The government’s long-awaited Clean Growth Plan will finally be made public after the summer recess, according to newly appointed Climate Change Minister Claire Perry.
Perry, who replaced Nick Hurd at the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) earlier this month, told Parliament this morning the plan will be released in a matter of weeks.
Parliament breaks for summer recess on July 20 and returns on September 5.
“My intention is to publish the Clean Growth Plan when Parliament returns from the summer recess, and I look forward to cross-party discussion and hopefully consensus on a hugely important document, both for Britain’s domestic future and our international leadership,” Perry said.
She suggested that between now and the publication date she will explore whether the draft plan can be made more ambitious. “I want the Clean Growth Plan to be as ambitious, robust and clear blueprint as it can be, so that we can actually continue to deliver on this hugely vital piece of domestic and international policy,” she said.
The UK is legally-bound to reduce its emissions by 57 per cent by 2032 compared to 1990 levels, and by at least 80 per cent by 2050, under the Climate Change Act.
The release of the Clean Growth Plan was first promised in late 2016. It is seen as hugely important for industries across the power, transport, and building sectors and is expected to provide a blueprint for the UK’s decarbonisation pathway through the 2020s and early 2030s.
Under current policies the UK is on track to miss its legally binding emission reduction targets for the mid 2020s onwards, prompting campaigners to warn more action is needed to curb emissions from heat, buildings, industry, transport, and agriculture.
There has been growing frustration among business leaders over the repeated delays to the release of the plan, with numerous calls for it to be published as soon as possible in order to avoid an investment hiatus and spiralling decarbonisation costs.
Perry insisted the almost year-long delay to the plan does not reflect a lack of government commitment to the aims of the Climate Change Act, arguing a series of unprecedented events such as tje Brexit vote, a snap election, and the withdrawal of the US from the Paris Agreement have all led to unavoidable delays.
“We were the first country in the world to set binding carbon budgets, we have over achieved on the first one and second one, and our full intention is to engage the whole of government and industry in delivering on the upcoming budgets,” she insisted.
Green businesses will be hopeful that the new plan will deliver ambitious new policies to promote energy efficiency, green transport, and low carbon industry, as well as reduce emissions from land use and agriculture.
They are also likely to push for the plan to be accompanied by a decision from the Treasury over the level of funding support that will be available for clean power projects from 2020 onwards and clarity from the government over whether it is willing to provide a route to market for increasingly cost competitive onshore wind and solar projects.