In a new report published today (29 June), the independent environmental think-tank Green Alliance sets out a vision for the UK’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic that puts people, climate and nature at its heart.
The publication, ‘Blueprint for a Resilient Economy’, includes new analysis of the latest government data showing that the UK’s infrastructure pipeline is incompatible with the Government’s long-term climate targets.
That data from the National Infrastructure and Construction Procurement Pipeline for 2020/21, published in June this year, shows over £8 billion worth of planned procurements in high carbon transport. The UK government is estimated to have spent £9 billion supporting new high carbon transport infrastructure since 2017 - and it has confirmed it will spend another £27 billion over the next five years on 4,000 miles of new roads - but even with the current 2035 phase-out date for petrol and diesel cars, we can’t shift to electric vehicles fast enough to meet our carbon budgets: we can’t afford further road expansion.
Similarly, since 2017 the government is estimated to have invested nearly £9bn to support new housing projects, with an additional £1.5 billion worth of investment to support housing projects expected this year. The scrapping of the zero-carbon homes standard in 2015 means most of these new homes are not net-zero compatible by default, locking in future costs and carbon.
We estimate there is a gap of £14.1 billion in annual public investment to 2023 in the new low carbon transport, buildings, natural capital and industry infrastructure required in the UK. The biggest investment gap, of £8.7bn per year, is in low carbon transport. If the Government were to reallocate the average annual investment committed to new road building towards low carbon transport infrastructure, it could already close 60% of that gap.
An initial economic stimulus package is due to be announced imminently by the government. Green Alliance’s report highlights that all decisions made at this point must resist the short-sightedness of returning to business as usual and urgently prioritise the UK’s long term resilience to future crises.
Posted on: 30 June 2020