The Commission's recommendations to government:
Commit to deploy a range of different engineered removals at scale no later than 2030
Government must make a clear commitment to deploy a range of different engineered removals at megatonne scale in the UK no later than 2030 and must publish a detailed plan to deliver this by the end of 2022. This should form the basis for an enduring policy regime which will maximise the likelihood of the UK playing a leading role in the development of engineered removals.
Maintain existing efforts to reduce emissions
Action on deploying engineered removals must not reduce effort from emissions reduction, which should be used to cut most of the country’s emissions. Government’s net zero strategy should set this out clearly.
Put in place independent monitoring of emissions removals
By 2024, and before any engineered removals are deployed at scale in the UK, government must put in a place an independent monitoring regime. This must:
- be robust, transparent and instil public and investor confidence
- ensure that any removals are genuine and verifiable, including putting in place a monitoring, reporting and verification regime
- account for the full lifecycle emissions of technologies, regardless of whether those emissions occurred inside or outside the UK
- be consistent with the principles to protect the natural environment set out in the Environment Bill.
Create a competitive market for engineered removals
A market for engineered removals, whereby government support can gradually fall away, should be created by obligating polluting sectors to offset their emissions. Obligations on polluting sectors should cover a growing proportion of emissions over time, reaching 100 per cent no later than 2050.
Support a portfolio of engineered removals technologies
Government should support a portfolio of engineered removals and deploy a range of first of a kind plants at scale no later than 2030. To support deployment, government should use a combination of:
- staged competitions, focused on pulling through early stage technologies to commercial readiness
- direct investment, with the option for the involvement of the UK Infrastructure Bank
- contracts for revenue with government using competitive auctions where possible, and consider the feasibility of linking the contracts to a market-based mechanism, such as the newly established UK Emission Trading Scheme.
Polluting sectors should pay for the removals they need to reach carbon targets
Government should aim to have polluting sectors pay for removals they need to reach carbon targets. Sectors that do not require removals to achieve net zero should not be obligated to pay for them. However, in some instances there may be adverse consequences that require intervention. To account for this, by 2024, government must:
- undertake and publish detailed analysis on the range of adverse distributional consequences that could occur from the proposed policy approach
- set out which sectors it is open to providing subsidy for removals to
- consider the risks of offshoring emitting activities to other countries, and how these can be mitigated.
Enable infrastructure to support deployment of engineered removals
Government and regulators, in particular Ofgem for electricity and Ofwat and the Environment Agency for water, must work with operators of infrastructure networks to ensure any demands from engineered removals are planned for from the late 2020s.
Ensure the necessary carbon transport and storage infrastructure is in place
Government must ensure that the required carbon transport and storage infrastructure is delivered and that additional demand from engineered removals deployment is accounted for in its plans. To do this government must:
- finalise its regulatory regime and policy frameworks for carbon transport and storage and facilitate deployment at scale over the 2020s
- consider how engineered removals in dispersed locations not near the UK’s industrial clusters, for example small energy from waste or biomass plants with carbon capture and storage, can be integrated into carbon transport and storage networks over the next decade
- ensure adequate carbon dioxide storage capacity is explored and characterised in time to deploy engineered removals.
A nationwide full fibre connectivity plan
The Commission recommends that government should set out a nationwide full fibre connectivity plan by spring 2019, including proposals for connecting rural and remote communities. This should ensure that full fibre connectivity is available to 15 million homes and businesses by 2025, 25 million by 2030 with full coverage by 2033. To achieve these targets:
- Ofcom should promote network competition to drive the commercial rollout of full fibre, by deregulating where competition is effective and guaranteeing a fair bet on risky investments before regulating any uncompetitive areas.
- Government should part subsidise rollout to rural and remote communities, beginning by 2020, starting with the hardest to reach areas and community self-build.
- Government and Ofcom should allow for copper switch-off by 2025.
- Government and Ofcom should take action to cut the cost of full fibre deployment including:
- Government should ensure the processes for obtaining wayleaves and connecting new builds are the same for digital infrastructure as other utilities by 2019.
- Local government should designate ‘digital champions’ to improve telecoms processes such as street work permissions and access to publicly owned assets.
- Ofcom should monitor the accessibility of Openreach’s duct and pole infrastructure by levels of usage.
Accelerating the transition to a highly renewable generation mix
The Commission recommends that government should set out a pipeline of pot 1 Contracts for Difference auctions, to deliver at least 50 per cent renewable generation by 2030, as part of the transition to a highly renewable generation mix. Government should:
- Move technologies that have recently become cost competitive, such as offshore wind, to pot 1 following the next Contracts for Difference auction in Spring 2019. Pot 1 should be used for the overwhelming majority of the increase in renewable capacity required.
- Publish indicative auction dates and budgets for the next decade by 2020.
- Over time take whole systems costs into account in Contracts for Difference auctions, as far as possible.
- Consider whether there is a case for a small-scale, pot 2 auction in the 2020s, if there are technologies which are serious contenders for future pot 1 auctions.
- Not agree support for more than one nuclear power station beyond Hinkley Point C, before 2025.
More progress towards zero carbon heat
The Commission recommends that government needs to make progress towards zero carbon heat:
- Establishing the safety case for using hydrogen as a replacement for natural gas, followed by trialling hydrogen at community scale by 2021.
