Public Affairs environment news:
Spending Review special

Greenhouse Public Affairs provides a weekly public affairs environment news round-up across sectors including agriculture, finance and the environment. This week is a special edition covering the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Spending Review. Sign up to our public affairs weekly round-up here.

Spending Review

The Chancellor has unveiled his Spending Review, outlining the government’s spending priorities for the next year. We have highlighted below some spending commitments in the key areas of environment and energy. You can read the full review here.

Environment

  • A doubling of the government’s flood and coastal defence investment to £5.2bn over six-years, commencing next year, which will better protect 336,000 properties across England by 2027.
  • £92m for the Nature for Climate Fund – to increase tree planting and peatland restoration in England in line with Climate Change Committee recommendations for nature-based climate solutions. 
  • A doubling of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund with a further £40m to fund a second round of natural capital projects next year.
  • £7m to improve public access to green space by taking forward the Coast to Coast National Trail and England Coast Path and more than £75m in funding for National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
  • Providing £1.1bn to support farmers, land managers and the rural economy, and £20m to support fisheries in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Energy

  • £280 million in 2021-22 for net zero R&D, including an £81 million multi-year commitment for pioneering hydrogen heating trials.
  • Investing in new green industries to support green growth clusters, including supporting coastal and post-industrial communities with investment in offshore wind capacity, port infrastructure, a global underwater engineering hub, CCS and low-carbon hydrogen.
  • £1bn for a Carbon Capture and Storage Infrastructure Fund and will help establish four CCS clusters by 2030, capturing up to 10 megatonnes of carbon dioxide a year by 2030.
  • UK aims to develop 5 gigawatts (GW) of low-carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030, supporting up to 8,000 jobs. Support will come from a range of measures, including a £240m Net Zero Hydrogen Fund and £81m for pioneering hydrogen heating trials.
  • Confirmation of over £1bn to make further progress towards delivering the government’s commitment to invest in the energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation of schools, hospitals and homes.
  • £160m to upgrade portside manufacturing capabilities to help build the next generation of offshore wind farms.
  • £240m to support industry to produce low-carbon hydrogen at scale and over £80 million to test its use in heating buildings.

Responses

Anneliese Dodds MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, said: “We’ve known since the Stern report that the climate crisis is the biggest long-term threat to our economy. Yet far too often, this Spending Review locks us into a path that will make net-zero harder, not easier – and locking our economy out of the green jobs of the future.”

Caroline Lucas MP, Green Party, said: “The Chancellor speaks of the fiscal emergency, but not a word today about the climate and nature emergencies. And there’s a real risk that any green steps will be fatally undermined by the reckless pursuit of business-as-usual environmentally destructive spending, like the £27 billion roadbuilding programme.”

Mike Childs, Head of Science, Policy and Research at Friends of the Earth, said: “Mr Sunak has completely undermined the Prime Minister. With billions of pounds earmarked for a climate-wrecking road-building programme and inadequate funding for home insulation, eco-heating, buses and cycling this strategy falls woefully short. We need to head off the climate emergency. Ministers must ensure every major development is in line with meeting the net zero target.”

Ben Reynolds, deputy CEO of Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming, said: “The Spending Review did little to spell out support for food and farming. As the country’s largest sector employing 1 in 7, and contributing between a third and a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions, this was an opportunity to put investment in good food and farming as part of measures to build a green economic recovery.”

Tom Fyans, Deputy CEO of CPRE, the Countryside Charity, said: “Coronavirus has led to seismic changes in how and where we live and work and that’s why it is critical that the government begins to level up against rural disadvantage. Rural communities have not received a fair share of public money for too long and aren’t able to fulfil their potential in contributing to the wider economy.”

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

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