‘UK is back in the race’: Green economy leaders urge Labour Party to put green policy promises into action

The Labour Party's landslide victory in the general election has positioned the UK for significant advancements in green energy and climate policies. The green economy has called it a critical opportunity for the UK to enhance its standing as a leader in the global race to net-zero. Here, edie summarises industry reaction.

‘UK is back in the race’: Green economy leaders urge Labour Party to put green policy promises into action

The green economy has welcomed Labour’s victory.

Today (5 July), the Labour Party has won the general election with a total of 326 seats, meaning that the new UK Government will be setting up Great British Energy as a priority, while striving to achieve a decarbonised electricity grid by 2030.

Other green policy priorities in Labour’s manifesto` include scaling low-carbon industries, capping corporation tax and publishing a roadmap for business taxation over the next four years. The Party has plans to spend £7.3bn on this, and to bring forward both a comprehensive modern industrial strategy and a ten-year infrastructure strategy.

Party leader Keir Starmer has taken the baton at a time of increasing concerns within the green economy regarding the Government’s plans to achieve the nation’s net-zero by 2050 goal and unlock the crucial sustainable investment needed for it.

The green economy has welcomed Labour’s victory, calling it a chance for the UK “to get back in the race” and emerge as a leader within the global green economy, while asking the winning party to “put promises into action”. Here, edie summarises industry reaction.

Industry reaction

Rachel Solomon Williams, executive director at the Aldersgate Group:

“With this result, the public has recognised the economic and social benefits that a strong climate and environmental policy programme can deliver for the country.

“Business leaders, too, have been consistent in calling for a credible plan to deliver emissions reductions and protect nature: they know that this will be vital to place the UK economy on a strong footing for the future, and address the chronic levels of underinvestment that we’ve endured in recent years.

“The UK has fallen behind international competition in the race to secure green investment – it is now imperative that the new government acts with urgency to address this and put the economy on a strong footing for the future.”

Philippa Spence, UK managing director, Ramboll:

“I’m optimistic that the new Labour government heralds a critical turning point in the green transition. The private sector has not wavered on net-zero, despite recent inconsistent political messaging across party divides.

“Now, our new government must show it has the same strength of appetite to spur on green investment as we do.

“Our new government’s proposed overhaul of the planning system and the creation of Great British Energy also offer beacons of hope for the industry’s path to decarbonising the built environment.”

Alasdair Johnstone, head of parliamentary engagement at the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit:

“With energy policy a core part of the election debate, Labour’s landslide gives it a clear mandate to accelerate renewables deployment, transitioning away from fossil fuels, to boost the UK’s long-term energy security.

“Labour promised economic growth and positioned these clean, green industries as central to driving that.”

Ed Matthew, campaigns Director at E3G:

“Keir Starmer has won a historic public mandate to accelerate climate action and restore UK climate leadership. Amid a major cost of living crisis driven by fossil fuel prices, the UK public has voted for ambitious clean energy action. The UK is back in the race to net-zero.”

Greg Jackson, founder of Octopus Energy:

“Voters have rejected anti net zero rhetoric and chosen cheaper, cleaner, more secure energy. This [is] a landslide for a green economy.”

Mike Childs, head of policy at Friends of the Earth:

Labour’s plans for climate and nature are far stronger than its predecessor’s, but need to go further still if we’re to get the country back on course for meeting crucial targets.

“Labour must now seize the huge opportunities that investment in green growth can bring, such as lower bills, healthier, happier communities, hundreds of thousands of new jobs in clean industries and a safer planet for future generations.”

Ruth Herbert, chief executive of the Carbon Capture & Storage Association:

“The CCSA looks forward to working with Keir Starmer’s government to put the UK at the forefront of the green Industrial Revolution.

“We have the opportunity to manufacture low carbon cement and glass here in the UK, rather than import it from elsewhere. Carbon Capture and Storage clusters in the UK have the potential to attract around £30bn of private capital to industrial regions by 2030, boosting local economies whilst our industry decarbonises.

“The first step is final investment decisions on the first two clusters in the north of England – the negotiations have almost concluded and now Ministerial sign off is required – providing the perfect opportunity to follow through on manifesto commitments on industrial decarbonisation and clean power within the first few weeks of this government.”

Ross Driver, fund manager at Foresight Solar Fund Limited:

“We welcome Labour’s plans to harness Britain’s sun, wind and wave power to make consumers’ bills cheaper and ensure the UK’s energy independence. However, the new government needs to be attuned to the potential headwinds that could stall these plans.

“Investment into grid capacity is desperately needed to provide certainty to the market. Without this, the required build out of renewable generation is at risk and its full potential won’t be realised.”

Aniruddha Sharma, chief executive of Carbon Clean:

“The next five years will be make or break for meeting the UK’s net-zero goals. Labour’s ambition to make Britain a clean energy superpower is promising, especially with the commitment to 650,000 new high-quality jobs. This is a real opportunity to establish the UK as a leading exporter of clean tech skills and expertise.

“A clear growth strategy is needed, underpinned by a stable, consistent policy environment that incentivises private sector investment.”

Andrew Griffiths, director of policy & corporate development at Planet Mark:

“We need to see the Labour Government take clear, tangible steps to demonstrate its recognition of net-zero as the greatest commercial opportunity of our time.

“There is a lot to do in little time, so prioritisation is key. Importantly, the new Government must resist the urge to end and alter existing processes and departments established by the previous Conservative Government that work or showed promise.”

