Labour unveils plans for carbon-neutral energy system by 2030s

Labour will unveil plans to create a carbon-neutral energy system by the 2030s including insulation upgrades for every home in the UK and enough new solar panels to cover 22,000 football pitches.

The party will set out its fast-track climate strategy on Thursday after adopting plans to work towards a net-zero carbon economy two decades ahead of the government’s legally binding 2050 target.

The plan includes 30 recommendations to tackle emissions from the energy system, including home energy efficiency upgrades such as insulation and double glazing that will focus first on damp homes and areas suffering fuel poverty.

The party also plans to install 8m electric heat pumps to help wean Britain off its use of gas heating, and build another 7,000 offshore and 2,000 onshore wind turbines to help clean up the UK’s electricity supply.

Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, said the report would kickstart Labour’s Green Industrial Revolution – but the next five years will be crucial. “The Labour party has among the most ambitious climate targets in the world and is the only party turning their targets into detailed, credible plans to tackle the climate and environmental crisis,” she said.

“The recommendations in this report could put the UK on track for a zero-carbon energy system during the 2030s, but only if rapid progress is made early on. The next five years are therefore crucial.”

The plan emerged after the party revealed a wide-ranging set of climate measures at its party conference in Brighton last month. They included a £250bn transformation fund to help drive its plans for a “green industrial revolution”, including a £3.4bn national network of electric vehicle charging points and a vow to ban sales of new fossil fuel cars by 2030.

The party’s report estimates that the investment in clean electricity and home efficiency projects could create 850,000 new skilled jobs in the green industry and increase household incomes by 2% by boosting employment, capital investment and labour productivity.

The economic predictions were prepared by a team of economists at the Sustainability Research Institute, backed by the University of Leeds, who were tasked with analysing the impact of the plans over the decade from 2020 to 2030.

Labour’s plan also has the backing of a panel of energy experts and academics who have signed up to a statement in support of the plan. The statement confirms that Labour’s energy plan is “feasible” and does not rely on “clearly implausible or inappropriate” measures to increase the UK’s low-carbon energy by 2030.

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Long-Bailey said the party was working with trade unions to “ensure that the changes to our energy system will be planned democratically, with the interests of workers and local communities at the heart of the transition”.

Rebecca Newsom, head of politics at Greenpeace UK, said “the bold report” showed the scale of investment that will be required to deal with the climate emergency.

“The report is right to say that we can’t hit net zero if we don’t immediately get on with delivering lots more renewable power, insulating homes and buildings and trialling at scale the potential solutions to heat decarbonisation. This all costs money, but investing more now will bring enormous benefits,” she said.