The Quiet Green Revolution

22nd December 2020, 10:25 am

Dale Edwards, a Strategic Consultant specialising in Green Energy at national law firm Clarke Willmott LLP, shares his thoughts on the Government 10-point green plan.

Undoubtedly the standout headline following the Government’s announcement of its 10-Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, was the ban on selling new petrol and diesel cars from 2030. By 2040 our motorways, roads, towns and cities will become a lot quieter with electric cars being in the majority. To accelerate the number of electric cars by 2030 it is essential that a comprehensive charging point plan is developed and implemented and should not just concentrate on urban areas but also rural to help adoption of electric vehicles.

It will be interesting to see how the development of green commercial vehicles will complement the plan. UK bus manufacturer Wrightbus for example, has started manufacturing hydrogen powered buses and Tesla is also developing its own commercial vehicle, so the signs are promising that commercial vehicles will not be far behind cars.

When it comes to our communities and the development of new housing schemes the green industrial planning revolution had already started. With the announcement of the 10-point green plan it will certainly have more focus. For many years, Clarke Willmott has been supporting clients in achieving their aspirations to deliver greener homes, properties and businesses. As an example, a few years ago we acted for a consortium of developers in relation to a new town in East Devon which ultimately will consist of over 6500 properties. We negotiated the arrangements with a major utility company to design, install, operate, and maintain a local energy centre which combines heat and power plant to serve the domestic occupiers of the development.

The Government has also committed to making homes, hospitals, workplaces and schools more energy efficient and warmer, including a target to install 600,000 heat pumps every year by 2028. Other measures include building new housing developments, a town to be heated and powered by hydrogen, planting 30,000 hectares of trees per year and a new vehicle charging point infrastructure, all of which will certainly make an impact on planning. Environmental considerations for new residential or commercial developments will also be stepped up to another gear. These measures are on top of the green homes grants launched in the summer, which provide up to £5000.

When you add the impact of Covid-19 on cities and towns with increasing numbers of vacant retail units there is a possibility that many places could be a shadow of their former selves. Therefore, I see the 10-point green plan as an opportunity to re-invent towns and cities in terms of what they could look like in the future. Landlords, developers and planners will need to work together in coming up with innovative green solutions to regenerate these places so that communities can share a brighter and more sustainable future.

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