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    UK , Business Plans for Net-Zero Carbon Future


One of the last announcements of the Theresa May government concerns major investments in clean transport and packaging.

by: William Powell

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UK , Business Plans for Net-Zero Carbon Future

The UK government announced July 22 an £80 ($98.2)mn investment to help develop the next generation of electric vehicles which could help also to develop new hybrid aircraft.

The investment – through the "modern Industrial Strategy" – will help ensure the UK is able to supply products both in the UK and abroad, to help cut carbon emissions from a range of industries including transport, energy, agriculture and construction, said the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Beis).

Development of these new technologies – known as Power Electronics, Electric Machines and Drives (PEMD) – will be led by industry and academia and supported by over 130 organisations, collectively offering global reserves of as much as £600bn.

The minister for Beis Greg Clark said that "companies like Jaguar and Lotus are choosing the UK to develop their new electric vehicles, while Easy Jet and Rolls Royce have chosen the UK to develop their hybrid planes – all recognising and investing in the expertise and talents of the UK."

He said the industrial strategy would help to create the next generation of net zero technologies that will transform entire industries and the UK was the first major economy to legislate for net zero carbon.

Targets include eliminating diesel trains; accelerating the delivery of electric and hybrid aircraft; and zero carbon road transport, all by 2040.;

The programme also supports clean growth by driving down costs and delivering a volume supply chain necessary to deliver low-carbon technologies – building partnerships between industries of all sizes.

The head of electronics at Ricardo Automotive & Industrial Will Drury said that the drive to reduce the UK's carbon footprint and decrease global reliance on fossil fuels is electrification. "This is occurring across every sector of society from energy generation for our homes to how we move about.  Driving Electric Revolution challenge will underpin the growth of the UK supply chain critical to enlarge GDP and jobs in PEMD; an area in which the UK already has global recognition.”

Cutting single-use plastics

New forms of packaging and plastic made from plants, wood chippings and food waste could be a step closer, thanks to new business and government investment, Beis also said July 22. Businesses are expected to jointly invest up to £149m, alongside a £60m government investment, to help fight the global battle against single-use plastics.

Funding could be used to find ways to cut waste in the supply chain, develop new business models and create new sustainable recyclable materials. This could include using plants instead of oils to make plastic.

The announcements will be some of the last issued under the premiership of Theresa May, as a new prime minister is expected to be installed July 24. The choice is between Jeremy Hunt and favourite Boris Johnson.

Finance minister Philip Hammond announced on television July 21 his intention to resign if Boris Johnson is voted her successor. Hammond said he would not support Johnson's intention to take the UK out of the European Union even without a deal on October 31, and the prime minister would have to have a finance minister who thinks along the same lines as he does.