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Statement regarding UK green policy announcement (September 2023)

We express deep concerns regarding the green policy announcements made by the Prime Minister on the 20th September 2023.

electric vehicle

On behalf of our extensive network of more than 8,000 registered environmental professionals with verified competence, the Society for the Environment (SocEnv) express deep concerns regarding the green policy announcements made by the Prime Minister on the 20th September. The policy changes outlined in this announcement raise significant questions about the government’s commitment to delivering the UK’s net zero and adaptation targets. 

For the UK to reach net zero by 2050 as laid out in law, we need those with the environmental knowledge and expertise to have the opportunities and tools to lead the way. These policy reversals are hugely detrimental to our chances of delivering net zero in the timeframe as committed, as experts and investors need a clear and stable policy environment in order to achieve tangible change. Without a clear direction of travel towards achieving net zero, investment in the skills needed for green jobs will not keep pace with what is required to get us there.   

These policy reversals fail to recognise the economic, social, and environmental benefits of achieving net zero. Reflective of an incoherent policy environment, the government’s own net zero strategy recognises these benefits, stating that the strategy’s implementation could create another 440,000 well-paying jobs and unlock £90 billion in private investment by 2030. The strategy included stopping the sale of new combustion engine vehicles and gas boilers by 2030 and 2035 respectively – vital policies which have now been significantly weakened in Wednesday’s announcement. 

We call on the UK government to reconsider these policy changes and provide assurance of their commitment to reach net zero by 2050, as well as towards creating a more stable, joined-up policy environment.