Sir John Armitt today welcomed the Government’s announcement of a package of measures to develop greener infrastructure – and encouraged Ministers to go even further.
The Chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission highlighted recommendations in the UK’s first-ever National Infrastructure Assessment, to find low-carbon alternatives for natural gas for heating, and to gather further evidence to identify the most cost-effective solutions for delivering low-carbon heat.
And as well as improving energy efficiency for businesses, he urged Ministers to examine the Commission’s recommendations on improving the energy efficiency of the UK’s housing stock where action is urgently needed to ramp up the rate of progress.
Energy Minister Claire Perry launched a £320million fund for low-carbon heating for cities, which offers grants and loans for cutting carbon emissions from networks serving two or more buildings.
She also proposed new laws to support making all buildings smart, and ready for new smart energy appliances by 2030. The Commission’s Smart Power report, published in 2016, identified that smart homes and appliances will have an important role to play in a more flexible energy system.
It came as the Minister asked the Committee on Climate Change for advice on setting a date for net zero emissions targets.
Responding, Sir John welcomed the measures, and urged ministers to adopt the Commission’s recommendations for making the UK’s heat supply low-carbon, including that by 2021, there be community scale trials of hydrogen and greater evidence collected on the potential use of heat pumps, as alternatives to natural gas.
He also highlighted the need to improve the energy efficiency of homes, with the Assessment including recommendations for allocating £3.8billion between now and 2030 to improve the energy efficiency of social housing, and continuing to trial innovative new measures for energy efficiency in the owner-occupied market.
Chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission Sir John Armitt said:
“I’m pleased to see that measures to encourage the use of low-carbon alternatives to natural gas for heating and to improve energy efficiency, are part of the package announced today – especially as Ministers look to set more ambitious climate change targets.
“These are welcome, and I would urge the Government to go even further to move towards low and zero carbon fuels for heating, as recommended in our National Infrastructure Assessment.
“And as well as supporting businesses to become more energy efficient, we also recommend greater funding to improve the energy efficiency of the UK’s homes and reduce people’s bills – including investing in improving the energy efficiency of the country’s social housing stock.”