits and carbon emission savings in addition to reducing the UK’s resource dependency."

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GIB continues important role with completion of its offshore wind fund

13th January 2017

Reacting to the Green Investment Bank’s completion of its offshore wind fund, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said:
 
“The completion of the Green Investment Bank’s offshore wind fund shows that the GIB has played an important role in increasing private sector investment in offshore wind and critically, attracting new kinds of investors to the sector such as local authority pension funds. If privatisation of the GIB goes ahead, the government will have to ensure that it has a clear strategy in place to attract private sector investment in the novel green infrastructure projects that the UK needs to decarbonise its economy.”

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We're recruiting! Communications Officer

9th January 2017

The Aldersgate Group is recruiting a Communications Officer to join its Secretariat. The Communications Officer will manage all communications, meetings, events and finances and provide administrative support to the Secretariat, Board and membership.

The closing date for the receipt of applications is 5.00pm GMT on Wednesday 1st February 2017. Applicants should send their CV (max two sides) and covering letter (max one side) to Victoria Fleming-Williams.

See the full job specification for more details.


Briefing: Decarbonising heat in buildings

8th December 2016

Heating in buildings accounts for 40% of UK energy use and 20% of greenhouse gas emissions. However, very limited progress has been made in decarbonising our heating systems to date. The UK needs a clear action plan on tackling heat in order to meet our carbon budgets. The Aldersgate Group has produced this briefing to explore some of the available solutions and policy options.
 
Our briefing argues that a clear action plan, including a strategy for trialling different low carbon heat technologies, is needed in order to inspire confidence in the private sector to invest in low carbon heat solutions at an affordable cost. There are a number of low-regret solutions that should be seized, and the forthcoming emissions reduction plan must set the wheels in motion.


Budget 2017 must underpin the UK’s low carbon ambitions

23rd November 2016

Reacting to the Autumn Statement today, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “It is positive to see greater focus from government on linking up local authorities with businesses with further funding provided to LEPs. The new industrial strategy must allow the government to play a greater co-ordination role to link up businesses with the growing low carbon opportunities taking place across Britain and grow the UK’s low carbon supply chain.”

Nick Molho added: “To deliver genuine progress on the ground, Budget 2017 will need to provide much more detail as to how the government intends to deliver on the environmental and low carbon ambitions to be set out in its upcoming emissions reduction plan and 25 year plan for the environment.”

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UK ratification of Paris Agreement reinforces global climate momentum

17th November 2016

The Aldersgate Group welcomes the government's ratification of the Paris Agreement, lending the UK's weight to the unprecedented global momentum for climate action.

Nick Molho, executive director of the Aldersgate Group said: “The UK government has sent a strong signal of its commitment to international co-operation by ratifying the Paris Agreement today. The UK must now use its upcoming emissions reduction plan and industrial strategy to accelerate affordable private investment in clean and efficient technologies, grow supply chains across the UK and build a globally competitive low carbon economy.” 

He added: “The UK’s ratification sits alongside many positive moves in the past week, not least 360 major US businesses yesterday[1] calling for world leaders to accelerate action on climate change and Germany’s ambitious 2050 decarbonisation plan[2]. It confirms the global political and business support for the transition to a low carbon economy remains unswayed."

 

[1] US business joint statement calling on the USA and world leaders to accerlate action on climate change, 16 November: http://www.lowcarbonusa.org/

[2] German ministers reached an agreement last week to cut the country’s carbon emissions by up to 95% by 2050: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/germany-cut-carbon-emissions-95-per-cent-climate-deal-paris-agreement-global-warming-a7413911.html

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Briefing: the Emissions Reduction Plan and low carbon investment

16th November 2016

The fifth carbon budget was passed by Government on July 20, 2016. The UK now awaits a emissions reduction plan (ERP) with the policy detail to deliver the fourth and fifth budgets. The Aldersgate Group has produced this briefing 'The Emissions Reduction Plan and low carbon investment' to help draw out the priorities for the plan, in order to maximise emissions reductions for the UK in a cost effective way. 

