Over £500m new investment in green technologies for a cleaner and healthier future

Plans for a cleaner and healthier Britain stepped up a gear today (10 September 2019), as Ministers announced more than half a billion pounds of investment in green technologies

• £400 million fund to help develop rapid charging infrastructure points for electric vehicles

• First £70 million investment will create 3,000 new rapid charge points, more than doubling the number of rapid charge points across the UK by 2024

• Further £142.9m announced for R&D to combat air and water pollution, and increase sustainability to support Government’s ambitious commitment to tackling climate change

Plans for a cleaner and healthier Britain stepped up a gear today, as Ministers announced more than half a billion pounds of investment in green technologies.

The Treasury has launched a £400 million fund to bolster Britain’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure, with the first £70 million allocated for 3000 charge points – more than doubling the number across the UK to 5000.

Rapid charge points can recharge a family car in as little as 20 minutes, compared to existing technology which can take 40 minutes- making the reality of driving electric vehicles easier and more accessible for people across the country. The UK already has one of the largest electric vehicle charging networks in Europe, and this investment will help make that the fastest by installing state-of-the-art technology.

A review is currently underway to explore the provision of charge points across major road networks, meaning drivers could charge their car whilst stopping for a coffee at a service station. Today’s investment complements £1.5 billion support to boost the uptake of electric vehicles and make cleaner vehicles more accessible to everyone. This is part of the Government’s ambition to end the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040.

Also being announced today is £31.5 million for research into pioneering technologies to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, and £22 million to research new kinds of air pollutants and minimise their effects on public health.

Exchequer Secretary Simon Clarke said:

"We are driving ahead with plans to make travel greener while backing British innovation and technology.

"I am delighted to announce this funding today that will more than double the number of rapid charge points for electric vehicles on our roads. Britain already boasts one of the biggest networks of charging infrastructure in Europe and soon we will have the fastest thanks to this investment.

"This is the latest in our proud record on climate change –having slashed emissions by over 40% since 1990, whilst simultaneously growing our economy, and setting an ambitious target for net zero emissions by 2050."

Business, Energy and Clean Growth Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said:

"The UK has been going further and faster in tackling climate change by becoming the first major economy to legislate for net zero emissions by 2050 and helping us seize the opportunities of a greener future. With air pollution thought to kill as many as seven million people a year globally, it’s clear more needs to be done.

"That’s why we’re backing these initiatives, aimed at making improvements from battling air pollutants to protecting our invaluable sea life. These pioneering projects will help us maintain our world-leading position in this field, and to make further strides towards a more sustainable future for our planet."

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

"It’s fantastic there is already a rapid chargepoint at almost every motorway service station, and now more charging stations than petrol stations. But I want to see thousands more chargepoints installed across the UK.

"This fund will help drum up further investment in charging infrastructure from the private sector, so charging an electric car becomes as easy as plugging in a smart phone."

Further investment into green technology being announced today

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has today taken another vital step in cleaning up the planet by unveiling £142.9 million investment in green projects, including driving forward approaches to removing greenhouse gases from the air. Part of the second wave of the Government’s Strategic Priority Fund, the investment boost is evidence of the Government’s steadfast commitment to ensure a healthy, happy planet and population.

Five projects are benefiting from the significant cash injection, including:

• Greenhouse Gas Removal Technologies (£31.52m) – this will support the UK in its net zero ambitions, by driving forward approaches to remove greenhouse gases from the sky on a large scale

• Clean Air: Addressing the Challenge of Indoor & Outdoor Pollution (£22m) – the next decade will see declining transport pollution but increases in other areas like household products and adhesives. This project will look at tackling emerging air pollutants indoors and outdoors, such as air fresheners and cleaning products, to minimise their effects on public health

• Cleaner food systems for healthy people and a healthy planet (£47 million) –– this will transform UK diets to be healthier and more sustainable through changes in production, manufacturing, retail and consumption. It will deliver coherent evidence to enable concerted action from policy, business and civil society to help the UK meet its targets on obesity and greenhouse gas emissions.

• Reusing and recycling materials in innovative ways (£30 million) – this programme will drive forward new research to support opportunities to re-use and recycle materials across sectors such as food, water, textiles and electronics – as well accelerating new, greener manufacturing technologies

• Sustainable Management of Marine Resources (£12.43m) – This programme will ensure that the UK realises sustainable societal and economic benefits through better management of the UK’s marine resources, including working more closely with government, industry and the public.

Today’s announcements show the Government’s firm commitment to tackling climate change and to meeting its environmental responsibilities. As a world leader in clean growth, and the first major economy in the world to legislate to end its contribution to global warming by 2050, today’s announcements echo the UK’s commitment to being in the driving seat of the green revolution.

Further Information

• The Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund will be managed and invested on a commercial basis by private sector partners, and government will invest up to £200m to be matched by private investors.

• The fund is leveraging private investment to support the rollout of charge points for electric vehicles across the UK. The initial £70m investment has been provided by government and Masdar.

About the Strategic Priorities Fund:

• The Strategic Priorities Fund supports high quality research and development priorities. This is the second wave of funding. The SPF Wave 2 total programme funding figure is £496.8 million. The fund is being delivered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

More details about the funded projects can be found below:

1.Clean Air: Future Challenges (NERC)

Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Met Office with Innovate UK, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Medical Research Council (MRC), Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), National Physical Laboratory (NPL), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Department for Transport (DfT), Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), Scottish Government and Welsh Government.

Funding requested: £22 million over 6 years

2.Greenhouse Gas Removal Demonstrators (NERC)

NERC with Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC), ESRC, EPSRC, Innovate UK, Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Defra and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)

Funding requested: £31.52 million over 5 years

3.Sustainable Management of UK Marine Resources (NERC)

NERC with ESRC, Defra and Scottish Government.

Funding requested: £12.43 million over 4 years

4.A food systems approach for healthy people and a healthy planet (BBSRC)

BBSRC with Medical Research Council, NERC, Defra, DHSC and Food Standards Agency

Funding requested: £47 million over 6 years. Defra will contribute an additional £500k over 6 years

5.National interdisciplinary Circular Economy Research Programme (EPSRC)

EPSRC, with NERC, AHRC, Defra and BEIS

Funding requested: £30 million over 5 years