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The British Energy Security Strategy is nothing short of a missed opportunity – and another example of our government stalling on implementing meaningful changes towards net zero

Written by Nicola Stopps on Wednesday, 25 May 2022. Posted in Insight, Analysis

Last month, the government announced its planned strategy to improve the UK’s energy efficiency amidst a backdrop of severe climate change and a cost of living crisis.

The British Energy Security Strategy is nothing short of a missed opportunity – and another example of our government stalling on implementing meaningful changes towards net zero

Last month, the government announced its planned strategy to improve the UK’s energy efficiency amidst a backdrop of severe climate change and a cost of living crisis.

While the Strategy claims that its immediate priority has been to provide financial assistance following a significant surge in global energy prices, it ceases to encourage simple, attested techniques in the domestic energy sector to support this notion. In addition to this blatant lack of direction, the overwhelming missed opportunity, however, is the Strategy’s lack of gumption and practicality when addressing our climate crisis as a whole. 

Alongside the strategy in question, through the government’s net-zero scheme and its ten point plan, a significant investment of £100 billion has been pledged toward the renewable energy sector. Yet the British Energy Security Strategy discussed the move away from oil and gas as being dependent on the pace of uptake toward renewable energy. Why, when we have this investment and the impetus for such change, is this significant, necessary step in the direction of combatting climate change not being prioritised? 

Despite clear, public support and grandstanding by the government at COP26 last November, there is a tepid approach when it comes to renewables. Owing to the government’s investment, there are 649 wind and solar projects that already have planning permission. A much more financially savvy proposition than the UK’s fuel imports from Russia, as renewable energy is now six times cheaper than that from gas-fired power stations. 

However, the Strategy promises nothing to cut the planning regulations in place, even though it categorically states that now is the time to “be bolder in removing the red tape” and build a “self-sufficient, British energy system” which does not depend on foreign energy. 

While the Strategy alludes to the need to remove the UK from exposure to volatile fossil fuel markets, it’s the consistent lack of plans for implementation within the Strategy which is disappointing. We cannot afford to delay action towards combatting climate change any longer and the protocol proposed by the government is nowhere near sufficient to ensure any real progress is made.

In addition to its reluctance to move ahead with significant action to renewable energy development, the Strategy lacks any fundamental strategy to reduce domestic energy use. Efficiencies such as the proper insulation of newly built homes, and retrofitting existing housing stock to fit this standard, is a process which we know genuinely works in reducing energy use. Giving priority to a British way of thinking which “doesn’t follow the grain, instead follows a gradual transition”, is only giving the government a way out of imposing a genuine, fast acting solution to the significant carbon offsetting of residential and commercial property – as well as a solution to the financial burden of energy bills for the properties’ residents. 

There are multiple industry related avenues that require the full attention of ESG, which can feel daunting, but it seems that the government are dodging simple and manageable steps which make tangible differences, instead attempting to tackle the biggest projects first.

As a country with significant investment available, as well as access to the technology and skills which can push our climate efforts forward, we should be so much further ahead than we are. The UK Energy Strategy suggests we need to be going back to basics if we want to make meaningful changes promptly – and with lasting effect.

About the Author

Nicola Stopps

Nicola Stopps

Nicola Stopps, founder of Simply Sustainable, the award-winning environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and sustainability consultancy.å

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