Environmental politics
News of the week: 27th March 2020

Each week, Greenhouse Public Affairs will provide a policy and political insights report across sectors including energy, transport and the environment. You can sign up to our weekly round-up here.

Transport

The Department for Transport has published a policy paper detailing the current challenges and steps to be taken when developing the transport decarbonisation plan. The paper outlines how the department intends to work with others to develop the plan and ensure we reach net zero transport emissions by 2050. It also reviews existing climate policy in transport, and existing forecasts of future transport emissions from each mode of transport. It also covers numerous areas of transport including road, rail, aviation, active travel, freight, and maritime. The most relevant sectors are summarised below. The plan itself is due to be published in full later this year. The policy paper can be read in full here.

Road Transport

  • The Government is investing around £2.5 billion with grants available for plug in cars, taxis and motorcycles, as well as funding to support charge point infrastructure at homes, workplaces, on residential streets and across the wider roads network.
  • Government funding and leadership, alongside private sector investment, has supported the installation of more than 18,000 charging devices providing over 25,000 public chargepoints.
  • The Government launched the £400 million Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund to catalyse private investment in public chargepoints, the first £70 million tranche of which will create 3,000 new rapid chargepoints across the UK by 2024.

Freight Transport

  • In 2018, the Government agreed a voluntary, industry-supported commitment to reduce HGV GHG emissions by 15% by 2025, from 2015 levels. The paper provides more and better information to road freight operators on the steps that they can take to reduce emissions from their fleets is key to achieving reductions.
  • In the coming months, the Government will work with the Energy Saving Trust and LowCVP to develop, improve and promote their existing Freight Portal.
  • The regulation for HDV vehicle manufacturers making new vehicles requires reductions of 15% for 2025 and 30% for 2030 against a 2019 baseline and includes incentives for sales of zero and low emission HDVs.

Environment and COP26

Caroline Lucas MP has brought forward a 10 Minute Rule Bill on the Wellbeing of Future Generations. The bill was read for the first time and is scheduled to be debated on 11th September. It follows other countries similar approaches to protecting tomorrow’s world, and specifically the seminal bill passed in Wales. The legislation, if passed, would mandate governments and public institutions to safeguard the environmental, social, economic and cultural wellbeing of future generations. Requirements of the legislation would include impact assessments and in scope cover spending and government contracts, whilst creating an independent Future Generations Commissioner. More detail of the bill can be read here.

Green Alliance has published a piece stating its initial observations on COVID-19 and the parliamentary process. It states that the government’s Coronavirus Bill highlights how quickly and efficiently new laws can be made where there is an urgent need. Technological developments, such as video conferencing, would enable parliament to incorporate more initiatives such as the citizens’ assembly on climate change. Questions remain over the status of Environment, Fisheries and Agriculture Bills in Parliament, and how stakeholders can engage with select committees when operating virtually and with constrained capacity. But it is clear that Parliament must play a role in making the COVID-19 response a green one. The full article can be viewed here.

Finance

The Parliamentary cross-party group ‘Divest Parliament’ has called on the pension fund trustees to end investments in fossil fuels. The latest Parliament pension fund Annual Review showed that 5% of investments were ringfenced for renewable infrastructure, and subsequently there will be a 30% allocation to a global sustainable multi factor equity with Schroders. Divest Parliament is seeking the complete end to the funds’ investments in fossil fuels, however it continues to invest significantly in Royal Dutch Shell and BP PLC – £12.5m in total. Support the initiative and ask your MP to sign the pledge by visiting the Divest Parliament site here.

London tops the global table in quality green finance, according to the latest release of the Global Green Finance Index. Western Europe continues to lead the world’s centres in green finance depth and quality, taking nine of the top ten places in depth and the top 12 places in quality. TheCityUK says it is very positive to see the UK continuing to lead the world on the quality of its green finance offer, but perhaps even more heartening is the pace at which all centres are expanding their offerings. More on the rankings can be found here.

If you would like to talk to us about political engagement and public affairs, email us at public.affairs@greenhousepr.co.uk

Greenhouse PR works with organisations and leaders who are pioneering climate action. Whether it’s food, fashion, finance or farming, if you’ve got a great story and need our help to tell it, get in touch with the Greenhouse team on 0117 214 1250 or email info@greenhousepr.co.uk.

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