Our briefing argues that a detailed ERP will help attract low carbon investment in the UK's infrastructure and must be supported across government departments. It should work in tandem with other government initiatives such as the industrial strategy and be supported by a green finance strategy. The briefing provides tangible policy recommendations in priority areas such as power, building efficiency, transport, and heat.


25 Year Environment Plan key to improve UK’s natural assets and resilience to flooding

2nd November 2016

The Aldersgate Group welcomed the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee's proposals today for a much wider use of measures such as tree planting and improved soil management to help address flood risk[1]. The Group highlighted the importance of developing a 25 Year Environment Plan to improve the state of the UK’s natural environment and the resilience of its infrastructure.

As highlighted in the Aldersgate Group’s recent report Setting the pace: Northern England’s low carbon economy, examples such as the Slowing the Flow project in Pickering, North Yorkshire and the Alkborough Flats project in Lincolnshire show the potential of natural capital solutions for flood management[2].

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “Whilst it is understandable that the timetable for the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan has been impacted by the vote to leave the European Union, we would press Defra to publish a framework for the plan as soon as possible. Investing in natural assets can help protect businesses and communities from flooding and increase the resilience of the UK’s infrastructure to the future impacts of climate change.”

Nick Molho added: “As the EFRA Committee has highlighted, post-Brexit we have an opportunity to reconfigure the agricultural subsidy system to one more focused on the provision of positive environmental outcomes. Channelling greater funds towards sustainable land use practices will help support the farming community in delivering environmental enhancements such as improved water catchment management and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”


[1] Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (November 2016) Future Flood Prevention

[2] The Slowing the Flow initiative has used a range of land management techniques, including reseeding heather and planting new woodlands to reduce the chance of flooding in the town from 25% to 4% or less in any given year - see: bit.ly/slowtf. The Alkborough Flats project involved the flooding of 440 hectares of intensively farmed agricultural land on the south bank of the Humber Estuary to act as a storage site for floodwater and reduce costal erosion. The project is estimated to deliver total flood risk management benefits of £12.26m over 100 years, in addition to an annual £165,000 of enhanced recreation and tourism, and almost £750,000 per year from wildlife habitat benefits - see: bit.ly/Alkmr and UK National Ecosystem Assessment (2011).

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Briefing: Industrial Strategy should have a strong low carbon element

19th October 2016

Ahead of the House of Commons debate on industrial strategy tomorrow, the Aldersgate Group has prepared a briefing on why the industrial strategy should have a strong low carbon element. 
 
Our briefing argues that the industrial strategy must build on the UK's existing areas of competitive strength, such as ultra-low emission vehicles, smart ICT solutions, energy efficiency, offshore wind and project financing of clean energy projects. It must also complement the government's forthcoming emissions reduction plan, include a skills strategy and reflect the shift to a more resource efficient or "circular economy".
 
The UK and world economy have embarked on a low carbon transition. The UK's competitiveness will be increasingly tied to the development of a strong low carbon goods and services sector to ensure we can take advantage of the opportunities in the international low carbon market, which is estimated to be worth $5.5tn. Taking a low carbon focus can help future-proof the economy and maximise potential for UK plc. 


New global context requires an ambitious UK low carbon policy

13th October 2016

Reacting to the publication of three reports from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) today, the Aldersgate Group stated that putting in place an ambitious low carbon policy framework is not only needed to meet the UK’s carbon reduction targets but also to strengthen the future competitiveness of its economy.

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “With the unprecedented speed by which the Paris Agreement will be coming into force on 4 November and a record $285bn invested in renewable energy globally in 2015[1], it is clear that tackling climate change and growing the low carbon economy has leapt up the international agenda. Much of the growth in low carbon investments is coming from countries outside the EU, with China, India, Brazil, South Africa and the US among the top ten global investors. At a time when Theresa May is focused on forging “a bold, new, confident role” for the UK on the world stage, government should take note of this global shift and prioritise the continued growth of its successful low carbon economy[2].”

