Impact on Rural Areas of green plan

Last week, the Prime Minister set out his ambitious Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution which will create and support up to 250,000 British jobs

According to the Government announcement, 'Covering clean energy, transport, nature and innovative technologies, the Prime Minister’s blueprint will allow the UK to forge ahead with eradicating its contribution to climate change by 2050, particularly crucial in the run up to the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow next year.

The plan – which is part of the PM’s mission to level up across the country - will mobilise £12 billion of government investment to create and support up to 250,000 highly-skilled green jobs in the UK, and spur over three times as much private sector investment by 2030.'

You can read the announcement here, the Ten Point Plan on the Government website includes:

  1. Offshore wind: Producing enough offshore wind to power every home, quadrupling how much we produce to 40GW by 2030, supporting up to 60,000 jobs.
  2. Hydrogen: Working with industry aiming to generate 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 for industry, transport, power and homes, and aiming to develop the first town heated entirely by hydrogen by the end of the decade.
  3. Nuclear: Advancing nuclear as a clean energy source, across large scale nuclear and developing the next generation of small and advanced reactors, which could support 10,000 jobs.
  4. Electric vehicles: Backing our world-leading car manufacturing bases including in the West Midlands, North East and North Wales to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles, and transforming our national infrastructure to better support electric vehicles.
  5. Public transport, cycling and walking: Making cycling and walking more attractive ways to travel and investing in zero-emission public transport of the future.
  6. Jet Zero and greener maritime: Supporting difficult-to-decarbonise industries to become greener through research projects for zero-emission planes and ships.
  7. Homes and public buildings: Making our homes, schools and hospitals greener, warmer and more energy efficient, whilst creating 50,000 jobs by 2030, and a target to install 600,000 heat pumps every year by 2028.
  8. Carbon capture: Becoming a world-leader in technology to capture and store harmful emissions away from the atmosphere, with a target to remove 10MT of carbon dioxide by 2030, equivalent to all emissions of the industrial Humber today.
  9. Nature: Protecting and restoring our natural environment, planting 30,000 hectares of trees every year, whilst creating and retaining thousands of jobs.
  10. Innovation and finance: Developing the cutting-edge technologies needed to reach these new energy ambitions and make the City of London the global centre of green finance.

 The BBC has reported on the particular element of this plan that focuses on electric vehicles, this is where new cars and vans powered wholly by petrol and diesel will not be sold in the UK from 2030.

- The full story can be viewed here

The Rural Services Network has some concerns over these initiatives and wants to ensure that rural areas are not disadvantaged by these plans but are supported and enabled.  There are a number of factors to consider in rural areas for example, trip lengths are generally longer to access services and so there will need to be adequate charging points to suit the transport needs of rural communities.  Residents in the most rural areas travel further by car, but less by bus than those in urban areas due to poor rural transport and so using alternative solutions for travel is more difficult.

The Government must ensure that its planned National Bus Strategy has objectives for rural provision, with ambitions to better serve rural communities and their economic needs on a sustainable basis.

In 2018/19 60% of households in rural villages, hamlets and isolated dwellings had 2 or more cars/vans compared to the England average of 35%.  This is often due to poor transport links and so there will be an additional financial burden on those rural residents to purchase new suitable vehicles.

The addition there are real challenges for rural homes in terms of energy efficiency of the rural housing stock.

The impact of climate change affects all communities and this much is already clear from the rural impacts of increasingly frequent storm damage, flood events and periods of drought.  Rural area which host more than a sixth of England’s population must play their part if the UK is to rapidly reduce its carbon footprint.

As part of its Revitalising Rural campaign, the RSN has a number of asks of Government for decarbonising rural communities and economies which can be accessed at this link

In relation to Electric Vehicle Charging, a funded strategy is needed to expand considerably the network of electric public charging points along rural roads. In addition, support for investment relevant to rural buses, HGVs and agricultural vehicles.

Most important, is that rural areas are not left behind in the countdown to climate change targets.


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