It’s hard to imagine projecting as far forward as 2050 - it seems such a long time away – but putting it into perspective, giving ourselves a 30-year window for the UK to become carbon neutral is a blink of an eye in evolutionary terms.
The picture painted of a carbon neutral UK includes “a quarter of our land covered in trees, healthier lifestyles and holidays by high-speed rail” according to the BBC. It sounds idyllic but there are lots of changes required to achieve any level of success.
With every challenge there is opportunity. In this instance they include employment, positivity, new businesses, new markets and technology and plenty of investment to support it. And let’s not forget the many advantages of living in a cleaner, healthier environment. A report in Climate Change News cited that the government is planning on spending £12billion to galvanise the plans into actions.
There are many aspects to achieving carbon neutrality. Most of our carbon generation involves human activities such as the electricity involved in heating, the transportation of people and goods and many industrial processes. Renewable energy and electric-powered transport will offset this to a large degree as well as reducing the impact on the environment.
In tackling the issue of cars, the government has revised its earlier green targets and shaved 10 years off the plan to ban the sales of petrol/diesel vehicles by 2030. This is going to pose a huge challenge – in 2019 just 1.6% of all registered new cars were electric (source: BBC 17 November 2020). To support its ambitious plan, the government announced some measures for the motor industry alone:
£1.3bn to accelerate the rollout of charge points for electric vehicles in homes, streets and on motorways across England
£582m in grants for those buying zero or ultra-low emission vehicles to make them cheaper to buy and incentivise more people to make the transition
Nearly £500m to be spent in the next four years for the development and mass-scale production of electric vehicle batteries
What this will mean at a national level is a big challenge. But what does it mean for local businesses and tax payers? There will undoubtedly be some interesting incentives to persuade us to ditch our fuel guzzling cars. But there will also be chances for businesses to get involved in all manner of revolutionary developments as we face this new priority for the UK.
On a smaller scale we can all work towards a paperless office, buying local, taking direct, shorter routes when traveling and allowing employees to work from home at least some of the time. We can even have an influence through our eating choices as well.
We will work hard to make sure we bring you news of how you can help and also how you can benefit – incentives, initiatives and inspiration will all come your way through our articles as we follow and translate any government information as it comes through.
A useful place to start is the government’s ‘Environmental taxes, relief and schemes for businesses’. It states “You can pay less tax by applying for schemes to help you demonstrate that you’re operating more efficiently and producing waste that’s less damaging.”