Nick Molho added: “With the help of business and civil society, the government should now develop a detailed emissions reduction plan that will attract affordable private sector investment in energy efficiency and low carbon infrastructure to meet the UK’s carbon budgets at least cost and in line with the recommendations of the CCC in its latest reports. In doing so, government should put forward a clear plan to demonstrate the technical and commercial viability of new technologies in complex areas such as decarbonising heat. The upcoming industrial strategy is also an ideal opportunity to complement the emissions reduction plan and consider how targeted government initiatives can maximise growth and employment opportunities in the UK’s low carbon supply chain.” 


[1] Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investments 2016: http://bit.ly/1RAJA8w

[2] Recent ONS figures have highlighted that 96,500 businesses in the UK operated in the low carbon and renewable energy economy in 2014, generating £46.2bn of turnover and employing 238,500 people directly. ONS’ statistics are available at: http://bit.ly/1XyY6ol

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Swift ratification of global climate deal paves way for low carbon UK

5th October 2016

Today the number of countries that have ratified the Paris Agreement has passed the 55% threshold of total global greenhouse gas emissions prompting the Paris Agreement to come into force in 30 days.

Reacting to the news, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “The unprecedented speed by which the Paris Agreement will have entered into force is a significant achievement for international climate diplomacy. It confirms global political support for the transition to a low carbon economy, something which the world economy has already embarked on with a record $285bn invested in renewable energy last year. As the international low carbon economy continues to grow, the most competitive countries will be those that lead the development and export of energy efficient and low carbon goods and services.  
 
Nick Molho added: “Global leaders must now use the COP22 summit in Morocco to start thrashing out the details of some of the major commitments made in Paris last year. In the UK, the government should respond to the economic opportunity provided by the entry into force of the Paris Agreement by developing an emissions reduction plan that will increase affordable private investment in energy efficiency and low carbon infrastructure as well as use the industrial strategy to maximise growth and employment opportunities in the low carbon supply chain.

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Business welcomes Theresa May’s leadership on the climate agenda

20th September 2016

Reacting to Theresa May’s announcement at the United Nations General Assembly in New York that the UK would initiate domestic proceedings to ratify the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change, the Aldersgate Group welcomed the UK’s move to join the unprecedented momentum to formally ratify the agreement.

Nick Molho, executive director of the Aldersgate Group of businesses said: “Theresa May has shown welcome leadership on the world stage today by announcing the UK’s upcoming ratification of the Paris Agreement. Together with the government’s recent approval of the fifth carbon budget, this decision will help the UK maintain an influential role alongside other countries such as China and the United States in international efforts to tackle climate change and help the UK secure an important share of the growing global low carbon economy, which was recently valued at $5.5tn”[1]

He added: “To deliver on the Paris Agreement and the UK’s own climate targets, the government’s focus should now be to put together a national policy framework that will increase affordable private sector investment in low carbon technologies, accelerate their reduction in cost and grow the UK’s low carbon supply chain, which already employs over 238,000 people directly[2]. A detailed emissions reduction plan and an industrial strategy that supports low carbon investment will be critical in delivering these objectives.”


[1] According to a 2015 report by the Global Commission on the Economy and the Climate, the global market for low carbon goods and services was valued at $5.5tn in 2011-2012. 

[2] In 2014, 96,500 businesses in the UK operated in the low carbon and renewable energy (LCRE) economy, equivalent to 4.4% of all non-financial businesses. This activity generated £46.2bn turnover and employed 238,500 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers. These figures from the ONS are the final estimates of the direct low carbon and renewable energy economy in 2014. Estimates of indirect LCRE activity will be published later this year.

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Low carbon economy key to Northern England

12th September 2016

A new report from the Aldersgate Group out today, Setting the pace: Northern England’s low carbon economy, shows how low carbon projects in the North of England are contributing to increased economic activity in the region. Supporting the continued growth of the North’s low carbon economy should be a priority for national and regional government.

The report explores how low carbon investment is already creating jobs and developing supply chains, generating clean energy, protecting infrastructure and supporting skills development and innovation in the region. It also shows that the low carbon economy could deliver greater levels of growth to the region in the future. The report features a range of low carbon projects across the North, including a cluster of low carbon investment in Hull from Siemens, Associated British Ports and DONG Energy, shared emission reduction infrastructure creating a low emission industrial zone in the Tees Valley, and peatland restoration by Yorkshire Water in the Pennines.

