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The Liberal Democrats’ ambitious ten point plan for UK Net-Zero

November 27, 2020 9:20 PM

Ed Davey speaking at Lib Dem Rally - Stop Brexit March (Kevin Daws)A Green Economic Recovery for hope: tackling the climate
emergency with the jobs and technology people need

The Liberal Democrats' ambitious ten point plan for UK Net-Zero

As we look to beat the Covid health crisis, we should be doing far more to tackle the two crises
that will still face us - the jobs crisis and the climate emergency.

Liberal Democrats have a plan for a super-ambitious Green Economic Recovery - to provide the
jobs people need, and the technology our economy needs, in a bold bid to fast-track the UK to
net zero.

We are calling on the Government to announce before Christmas an action plan, backed by a
£150 billion public investment programme, to fire-up progress to UK Net-Zero, to help British
people and business to become global leaders in key future technologies. From new targets for
zero carbon flight to new industrial strategies for hydrogen and power cabling, our plan is a
proposal for a major restructuring of the UK's economic and financial model.

With the UK hosting global climate talks next year, and with the international opportunity
presented by the victory of President-Elect Joe Biden, now is the moment for the UK to show
true leadership. We must replace the last five years when the Conservatives wasted chance after
chance to aspire to lead the world, with a far more optimistic vision of new climate economics,
the wasted chance to create a bold and ambitious green industrial strategy, where people,
businesses and communities across the UK can have real hope again.

The Liberal Democrats' Green Recovery Plan


In Government, Liberal Democrat Ministers - led by the new Liberal Democrat Leader, Ed Davey
nearly quadrupled Britain's renewable power capacity, made the UK the world leader in offshore
wind power and set in place the decarbonisation of the UK's electricity system, that the
Conservatives have been forced to follow.

Liberal Democrats believe the UK should target at least 80% renewable electricity by 2030, and
adopt policies now to make 100% renewable power possible.

1. Major renewable power push in every UK nation and region

Major investment in both existing technologies like offshore and onshore wind, and solar, as well
as emerging renewable technologies like floating wind and tidal - all driven by reforms to
fast-track Crown Estate leasing rounds, legislation to require Ofgem to enable anticipatory
investment and new investment requirements for National Grid.

2. A Zero Carbon Electricity industrial strategy

To maximise the jobs, technology leadership and business opportunities in green power, a new
industrial strategy for the electricity industry will focus on tackling remaining challenges in
varying seasonal output from renewable generation, including interconnectors, storage, smart
grid technology, demand side response optionality and system flexibility.
major new investment in electricity cabling manufacture - to develop new expertise and
capacity in power cable production for offshore wind farms and interconnector cables to
enable the UK to trade hydro, wind, solar and geothermal power more effectively and
develop new interconnector projects linking the UK's grid to mainland Europe,
Scandinavia, Iceland and North Africa
major R&D push, backed by £500m taxpayer contribution, to promote innovation for
renewable power investments including the next generation of turbines and associated
technology, as well as new storage technologies, including new battery technologies
The costs of nuclear power have not fallen in the way hoped. Liberal Democrats are alarmed at
the risks and taxpayer costs the Conservatives wish to incur by pressing ahead with new nuclear.
A more cost effective and less risky approach is to invest in more promising technologies
including interconnector cabling and storage. Nuclear should only be pursued in international
collaborations to research the possibilities around fourth generation technologies and Fusion.


The Covid pandemic has shown us new cleaner, more healthy transport policies are possible,
building on increasing evidence for supporting breakthroughs in technology and manufacture.
Liberal Democrats believe the Government should dramatically raise its ambition levels in all
areas of decarbonising transport.

3. A Green Road Transport Revolution for a low emission vehicles industry by 2030

● A new law for all new cars and vans sold by 2030 to be either electric or hydrogen
● A new Zero Carbon Automotive Industrial Strategy, to support existing UK-based car
manufacturers and attract major new inward investment
● A major increase in investment for electric vehicle infrastructure
● A major reform of vehicle taxation to incentivise this transition, including reduced VAT on
electric vehicles and incentives to remove the most polluting vehicles from the road
● A new eVehicle Fund of £7.5 billion

4. An industrial strategy for Zero Carbon Flight

● A new law to require all UK domestic flights to be zero carbon by 2030 (with only limited
exceptions such as islands)
● A new Zero Carbon Aerospace Industrial Strategy, to invest heavily in all zero carbon flight
technologies and to support Britain's aerospace industry to transition
● A new Frequent Flyers Levy, to reduce the demand for flight, with funds redirected into
investment in broadband and video-conferencing technologies

5. A Green Deal for Public Transport, Cycling and Walking

● Increased investment in public transport, including providing more powers and funding to
local authorities to control buses, conversion of the rail network to ultra-low-emission
technology (electric or hydrogen) by 2035, and new funding for light rail and trams
● Introduce a nationwide strategy to promote cycling and walking and increase investment
in walking and cycling infrastructure.


