Coronavirus: UK politicians push for economic recovery plan to include green initiatives

·2-min read
Scales with earth and money. Graphic: Getty
Scales with earth and money. Graphic: Getty

Two committee chairs have stressed that the UK’s COVID-19 economic recovery package should be used as an opportunity to accelerate investment on climate adaptation and cutting emissions to net zero.

Darren Jones, chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee and Philip Dunne, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), have written to the UK chancellor, warning that time is running out to “avert an even greater future global crisis caused by climate change.”

According to a joint statement by the two groups: “The economic recovery package offers the opportunity to align a boost to the economy with the UK’s climate goals.”

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“Putting net-zero at the heart of the UK’s economic recovery from the pandemic will deliver benefits that can help stimulate local economies, level-up communities across the UK, and improve public health and wellbeing.”

It added that many of the actions required to upgrade and decarbonise transport, housing and energy infrastructure will create jobs, grow supply chains and deliver energy and cost savings in the longer term.

The correspondence comes as the EAC Committee launches a new inquiry, ‘Greening the post-COVID recovery,’ and ahead of the BEIS Committee’s evidence hearing on 2 June examining the Committee on Climate Change’s progress report.

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Earlier, Environment Agency chairwoman Emma Howard Boyd, conservation body Natural England’s Tony Juniper, and Sir William Worsley, who chairs the Forestry Commission, penned a joint op-ed calling for greater government investment in green measures to reboot the economy.

A green recovery could deliver on multiple aims, with investment in jobs creating a new workforce to build the green projects of the future, and new woodlands and restored peatlands helping the UK adapt to weather extremes, they said.

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