James Robottom, IET Sustainability and Climate Change Lead, said: “What is clear, is that engineering will be at the heart of the Government’s plans and investment strategy. For engineers to deliver this much-needed ‘Green Industrial Revolution’, the Government must work in partnership and provide investment over the long-term in infrastructure that can support the proposals. Delivering the Government’s ambition will require a huge effort across UK government, industry and engineering.
“Alongside a joined-up strategy which includes R&D, innovation and delivery, it is essential that we invest in people. If the UK is to reach the levels of ‘green jobs’ outlined in this ‘Revolution’ – the majority of which will be in the engineering sector – it is vital to have the right level of investment in skills and training. It is of paramount importance that high-quality training and skilling is delivered across both the growing industries, as well as providing support and re-training for engineers in industries which will be reducing jobs.”
As one of the world’s largest professional engineering bodies, the IET stands well placed to support not only the Government but the engineering profession. This includes supporting professional development and training to giving expert opinion on the complex technical challenges that go far beyond this initial step towards net-zero. In particular:
- Electric vehicles: The IET welcomes the investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure and through the comprehensive standards and codes of practice we publish, we will support their safe installation and service. Careful planning for the phased reduction in the sale of fuels will be required beyond 2030.
- Electricity systems and offshore wind: Bringing large amounts of new renewables onto the system, as well as supporting the increase in demand from EVs and heat pumps will require upgrading and strengthening to our electricity systems. We are advocating a more integrated approach for deployment of Offshore networks as a key infrastructure enabler for Net-Zero.
- Hydrogen: It’s welcome to see that work carried out by the IET and other professional engineering institutions has contributed to the decision to safely introduce hydrogen blending to the natural gas grid. It is essential that we continue to innovate in this space and push for the greater production of green hydrogen and its supporting infrastructure.
- Homes and public buildings: Drastically improving the energy efficiency of our building stock is a high priority. We need to see clear, consistent policy objectives and a coherent plan for the delivery and skills required for a national programme for deep retrofit and climate resilience - with an initial focus on social housing, which makes up 17% of UK homes. Upgrades can also have a profound effect on our health - it has been estimated that it costs the NHS £1.4bn per annum in additional treatment costs for conditions arising from bad housing.
- Sustainable manufacturing and supply chains: It is encouraging to see the announcement of investment in battery manufacture and the supply chains related to EVs. It is of paramount importance that we work together to reduce the impact of the industry through proactive resource productivity and efficiency measures to reduce environmental impact and save money. Every business has a responsibility to act.
James continued: “The opportunity for a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic is significant, but industries, as well as the public, will need the confidence to invest in innovative new approaches and technologies which can put us on the path to sustainability and net-zero.
“What is outlined will require a collaborative, cross-sectoral approach that will change and affect the way that many of us live and work. We implore this Government and subsequent Governments to ensure they take a long-term approach and put engineering knowledge and skills at the heart of their decision-making.”
For more information on the IET’s published reports, linked to a green recovery, please visit: https://www.theiet.org/impact-society/sustainability-and-climate-change/
Notes to editors:
About the IET
- We inspire, inform and influence the global engineering community to engineer a better world.
- We are a diverse home for engineering and technology intelligence throughout the world. This breadth and depth means we are uniquely placed to help the sector progress society.
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