New report says “electrification is the only viable option for decarbonising buildings at scale”

The National Infrastructure Commission has released its Second Assessment on the state of the UK’s roads, railways and energy networks.

The report says that “the good news is that modern, reliable infrastructure can support economic growth, help tackle climate change and enhance the natural environment.”

However, it goes on to say that “We stand at a pivotal moment in time, with the opportunity to make a major difference to this country’s future. But we need to get on with it.”

It makes a series of core recommendations to government which include:

  • adding low carbon, flexible technologies to the electricity system to ensure supply remains reliable, and creating a new strategic energy reserve to boost Great Britain’s economic security
  • taking a clear decision that electrification is the only viable option for decarbonising buildings at scale, getting the UK back on track to meet its climate targets and lowering energy bills by fully covering the costs of installing a heat pump for lower income households and offering £7,000 support to all others
  • investing in public transport upgrades in England’s largest regional cities to unlock economic growth, improving underperforming parts of the national road network and developing a new comprehensive and long term rail plan which will bring productivity benefits to city regions across the North and the Midlands
  • ensuring gigabit capable broadband is available nationwide by 2030 and supporting the market to roll out new 5G services
  • preparing for a drier future by putting plans in place to deliver additional water supply infrastructure and reduce leakage, while also reducing water demand
  • setting long term measurable targets and ensuring funded plans are in place to significantly reduce the number of properties that are at risk of flooding by 2055
  • delivering a more sustainable waste system by urgently implementing reforms to meet the 65 per cent recycling target by 2035, and creating stronger incentives for investment in the recycling infrastructure that will be needed in the future.

Commenting on the findings, RSN Chief Executive Kerry Booth, says the government now needs to take a holistic approach to ensure rural areas are not left behind:

“This report highlights many of the issues RSN has been raising for several years. We can’t move forward with energy transition in rural areas until we have an infrastructure that can cope with the increased demand.

“Sadly, years of neglect by successive governments mean rural infrastructure simply isn’t fit for purpose.  I hope that this report is the first step in building a sustainable future for our rural communities.”

Read the report in full here.


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