Autumn Statement – a detour on the road to net zero?

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The road to net-zero was never going to be straight, but the Chancellor’s Autumn statement yesterday may well have imposed a speed restriction or at worse a detour.

Environmental campaigners accused him of failing to upgrade Britain’s housing stock fast enough and deterring investment in green energy.

£6 billion has been allocated to making British homes more efficient – namely by insulating them – but that leaves the transition to green energy solutions still out of reach for millions of people struggling with sky-high energy bills. The government’s Energy Efficiency Taskforce (EETF), which is billed as a new long-term commitment to drive improvements in energy efficiency to bring down bills for households, businesses and the public sector, doesn’t kick in till 2025.

While its ambition to reduce the UK’s final energy consumption from buildings and industry by 15% by 2030 is laudable, it’s a long time to wait for much needed action. It’s also unsettling to see that electric cars will no longer be exempt from vehicle excise duty from April 2025. We’re told the move is designed to make the motoring tax system ‘fairer’, but what it does for the uptake of EVs and the demise of petrol and diesel cars by 2030 – is less clear.

On a positive note, a trawl through the government website this morning shows that energy efficiency schemes and incentives are still in place, although many are means-tested. As an industry, the task towards greater decarbonisation has perhaps got a bit more difficult, but it’s certainly not going away. If anything the need has become more acute.

Rocketing energy bills – however capped – are unsustainable in the long-term. Green energy solutions are needed – and we have those. But incentives are also required.

Installer, elemental and InstallerSHOW will continue to champion decarbonisation and work constructively with those who seek a sustainable future.