Over 100 recommendations have been published in a long-awaited independent review of the UK’s approach to net zero, the country’s largest ever public engagement exercise on the subject.  

The Net Zero Review was commissioned by former Prime Minister Liz Truss’ government last September to explore how the UK could better meet its net zero commitments in a “pro-business” and “pro-growth” way.  
Earlier in the year, the government’s existing Net Zero Strategy was judged to be unlawful by the High Court for failing to show how it would meet the UK’s legally-binding carbon budgets, which limit the amount of greenhouse gases the UK can emit. The government chose not to appeal the ruling and was ordered to produce a revised strategy by March this year.  

‘Make the most of this historic opportunity’ says Chris Skidmore MP

Led by Conservative MP Chris Skidmore, the Net Zero Review concludes that much more should be done to reap the economic benefits that net zero presents, and quickly. It makes 129 recommendations in total, covering areas such as business incentives for investing in decarbonisation, reforming the planning system, making better use of infrastructure and delivering energy efficient homes. 
“In developing this report, we have engaged with communities, economists and climate experts from across the country through more than 50 roundtables and 1,800 submissions,” Chris Skidmore explained. 
“My recommendations are designed to make the most of this historic opportunity, covering the length and breadth of our economy, so that people in every part of the country can reap the benefits of this both in their communities, and in their pockets.” 

Priority missions in the net zero review

The Review sets out ten priority missions to harness public and private sector action out to 2035: 

  • Grid and Infrastructure: a strategic framework and delivery plan for critical networks to turbocharge onshore and offshore energy  
  • Solar: a full-scale deployment of solar including a ‘rooftop revolution’ to deliver a fivefold increase in solar power by 2035  
  • Onshore Wind: pave the way for onshore wind deployment, working closely with local communities 
  • Nuclear: a programme of delivery for a next-generation fleet of nuclear power 
  • Energy Intensives and Industry: a clear plan for industry built around long-tern investment in carbon capture and hydrogen 
  • Circular Economy and Waste: stimulate the efficient and circular use of resources across the economy 
  • Net Zero Local Big Bang: unblock the planning system and give local authorities and communities more power to act  
  • Energy Efficiency for Households: work towards ‘gas-free’ homes by 2035 and give consumers a greater understanding of their household’s performance through a new ‘Net Zero Performance Certificate’ and integration of green technologies including heat pumps
  • Net Zero Nature: embed nature and habitat restoration throughout transition plans, maximising co-benefits for nature wherever possible 
  • R&D and Innovation: catalyse action with an R&D and technology roadmap to 2050 and support up to three 10-year demonstrator projects 

Examples of specific recommendations include a minimum energy efficiency rating of EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) B for all non-domestic buildings by 2030; replacing EPCs with an upgraded ‘Net Zero Performance Certificate’; introducing a carbon calculator and eco-labelling to help consumers make more informed purchasing decisions; bringing forward a planned ban on gas boilers to 2033; and launching a ‘Help to Grow Green’ campaign offering vouchers for SMEs to invest in net zero measures.  
All eyes are now on how the government officially responds in due course, ahead of publishing its updated Net Zero Strategy in spring.  

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