20 Aug The UK introduces new environmental targets to support the transition to net-zero
A new group will carefully measure the government’s progress towards reaching its net-zero target for 2050.
The UK has stated it will introduce a new set of legally binding targets associated with air quality, waste reduction, biodiversity and cleaner water as part of a concerted effort to tackle climate change, support environmental protection and to rebuild the economy.
According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the targets will be introduced in four specific areas including air, waste, biodiversity and water. The targets will be directly associated with the Environmental bill which was introduced last year in an attempt to ensure the existing and future governments focus on plans for environmental improvement.
PM Boris Johnson has stated several times that he intends to ‘build back greener’ as the country begins to recover from the pandemic. A new environmental watchdog, the Office for Environmental Protection will generate annual reports on the progress of the government towards each target. The group will lead the management of the UK’s progress towards reaching its 2050 net zero emissions targets.
The UK was the first nation to commit to a net-zero emissions target for 2050 and is the host of the UN climate summit that has been rescheduled for 2021. There are, however, a number of environmental groups that believe the UK needs to ramp up its efforts in working towards these targets. For example, Friends of the Earth are encouraging the government to remove any further plans to expand airports and urging them to introduce a levy on frequent flyers. Friends of the Earth have also recommended eliminating the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles within this decade and providing further support to enable a simpler transition towards electric vehicles.
NetZero strategies in the UK finance market
In the last month, several lenders led by Barclays and Handelsbanken became the founders of a new group that intends to provide financial support to businesses working directly in delivering a carbon-neutral economy in the UK. The Bankers for NetZero initiative consists of Triodos, Ecology Building Society and Digital Lender Tide have committed to researching techniques to support businesses and reduce the risk associated with shifting towards a cleaner and more sustainable practices.
The group held their first meeting last month focusing on enhancing the built environment and ways banks could support an industry that is proven to be a considerable source of carbon emissions. Just this month, the Insurer Legal & General urged the UK government to introduce clearer legislation to improve the transparency on the energy consumption of commercial buildings and to create further support for businesses wanting to switch to renewable energy. The Bankers for NetZero intends to create a series of recommendations, or a report later this year detailing a clear strategy associated with enhancing the UK transition to net-zero.