Expert commentary on Government’s Build Back Greener strategy

10 October 2021

The UK Government has published its long-awaited strategy paper which sets out policies and proposals on how it aims to decarbonise all sectors of the UK economy to meet its net zero target by 2050 and transition to a zero-carbon economy.

Published ahead of the global climate change summit COP 26, which will be held in Glasglow next month, the plan titled ‘Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener’ outlines how the UK Government aims to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions to tackle the climate crisis and its effects, including soaring temperatures, rising sea levels and extreme weather which threatens many forms of life.

Key initiatives around transport include a push towards electrification via a £620 million investment in grants for electric vehicles and street charging points, while an extra £350 million has been allocated to help the automotive supply chain to switch to electric. Automotive manufacturers will also be required to sell a proportion of clean cars each year.

Commenting on the paper, Professor Chris Brace, IAAPS’ Academic Director said:

“The Net Zero Strategy presents some truly ambitious aims. I look forward to seeing more detail on the implementation of these plans. The strategy lays out clearly the scale of the challenge we face and points the way to the stable policy and investment framework that is essential to stimulate the long-term green growth that we need.

At the highest level, our challenge in transport is simple. To paraphrase Bill Gates – electrify where we can and use sustainable fuels for the rest. To make this happen at pace, we need to harness the power of innovation to ensure that these new technologies are affordable and more attractive to the end user than those we have now.

I am keen to make a ZEV mandate introduced in the Net Zero Strategy unnecessary by helping the industry move more quickly than currently projected. For me, the route to faster adoption of these technologies is for us to improve the products and services to the point where market pull, not regulatory push, is the driving factor. This is the focus of our research at IAAPS, helping manufacturers to develop better and more affordable products more quickly. We need the regulatory framework to facilitate the adoption of these products, so it is good to see increased investment in EV infrastructure roll out and the introduction of sustainable fuels blends and H2.

It is also important to consider that we work in a global industry. Today our products are exported around the world. We need to continue to innovate so that new green propulsion technologies are readily applicable and affordable in middle income economies. This will both accelerate their global adoption and contribute to future economic growth in the UK.

The research challenges described in these simple goals are colossal, the biggest we have ever faced as a sector. It is great to see this recognised in this ambitious new strategy. It is an exciting time to be a propulsion systems researcher.”

10 October 2021