Public Affairs
environment news: 2nd October

Greenhouse Public Affairs provides a weekly public affairs environment news round-up across sectors including energy, transport and the environment. Sign up to our public affairs weekly round-up here.

Climate & COP26

The government has launched the biggest green upgrade of the nation’s buildings in a generation. The Green Homes Grant, available this week, sees the government fund up to two-thirds of home improvement costs up to £5,000. The grant, covering home insulation, double glazing, and heat-pump retrofitting, will also support over 100,000 jobs in green construction for local plumbers, builders and tradespeople across the UK. Apply for the grant here.

Environment

The Prime Minister has committed to protect 30% of the UK’s land by 2030. Existing protected natural areas comprise 26% of land in England, and an additional 4% – over 400,000 hectares – will be protected to support the recovery of nature. The Leaders’ Pledge for Nature, signed by 60 world leaders, commits to ten urgent actions, including on sustainable food production, ending illegal wildlife trade and implementing nature-based solutions. Read more about the pledge here.

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee has launched an inquiry to explore how meeting tree-planting objectives can benefit the economy, biodiversity and human wellbeing. The inquiry will investigate whether the government will be able to meet its new goal of increasing tree planting to 30,000 hectares a year by 2025. Planting more trees is widely accepted as one of the most effective methods to offset greenhouse gas emissions. Read more about the inquiry here.

Transport

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced that the first-ever hydrogen-powered train ran on the UK mainline this week. Trials of the train, known as HydroFLEX, have been supported with a £750,000 grant from the Department for Transport (DfT), following 2 years of development. By 2023, the ground-breaking technology will be able to retrofit hydrogen to  in-service trains, further decarbonising the rail network. Read more about the trains here.

The DfT has published details about the Jet Zero Council’s plans to deliver carbon-free flight. The council, which will establish sub-committees to accelerate progress, will focus on reducing carbon dioxide emissions and delivering clean growth. It will operate in the context of the UK’s wider target for net-zero emissions by 2050. This week the Aviation Minister visited Cranfield, to witness the world’s first hydrogen-electric passenger plane flight. Read more about the group’s objectives here.

The DfT has published the outcome of its consultation on increasing the renewable transport fuel obligation buy-out price for fuel suppliers. In summer 2020, DfT consulted on increasing the level of the buy-out price in the renewable transport fuels obligation (RTFO) order to protect greenhouse gas savings. In response, the DfT will increase the RTFO buy-out price as proposed, coming into force by 1 January 2021. Read more about the consultation here.

Energy

The government has launched a consultation to help design a Green Heat Network fund. The consultation aims to find heat network projects that could potentially transition to low-carbon heat generation if support was available. It will consider financial, technological and consumer drivers for heat network decarbonisation, and examples of best practice in scheme design. You can submit evidence here.

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