Regeneration in the North has focused upon improved transport links through the Northern Powerhouse agenda, City and Growth deals and devolution deals. However, the Aldersgate Group argues that supporting the continued growth of the green economy also has a key role to play.

The report points to the 136,000 jobs in the North which have already been created by the low carbon sector.[1] It argues that, while businesses are already investing in low carbon projects, the extent to which the low carbon economy bolsters growth in the North could become even more meaningful in the coming years with reinforced support at both the national and regional levels.

Joan Walley, Chair of the Aldersgate Group, said: “We’ve seen from the great case studies in this report that the low carbon economy is supporting economic growth in the North of England as well as helping deliver the UK’s climate change targets. Both national government and devolved local authorities should build on these successes and continue to champion investment into low carbon infrastructure in the North so that it can continue setting the pace.”

Brent Cheshire, UK Country Chairman at DONG Energy said: “We are beginning to see the benefits of sustained investment in renewable energy in the North of England. It is not only helping to regenerate communities which have lost their traditional industries, but building a robust supply chain and attracting international manufacturers to locate plants in the UK.”

Matthew Knight, Director of Strategy and Government Affairs at Siemens said: ““The world must decarbonise, the question is not ‘if’ but ‘when’.  The most jobs will go to those countries who get their act together first.  A clear low carbon industrial strategy now will help Britain grow its manufacturing base and become a major exporter of low carbon technologies such as offshore wind.”

In this report, the Aldersgate Group sets out some key recommendations for government to support the green engine of the Northern Powerhouse:

  1. A clear and stable national low carbon policy landscape to deliver the UK’s climate targets on time and budget, with a sufficiently detailed emission reduction plan that can drive greater private sector investment in low carbon technologies such as offshore wind and low emission vehicles.
  2. A new Carbon Capture and Storage strategy, to support roll out at a commercial scale, building on the learnings already acquired from the previous commercialisation programme.
  3. Improvements to the condition of natural resources, ensuring that local and national government better account for the importance of the natural environment in supporting economic activity and protecting businesses and communities from risks to infrastructure such as flooding and supporting the tourist industry. This should be accompanied by forward looking planning rules to ensure that any new infrastructure development is fit for purpose for the long term and resilient to the impacts of climate change.
  4. Regional champions of the low carbon economy, with devolved authorities routinely considering low carbon economy opportunities in local decision making and ensuring, where appropriate, opportunities for local community participation in such decision making
  5. Strengthened regional collaboration, in areas such as transport and digital infrastructure.
  6. More focus on the development of co-ordinated low carbon skills strategies, through greater collaboration between local government, the private sector, higher education and local educational bodies.
 

[1] The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (2015) The size and performance of the UK low carbon economy


Business group urges new PM to support UK stability and growth through ambitious environmental policy

13th July 2016

The Aldersgate Group welcomes the incoming Prime Minister, Rt Hon Theresa May MP and looks forward to working with her and her new ministers. Mrs May’s rapid appointment is welcome for businesses that have faced a high degree of uncertainty following the political turmoil in recent weeks.

The Aldersgate Group urges Mrs May to safeguard the UK’s growing low carbon economy, which generated a turnover in excess of £46bn in 2014[1] and which has become a key driver of jobs, skills and investment in parts of the country that need it the most[2]. A key priority for Mrs May’s government should the development of a detailed Emissions Reduction Plan by the end of 2016. This will be key to drive business investment in the UK’s low carbon infrastructure to meet the UK’s climate targets and will put British-based businesses in a strong position to tap into the rapidly growing global market for low carbon goods and services that was valued at around $5.5tn[3].

As highlighted in yesterday’s report from the Committee on Climate Change[4], Mrs May’s government should also put forward in the near future a 25 Year Plan for the Environment. This will be essential to improve the state of the natural environment on which our economy and society depends and ensure the UK’s infrastructure, businesses and citizens are better prepared to cope with the effects of climate change, such as increased flooding and heat waves.

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “Theresa May and her new government have a lot to do. Clearly, negotiations for the UK’s exit from the European Union will be a priority, but there are opportunities over the next few months to stabilise the UK’s policy landscape and ensure that businesses investing in our low carbon and environmental sectors can continue to do so. We urge Mrs May to provide continuity and leadership for the UK’s low carbon economy.”

