One year on, how has the government performed against its ten point plan?
Today marks the first birthday of the prime minister’s Ten point plan for a green industrial revolution. The plan, published during the second wave of the pandemic and in lieu of the delayed Glasgow climate summit, aimed to mobilise billions in private investment and create green jobs across the UK in home insulation, hydrogen, the natural environment and more.
Six months ago, we mapped out the 2020-21 target milestones and what the government had done to meet them. At that point, the government’s progress against its own targets was patchy and uneven across economic sectors, with several key departmental strategies either delayed or unpublished.
Now, six months later and a whole year since the plan was first published, we take a look at where the government has got to.
The government has made significant progress
By its very own metrics, government progress over the past six months on the ten point plan has improved remarkably. In fact, it has now achieved all of its 2020-21 targets and has even started making progress on some of its longer term targets.
One area of long term progress is the natural environment. Since the publication of the plan, the government has achieved all three of its 2020-21 nature milestones, including allocating £80 million to nature projects through the Green Recovery Challenge Fund; beginning the process of designating new National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty; and investing £5.2 billion into flood and coastal defences, announced in the spring budget earlier this year.
Furthermore, the government has made a headstart on its 2022-24 target to initiate ten long term Landscape Recovery projects, having held several market engagement events and signalling, in the recent Net zero strategy, that applications for the first wave of the pilot will open before the new year.
There’s been similar success with zero emission vehicles, as the government has achieved two target milestones in publishing its transport decarbonisation plan and a Green Paper on post EU emissions regulations and van phase out dates. Where there was a plan to launch a consultation on the phase out of new diesel heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), the government has gone one better by committing, in the second week of the climate summit, to phase out the sale of new, non-zero emission HGVs by 2040.
Whilst the government has been good at ticking off its milestones, is it clear that progress in some areas has been stymied and fallen shy of the scale of action needed. In Greener Buildings, for example, the Heat and Building Strategy was delayed three times before publication and even then, lacked the funding needed to turbo-charge energy-efficiency improvements and low-carbon installations in households across the country.
Similarly, whilst technically achieving the 2021 milestone of delivering the first of 4,000 new zero-emission buses through £120 million investment in March, which is forecast to deploy up to 500 buses, the government is unlikely to hit its target by 2025 without undertaking rapid, further action – as pointed out by Campaign for Better Transport.
It’s time to renew the plan
A year on, the ten point plan sits slightly awkwardly in the shadow of the all encompassing Net zero strategy, published last month, which plots how exactly the UK will meet its carbon targets.
In his speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet, the prime minister hinted that the government will soon publish ‘ten separate roadmaps showing exactly how we will deliver our green commitments’, presumably a thinly veiled reference to the ten point plan.
Having achieved all of its 2020-2021 target milestones, and even overachieved in some areas, publishing a ten point plan 2.0 alongside these roadmaps would be welcome to raise economic ambitions further. This could resolve some of the blind spots in the initial plan, such as resource use and energy efficiency, as well as plug the huge agriculture and land use hole in the Net zero strategy.
Far from being an endpoint, the Glasgow climate summit has signalled the beginning of a decisive decade of climate action. Publishing a ten point plan mark 2.0 would re-energise the UK government’s ambitions to lead the world in low carbon technologies, drive forward the domestic green jobs agenda and, in the coming year, bolster the our international credibility as COP president.
Green Alliance has analysed in brief the government progress so far on meeting its ten point plan, one year on since its publication.