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18 NOV 2020

NET ZERO: THE EXPERTISE OF THE CONSULTANCY SECTOR WILL BE VITAL

Poppy Kettle explores the PM's 10 point plan for Net Zero and what it means for members

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e've been told that as part of the post-Dominic Cummings reset a priority is to broaden the coalition of support behind the Prime Minister and his Government. On that basis you would have to count last night's launch of the 10 point plan for Net Zero a success. After all, it is not often that government announcements are both applauded by Greenpeace and endorsed by the Financial Times

Some, such as the heavily trailed announcement on bringing forward the ban of the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles to 2030, are strong regulatory changes. Others, like the funding for hydrogen demonstrations and Carbon Capture Storage (CCS), are intended to overcome market failure through Government using pump priming funding to attract additional private sector investment.

In a world where ambitious plans for reducing the whole life carbon of projects increasingly becomes the norm, and not best practice, how will our industry react? Poppy Kettle

All of the 10 announcements start to put in place the building blocks for a Net Zero transition. I think the additional funding for CCS clusters in Scotland, Wales, Humber and Teesside, is particularly important given that even the Committee on Climate Change expects about a third of the UK’s current emissions to still exist in 2050. This will require a significant operation to capture this excess carbon. 

Another leap forward is the funding for hydrogen demonstrations which will hopefully lead to a hydrogen town by 2030. Both hydrogen and CCS clusters have the potential to reinvigorate our traditional industrial heartlands and can play a key role in levelling-up. However, there is a huge amount still to be done in terms of designing the links, and integrating all of this with our built environment. It’s clear that the expertise of the consultancy sector will be vital in joining the dots.

For clients too last night's 10 point plan has significant implications. Combined with the Chancellor's recent announcements for companies to report on climate risks to their business, the 10 point plan also heralds a new era for infrastructure investment where clients need to recognise the risk of assets being stranded if they are “net zero incompatible”.

Furthermore, in a world where ambitious plans for reducing the whole life carbon of projects increasingly becomes the norm, and not best practice, how will our industry react?  Our forthcoming report on Net Zero will assess what consultancies and their clients need to do to prosper in this new business environment.

Read our immediate media response here. Find out more about the joint Net Zero taskforce which brings members of ACE and EIC together to tackle the issue. Poppy Kettle is Net Zero Policy Advisor at the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE).

Poppy  Kettle

Poppy Kettle

Net Zero Policy Adviser

Poppy supports the joint ACE/EIC Net Zero campaign.

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