Nick Molho added: “For forty years, European environmental legislation has provided a “backstop” for businesses considering investment in the UK, providing policy continuity beyond the domestic five-year parliamentary cycle. The new government’s priority must be to restore that confidence as swiftly as possible through ambitious and stable environmental policy.”

 

[1] Recent ONS figures have highlighted that 96,500 businesses in the UK operated in the low carbon and renewable energy economy in 2014, generating £46.2bn of turnover and employing 238,500 people directly. ONS’ statistics are available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/environmentalaccounts/bulletins/finalestimates/2014

[2] The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (2015) The size and performance of the UK low carbon economy

[3] The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate (2015), New Climate Economy Report: http://2015.newclimateeconomy.report

[4] Committee on Climate Change (2016), UK Climate Change Risk Assessment Evidence Report: https://www.theccc.org.uk/2016/07/12/new-report-provides-authoritative-scientific-assessment-of-climate-change-risks-to-uk/

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UK must better protect its infrastructure and natural environment in the face of climate change

12th July 2016

Reacting to the publication today of the Committee on Climate Change’s Risk Assessment Report, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “Today’s report from the CCC shows that climate change will increasingly have disruptive impacts on the UK’s infrastructure, businesses and the state of its natural environment. In addition to developing a clear plan to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases to meet its climate targets, the government must strengthen its existing National Adaptation Programme to improve the state of its natural environment, ensure that its infrastructure is as resilient to extreme weather events as possible and build greater awareness in businesses and local authorities of the likely impacts of climate change in the years to come”.

Nick Molho added: “Improving the state of the UK’s natural environment can help the UK be better prepared to cope with the impacts of climate change, by for example protecting infrastructure and communities from risks such as flooding through the restoration of coastal wetlands [1], to supporting future food production in a changing climate by improving the fertility of agricultural soils [2]. This should be a priority for the government’s upcoming 25 year Environment Plan”.

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Acceptance of fifth carbon budget key to support low carbon investment

30th June 2016

Coming a few days after the UK’s referendum on membership of the European Union increased investment uncertainty, the Aldersgate Group said that the government’s acceptance of the fifth carbon budget at the level recommended by the Committee on Climate Change is an important indication of the UK’s desire to continue growing its low carbon economy.

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “The adoption of the fifth carbon budget is an important step forward. It shows that the UK wants to stay on track in meeting its long-term climate change targets in a way that’s cost effective and also signals an intent to increase investment in low carbon technologies. At a time when global investments in clean technologies are rapidly growing in countries such as China, India, the United States and South Africa, it’s important that the UK keeps growing its low carbon economy to remain competitive on the global stage. As we are seeing with the offshore wind manufacturing investments being made in Hull, growing the UK’s low carbon economy can bring investment and skilled employment opportunities to those parts of the country that need it the most.”

Nick Molho added: “Business now looks towards the government’s Emissions Reduction Plan later this year to set out the specific policy drivers that will help stimulate investment in low carbon generation, energy efficiency projects, low carbon heat and low emission transport during this Parliament. This is an opportunity for the government to set out a strategy that businesses will respond to with affordable investment and innovation in low carbon technologies.”

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Continued action on climate change is in UK’s national interest

29th June 2016

Reacting to Secretary of State’s Amber Rudd speech this morning, the Aldersgate Group stressed that continuing to tackle climate change and build a strong low carbon economy is in the UK’s environmental and economic interest. 

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “Coming a few days after the outcome of the EU referendum, it is positive to hear Amber Rudd highlight the importance of continuing to tackle climate change. As shown by the 195 countries that adopted the Paris Agreement in December, climate change is an issue that is of major concern to leaders around the world. The world economy is also seeing an important shift towards low carbon technologies, with a record $285bn invested in renewable energy in 2015 [1] and countries such as China reducing their production of coal.

It is in the UK’s environmental and economic interest to stay in touch with these global trends, remain actively involved in international climate change diplomacy and support the growth of a strong national low carbon economy that already employs over 238,500 people directly. [2]”

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