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Business & Economy

CBI calls for ‘bold action’ to drive greener COVID-19 recovery

A business organisation has called on the Government to take “bold action” and deliver a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) says decisive action would place the UK as a “world-leader” in carbon change and create significant numbers of new jobs.

In a blueprint entitled ‘Achieving Net-Zero’, the body lays out a number of initiatives it says would revive the UK’s economy while helping achieve environmental targets.

Its plans include making the UK a world leader in carbon capture, utilisation and storage technology, and kickstarting the development of a hydrogen economy.

Officials also call for an acceleration in the deployment of low-carbon electricity generation and investment in grid system flexibility, and an increase in the delivery of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Furthermore, they say jobs would be created and supported by retrofitting homes and buildings to become more energy efficient.

“The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be felt with significant job losses and the UK’s first recession since 2009,” says the organisation in its blueprint.

“The future remains uncertain, with a balance needing to be struck between the continued reopening of the economy and the measures needed to contain the spread of the virus.

“CBI members continue to view the recovery from the pandemic as a real opportunity to build back better and pivot towards the low-carbon, sustainable, and net-zero aligned economy that we know we need.”

The body said that while some recent announcements have pointed towards a Government recognising the need to create a greener future, much more still remains to be done.

“We still lack clear policy frameworks needed for the transition to net-zero, with notable delays to the Energy White Paper and National Infrastructure Strategy,” said the CBI.

“There is a clear urgency for publishing these documents, alongside other sector strategies, such as the Decarbonisation of Transport Plan and Heat and Buildings Strategy.

“To ensure that the 2020s continue to be a decade of delivery on net-zero, there needs to be a step-change in the pace of investment, supported by a Government commitment to drive delivery.

“Delays to policy, and regulatory decisions that hold back investment, both act as barriers to this goal.

“The Government’s ‘Project Speed’ is a positive initiative for accelerating infrastructure deployment, and this could be used to drive faster investment in low-carbon and resilient infrastructure as well.

“Action taken now will not only set us on a path to net-zero but will also help secure the myriad of economic benefits that can be secured through investment in low-carbon technologies and services.

“Bold decisions are needed, with opportunities at hand to remove regulatory barriers and speed up planning processes.”