How could the Mission Zero report impact UK’s net zero goals?
Find out the key recommendations of the Mission Zero report and their potential impact on the UK's net zero goals.
The UK Government has published an independent review of its net zero strategy. It looks at the challenges of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and looks at how the country could achieve its net zero goal in a more affordable, more efficient and more pro-business way.
The review wasn’t conducted in isolation. Its author, Conservative MP and former Energy Minister, Chris Skidmore, enlisted the opinions of over 1,800 businesses, organisations and communities. This helped uncover the issues preventing decarbonisation and the opportunities that could help the UK economy grow.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the report’s key recommendations.
1. Establish an Office for Net Zero Delivery
As we’ll see, reaching net zero emissions is an ambitious challenge that involves many Government departments, businesses and organisations managing and delivering a lot of complex projects. But until now, these organisations have been left to work independently, which is causing inefficiencies.
For example, the Institute for Government claims that “progress on decarbonising homes [has been hampered] by weak building standards and lack of investment in energy efficiency.”
The report recommends creating a new Government department to provide “strong leadership” and to ensure that all Government departments are working together efficiently.
2. Speed up the transition to green energy
The UK is a global leader in the transition from fossil fuel-powered energy. But the report argues that the pace of change needs to increase to meet the 2050 net zero target and achieve complete energy security. The report argues that “energy security is essential to a growing economy,” which is pertinent as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to affect global energy markets.
The report also shows how green energy can be affordable due to the increasing cost of oil and gas. Estimates suggest that it could be six times cheaper to generate electricity from onshore wind than gas in 2023.
The report suggests the government set up clear policies and regulations and streamline processes to ensure that the UK has the technology, skills, jobs and supply chains to speed up its transition to green energy.
3. Publish a public engagement plan
While most people (83%) are concerned about the effects of climate change, many are confused about how they can reduce their personal environmental impact. So the report suggests that the government improves how it engages with people and does a better job of selling the benefits of net zero. It recommends that the plan includes positive and clear messaging to inspire and empower people to take action.
The report shows that the average household produces 8.5 tonnes of CO2 each year, 22% from home heating (which hasn’t significantly changed since 2015). And we’re pleased to see it note that making a home more efficient can increase its value (by around £10,000 on average), as well as reduce energy costs and improve the resident’s health and well-being.
It suggests the government should do more to support home energy efficiency, including making low-carbon technologies such as solar panels and heat pumps more affordable and accessible. It even states, “Homes are at the heart of the net zero equation.”
4. Introduce a Net Zero Homes Standard
The average household produces 8.5 tonnes of CO2 each year, 22% of which is from home heating. And this hasn’t improved significantly since 2015. So the report suggests that the government introduce a Net Zero Homes Standard to encourage property developers to build homes “combining fabric and low-carbon heating measures” such as solar panels.
It’s hoped that these new ‘net zero homes’ will be more desirable and save residents money on their bills. The new standard will help the UK, which has some of the developed world’s least efficient housing stock, improve the portion of energy-efficient homes available.
5. Mandate EPC C by 2033 and introduce NZPC
The majority of UK homes have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of D or worse. As a result, millions of people are living in poorly insulated and expensive-to-heat homes. So the report recommends the government legislate a minimum EPC rating of C for all new homes sold by 2033, which is currently pencilled in for 2035 and yet to be legislated.
However, the report goes a step further by recommending the government replace the EPC with a new NZPC (Net Zero Performance Certificate). The new NZPC would more accurately calculate the home’s efficiency by taking into account modern heating systems like heat pumps, which currently cause the exciting EPC calculation to sometimes downgrade a score due to the cost of running a heat pump (despite it off-setting this cost with the heat it produces).
The report suggests that some properties, such as older properties and listed properties, are exempt from the EPC C requirements due to the potentially significant costs of bringing them up to this standard.
6. Establish retrofit hubs
At Snugg, we’ve done a lot of work to address the lack of information and advice available to help people make their homes more energy efficient. So we’re pleased to see the report acknowledge this and recommend the creation of local ‘retrofit hubs’.
The report proposes that the hubs connect the local community, industry stakeholders, training providers, and repair and maintenance teams. It suggests that the hubs could help people access qualified installers and providers in their local areas. And it suggests that the hubs could enable installers to seek additional training to up-skill in the latest energy efficiency improvements, such as solar panels and heat pumps.
The Mission Zero report is extensive, at 340 pages, and includes a range of additional recommendations, including:
- Landlords to quote the ‘average bill cost’ when letting.
- Mandating that EPCs are updated on a regular basis.
- Supporting homes to include roof solar panels installation.
- Introducing incentives such as guarantees to the banking industry to offer green mortgages and loans at low interest rates.
- Including an Energy Efficiency Taskforce to encourage green finance products.
As we’ve seen, Chris Skidmore’s latest report is full of ideas. But we’ll have to wait and see which of its ideas the government will be willing to take on. We’ll keep you updated.
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