How the Prime Minister’s Business Council is working to deliver the UK’s green revolution
"Green growth and sustainable investments can also curb costs for average UK households. In fact, we recently began a strategic partnership with Octopus Energy to provide our customers with energy efficient home improvements."
The (local) road to Net Zero
The next phase of the journey to net zero will have to be local in nature. However, a variety of challenges make this difficult – from funding (in terms of securing it, how it’s spent and to what timescales) to the availability of physical resources and people to do the work.
The private sector, then, has the potential to finance and support local and combined authorities in driving critical infrastructure projects. However, to realise this potential, uncertainties will need to be addressed over infrastructure demand, technology risks and difficulties identifying the right business models.
This is exactly what the LLCA report has identified. To deliver the required change, policy makers and the private sector need to support the development of the required local and regional capability to design and drive delivery, facilitate the right advisory support and share delivery best practices. In addition, this must be achieved while creating clear, long-term market signals which enable businesses to grow their activities in local green infrastructure value chains.
Financing green infrastructure
Alongside all of this, we need to support the UK Infrastructure Bank as it establishes the financing conditions to crowd private capital into local green infrastructure projects – at the same time as addressing the local skills gap to decarbonise transport and build infrastructure across the UK.
Scaling all these projects up will be the real challenge though. As part of the LLCA initiative, I joined some colleagues in Leeds to visit a street of back to back Victorian housing that has been retrofitted, transforming the lives of the people living there. The team from Leeds City Council shared a wealth of insight and made it clear that there’s a need for consistency – of funding, planning and delivery.
That consistency is exactly what the LLCA can help deliver. With the right expertise, the right collaboration and the right focus, the local success stories can be scaled up and delivered at a national level. From retrofitting to EV charging, it is this scalability that will make the difference – joining up the pools of private money looking to invest in sustainable infrastructure with local projects that need investment.
"With the right expertise, the right collaboration and the right focus, the local success stories can be scaled up and delivered at a national level."
What has the LLCA achieved so far?
Over the past six months, the LLCA has been working to collaborate on projects in three areas:
- Energy efficiency - The LLCA is working with Leeds City Council (LCC) to develop a scalable city-wide retrofit scheme, as a case study to examine replicable delivery and policy solutions.
- Bus decarbonisation - The LLCA is working with Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) to identify suitable financing options for a zero emission bus (ZEB) franchising model as a case study to develop replicable solutions to accelerate ZEB adoption.
- Infrastructure for EVs - The LLCA is supporting West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to develop its Infrastructure for Zero Emission Vehicles (IZEV) strategy, providing a case study on planning for locally led, whole-system transport decarbonisation.
As a result of these collaborations the report makes the following recommendations:
- Support the development of the required local and regional capability to design and drive delivery.
- Facilitate the right advisory support and share delivery best practices.
- Create clear, long-term market signals which enable businesses to grow their activities in local green infrastructure value chains.
- Support the UK Infrastructure Bank to establish the financing conditions needed to crowd private capital into local green infrastructure projects.
- Bridge the local skills gap needed to decarbonise transport and building infrastructure across the UK.
There’s a lot to be hopeful about. And the scale of delivering a low carbon future is huge, but by collaborating effectively, the best of private and public sectors can work together to help Britain prosper and make a massive difference to people’s lives.
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