Hannah Scott, chief executive of Oxfordshire Greentech:

“I am deeply concerned by Labour’s election pledge to prioritize the release of lower grade green belt land for development. While addressing housing needs is crucial, we must not compromise our environmental integrity.

“The so-called ‘grey belt’ often provides essential ecological services and green space for communities. Labour’s true priority should be retrofitting heat pumps in social housing, eradicating fuel poverty, and creating a national energy infrastructure that is affordable and provides comfort for everyone.”

Sarah Spencer, land manager at Balance Power:

“A new government could mean a fresh approach to clean energy development. But if Labour is to fulfil its promise about transforming the energy system, it must take a long hard look at planning headaches and take bold action to purge planning inefficiencies.

“This has to be a top priority, otherwise the new government can bid farewell to its vision of a zero-carbon grid for 2030.”

Mark Chapman, founder of Zero Carbon Forum:

“Today, the UK has voted for a new government. Labour has committed to clean power and pledged to decarbonise the power system by 2030, which is a positive and necessary step.

“We hope the incoming government recognises the importance of a regenerative, net-zero food and drink industry and commits to delivering sustainable, long-term outcomes that support a prosperous and resilient UK.”

Chris Hewett, chief executive of Solar Energy UK:
“We are committed to helping the new Government’s national mission to deliver clean power by 2030. Labour’s first year in power is going to be a critical period for the solar and energy storage sectors – essential for future energy security, lowering energy bills and addressing the climate emergency.

“We have every confidence that the new Government will demonstrate a more positive attitude towards the industry and so bolster investor confidence.”

Paul Hamalainen, Director FS RegCentre and Sustainability expert at Forvis Mazars:

“Businesses wanted stability and clarity of direction, which the electorate has delivered overwhelmingly. Sustainability has been rising up the political electorates’ priorities over time, so it is paramount that the new Labour government outlines what shade of green their future government will look like.

“One way in which the new government could make a clear sustainability message is to emulate the United States and introduce a substantial package of funding and incentives that will accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy.”

Thomas Farquhar, chief operating officer at Heatio:

“After years of climate change and energy security being used as a political football, we now need the new government to take immediate action. Promises must be put into action.

“Time has run out to use energy security, lower bills and net-zero as political footballs, we need a consistent, unified approach to this huge cost of living driver and national security issue.”

Matthew Clayton, managing director at Thrive Renewables:

“We welcome change and look forward to prioritising action in light of the climate emergency. Labour’s manifesto outlined its plans to put people at the heart of the energy transition and we were particularly pleased to see more support for community energy projects through its Local Power Plan – helping ensure the benefits of renewables are felt locally.

“After nine long years, we also hope to see the block on onshore wind in England removed in its entirety, levelling the planning playing field with other infrastructure, and ensuring we can harness our abundant wind power.”

Sian Sutherland, co-founder of A Plastic Planet & Plastic Health Council:

“Having secured a historic majority, Prime Minister Starmer and his government now has no excuse to not implement lasting policies that tackle the plastic crisis head on.

“For years our country has subjected to a distinct lack of ambition and delay from the Conservatives, all whilst our neighbours in the EU have pulled ahead.

“On the international stage, with the final round of negotiations for a UN Global Plastics Treaty in November, the Prime Minister has a clear opportunity to revitalise British diplomacy in advocating for a comprehensive global treaty informed by science.”

Christophe Williams, chief executive of Naked Energy:

“Now Labour is in power, they must end the subsidies on fossil fuels. We’re being led to believe by some that we must choose between renewable energy and domestic security – that’s it’s impossible to have both. This is not true.

“We have an opportunity to become world leaders in renewable energy, and it won’t require historical levels of funding. All we need is the Government to provide the support and clarity that will nudge us in the right direction. We have the innovation and the resources to take care of the rest.”

Peter McGettrick, chairman at the British Safety Council:

“After years of political uncertainty and turbulence, the prospect of a more settled and stable political environment in the UK is welcome for businesses and workers alike, and we congratulate Sir Keir Starmer and the Labour Party on their election success.

“We want to see people’s health, safety and wellbeing at the heart of future economic growth, and we will be looking to Labour to deliver on its promises to improve employment conditions as well as support businesses to succeed and grow.”

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the National Federation of Builders (NFB):

“After the NFB’s decade long commitment to lobbying government for planning reform, Labour’s recognition of the impacts of a broken planning system is encouraging, and its commitment to fixing the planning system and drive growth through strategic reform is a positive step for our industry.

“If these promises are fulfilled we can look ahead to more homes, better infrastructure, and stronger businesses.”

Jane Martin, chief executive of City to Sea:

“The Labour Party has been welcomed into office with a historic majority and the weight of its manifesto commitments to fulfil, including acting on their pledge to commit to the circular economy.

“To end the array of broken pledges, Labour must mandate a UK-wide all-in deposit return scheme, set legally binding reusable packaging targets, and implement a complete ban on all unnecessary single-use plastics. The public are tired of dithering and empty promises.”

We Mean Business Coalition:

“WMBC welcomes new Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer and emphasises the urgent need for the new UK government to begin immediate delivery of a meaningful response to the climate and nature crises, as an integral part of its economic and social plan for the country.

“UK leadership on climate action has lacked coherence in recent years. The new government has a deep understanding of what is at stake, the scale of the emergency and the economic opportunities that decisive action can bring. The UK is in prime position to regain its place at the forefront of the energy transition.

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