The most challenging task for reducing the UK's carbon emissions has turned out to be heating -
heating homes and heating in industry (see next section). A more ambitious approach is urgently

6. Insulate, insulate, insulate

The Government's lack of focus on energy efficiency and fuel poverty has failed to deliver. Their
schemes are poorly-funded, badly designed and short term. We need a dramatic shift towards a
long term, well-regulated, infrastructure-based approach.
● Liberal Democrats would undertake a ten-year programme aiming to upgrade all of the
UK's homes, to end fuel poverty and slash everyone's heating bills, only such a long
term commitment will allow industry to scale up and develop the skills base needed for
this huge and critical task
● Establish a new skills development programme with industry to ensure that the UK has
the skills base to deliver on this programme
● Energy efficiency investment should become infrastructure investment - capital spending
with a long return, that's jobs-rich, for every community
● New tougher energy efficiency and heating regulations would be introduced, from tough
new zero carbon homes standards for new homes to stronger energy efficiency
requirements for rented homes. Liberal Democrats see regulation as a key tool, in sharp
contrast to the Conservative approach, building on Ed Davey's successful energy
efficiency regulation for the private rented sector

7. Hydrogen and Heat pumps

● Even after insulating to reduce the need to heat our homes, we will still need some heat.
To replace gas, oil and coal for heating, today's debate is between hydrogen and (electric)
heat pumps
● Five new large-scale pilots for hydrogen heating networks, to test and prove the concept
of large-scale hydrogen heating, backed by a new £500 million "Hydrogen Heat" Fund
● Bring forward the ban on fossil fuel heating systems in new homes from 2025 to 2024
● Establish a new £500 million Heat Pump Fund, to incentivise heat pump demand, with at
least 50% reserved for new build properties in larger developments with a minimum of
35% affordable homes, including specific funding for local government to coordinate
implementation of street and local area systems


To cut carbon emissions in major energy intensive industries from oil and gas through to steel,
cement and chemicals requires new long term partnerships between Government and Industry.
Increasingly it is clear that two critical technologies could play significant enabling roles in those
partnerships, as well as supporting decarbonisation in sectors ranging from power to heat. Those
technologies are Carbon, Capture, Usage and Storage and Hydrogen.
The decision by the Conservative Government in 2015 to end Britain's world-leading deployment
of CCS was a major strategic error, as has been their failure to date to show any serious
commitment to hydrogen. While it is expected their much-heralded energy plan will shortly try
to recover from these mistakes, there are real concerns over their ambition levels.

8. A green industrial strategy to make the UK the world leader in hydrogen

● Investing £7bn in Hydrogen specific research, innovation, demonstrators and
infrastructure with the initial objective of creating 100MW of Green Hydrogen production
by 2023, by creating significant volumes of green hydrogen from UK's installed off-shore
wind energy
● Support specific UK industrial sectors such as renewables, oil and gas and gas network
operators to become "hydrogen leaders" and "hydrogen ready"
● Fast track international collaboration to develop the standards and protocols to facilitate
the full-scale deployment of hydrogen technologies globally, and enable a mass global
hydrogen market to develop
● Develop hydrogen options in transport and heating, to support both industrial and
domestic decarbonisation (see earlier sections)

9. A green industrial strategy to make the UK the world leader in CCUS

● Establish an independent CCUS Delivery Agency (CCUSA), endowed with an initial £1.5
billion, to enable CCUS investments at arms length from Ministerial decisions, to restore
private sector confidence after previous Government U-turns
● The CCUSA to be tasked with developing and implementing a fresh CCUS strategy,
beginning with a major scale up of existing CCUS clusters linked to energy intensive
industrial sectors and potential hydrogen production centres


Liberal Democrats believe the Government has just scratched the surface in using nature to
assist with solutions to climate change. From avoiding emissions by protecting natural

eco-systems to cutting emissions with new eco-systems by restoring peat bogs or planting trees,
there is increasing evidence that nature itself can play a role in helping avert climate catastrophe.

10. A Nature for Climate Strategy

● Plant at least 60 million trees a year and introduce requirements for the greater use of
sustainably harvested wood in construction and invest in large scale restoration of
peatlands, heathland, native woodlands, saltmarshes, wetlands and coastal waters,
helping to absorb carbon, protect against floods, improve water quality and protect
● Local communities to be able to bid for a new £100 million "Nature Recovery Fund", to
promote local nature solutions for climate and air pollution and "nature recovery