Green Day is here! Not the American rock band, but the widely anticipated suite of announcements from the government on the transition to net zero. Do they deliver? Chloë Fiddy, IEMA’s policy and engagement lead for climate change and energy reviews them in this short blog.

The government has published a long-awaited list of documents intended to clarify or move forwards on the UK’s transition to net zero. The headline paper is Powering up Britain which includes the Energy Security Plan and the Net Zero Growth Plan – the government response to the net zero review by Chris Skidmore MP.

IEMA engaged closely with this review, with members calling for a number of barriers to the transition to be removed. Our members noted that inconsistent messaging and an uncertain policy landscape, combined with high capital outlays and unverified data, make it difficult for businesses to invest with confidence into the transition.

On policy, the reports set out a range of pledges intended to provide a sense of direction for businesses and investors, for example by publishing the principle of ‘sending clear regulatory signals’. On capital outlays and data, the 2023 Green Finance Strategy focuses on greening the financial system through the provision of the right information, data and tools for real economy and financial services to manage risks and seek opportunities.

Reflecting our strength in representing professionals and experts in the sector, IEMA’s work on apprenticeships and other non-degree level routes into work was mentioned on page 102 of the ‘Powering Up Britain – The Net Zero Growth Plan’, along with IEMA’s Green Careers Hub. (More details from IEMA’s Tom Pashby here)

There are impressive sums on offer for research and investment, intended to capitalise (literally) on the UK’s skills in innovation for new technologies. However, on the delivery and roll-out of known and low regret transition measures, such as energy efficiency in buildings, many of the concerns raised by IEMA members around the stop/start nature of funding via grants will not be allayed. Rounds of competitive grant funding are still the cornerstone in these sectors, which in practice means that delivery will be lumpy – with areas that are well resourced to submit bids inevitably doing better than areas that are not.

Many of the pledges in the reports are for future strategies, reviews and consultations which does not provide a set of timelines or measurable actions. Overall, our members called for decisive action while the government is still (for instance) planning a future call for evidence on an obvious topic such as Industrial Electrification.

Generally speaking, the reports plan for positive steps in the right direction, but one can’t help thinking that some of these steps should have been taken over a year ago regardless of the legal hold ups with the net zero strategy.

Throughout 2023, IEMA will be following progress on the upcoming milestones. We always welcome our members’ views on progress being made in their fields. Please email us at [email protected].

Photo of Chloe
Chloë Fiddy

Policy and Engagement Lead

Chloë is the Policy and Engagement lead for Climate Change and Energy at IEMA. She has previously worked in local government in climate change and development planning policy. With a remit to advise on the organisational and regional net zero transition, she had a strong focus on active travel, air quality and retrofit projects, and provided advice on renewable energy development. Chloë also has over a decade of experience in the manufacturing sector, championing and implementing sustainable production methods. She is a trustee on the board of Uttlesford Citizens Advice, overseeing local input into national research projects and is responsible for information assurance. In her spare time, she enjoys live music and cooking for family and friends.