- Subject to the success of community trials, launching a trial to supply hydrogen to at least 10,000 homes by 2023, including hydrogen production with carbon capture and storage.
- By 2021, government should establish an up to date evidence base on the performance of heat pumps within the UK building stock and the scope for future reductions in the cost of installation.
- Set a target for the rate of installations of energy efficiency measures in the building stock of 21,000 measures a week by 2020, maintained at this level until a decision on future heat infrastructure is taken. Policies to deliver this should include:
- Allocating £3.8 billion between now and 2030 to deliver energy efficiency improvements in social housing.
- Government continuing to trial innovative approaches for driving energy efficiency within the owner occupier market.
- Government setting out, by the end of 2018, how regulations in the private rented sector will be tightened and enforced over time.
Increasing recycling rates of municipal waste and plastic packaging
The Commission recommends that government should set a target for recycling 65 per cent of municipal waste and 75 per cent of plastic packaging by 2030. Government should set individual targets for all local authorities and provide financial support for transitional costs. The government should establish:
- Separate food waste collection for households and businesses (to enable production of biogas) by 2025.
- Clear two symbol labelling (recyclable or not recyclable) across the UK by 2022.
- A consistent national standard of recycling for households and businesses by 2025.
- Restrictions on the use of hard-to-recycle plastic packaging (PVC and polystyrene) by 2025.
- Incentives to reduce packaging and for product design that is more easily recyclable by 2022.
- A common data reporting framework for businesses handling commercial and industrial waste by the end of 2019, ideally through voluntary reporting but if necessary by legislation.
Rolling out charging infrastructure to enable 100 per cent electric new car and van sales by 2030
The Commission recommends that government, Ofgem and local authorities should enable the roll out of charging infrastructure sufficient to allow consumer demand to reach close to 100 per cent electric new car and van sales by 2030. Government should address the implications of technological innovation in long term transport planning processes, including the next rail control period and road investment strategy.
- Ofgem should take on the role of regulating the interaction between electric vehicle charge points and the electricity network immediately, ensuring that electric vehicle charging and vehicle to grid services contribute to the optimisation of the energy system. Government, industry and Ofgem should work together to set minimum standards for a network of interoperable, smart charge points
- Ofgem should commission electricity network operators to work with charge point providers to identify potential anticipatory investments required to accommodate public charging infrastructure. Opportunities for investment within the current price control period should be identified by Summer 2019
- Government should place a requirement on local authorities to work with charge point providers to allocate 5 per cent of their parking spaces (including on-street) by 2020 and 20 per cent by 2025 which may be converted to electric vehicle charge points
- Government should subsidise, by 2022, the provision of rapid charge points in rural and remote areas, where the market will not deliver in the short term
- Government should establish a centre for advanced transport technology in the Department for Transport to bring together work on technological innovation and ensure its implications are central to future investment proposals. This should include developing and overseeing the Commission’s proposed connected and autonomous vehicles framework.
Cities should have the powers and funding they need to pursue ambitious, integrated strategies for transport, employment and housing
The Commission recommends that government should make £500 million a year of funding available from 2025/26 to 2034/35 for local highways authorities to address the local road maintenance backlog.
The Commission recommends that cities should have the powers and funding they need to pursue ambitious, integrated strategies for transport, employment and housing.
- By 2021, metro mayors and city leaders should develop and implement long term integrated strategies for transport, employment and housing that will support growth in their cities.
- By 2021, government should ensure city leaders have the right powers to deliver these integrated strategies, including the power for metro mayors to make decisions on major housing development sites.
- Government should set out devolved infrastructure budgets for individual cities for locally determined urban transport priorities in line with the funding profile set out by the Commission. Budgets for 2021-2026 should be confirmed by mid 2019. Government should pass legislation, by 2020, requiring cities to be given regular five year infrastructure budgets.
- Government should allocate significant long term funding for major capacity upgrades in selected growth priority cities, in line with the funding profile set out by the Commission. Cities benefiting from major projects should make commitments on housing delivery and provide at least 25 per cent of funding. Priority cities should be identified by mid 2019, with long term investment commitments agreed by 2020. Future rounds should take place no more than twice a parliament.
A strategy to deliver a nationwide standard of resilience to flooding
The Commission recommends that government should set out a strategy to deliver a nationwide standard of resilience to flooding with an annual likelihood of 0.5 per cent by 2050 where this is feasible. A higher standard of 0.1 per cent should be provided for densely populated areas where the costs per household are lower. To deliver the strategy:
- By the end of 2019, government should put in place a rolling 6 year funding programme in line with the funding profile set out by the Commission. This should enable efficient planning and delivery of projects and address the risks from all sources of flooding.
- The Environment Agency should update plans for all catchments and coastal cells in England before the end of 2023. These should identify how risk can be managed most effectively using a combination of measures including green and grey infrastructure, spatial planning and property level measures.
- Water companies and local authorities should work together to publish joint plans to manage surface water flood risk by 2022.
- The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and planning authorities should ensure that from 2019 all new development is resilient to flooding with an annual likelihood of 0.5 per cent for its lifetime and does not increase risk elsewhere.