Green vision could lead to half a million new jobs

A “retrofit army” of nearly half a million builders, electricians, plumbers – including 40,000 in the West Midlands – will be needed to meet the Government’s objective of becoming Net Zero by 2050.

General view of an electricity pylon near the Little Cheyne Court Wind Farm on the Romney Marsh in Kent, as electricty prices begin rise again. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday October 18, 2013.  Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire.
General view of an electricity pylon near the Little Cheyne Court Wind Farm on the Romney Marsh in Kent, as electricty prices begin rise again. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday October 18, 2013. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire.

The figures have been released as a cross-party taskforce of 24 mayors and local leaders, representing 24 million people across England.

The taskforce has submitted a proposal to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to unlock £100 billion as part of the Spending Review, which closes today.

The finance should be predominantly met from the private sector with the Treasury pump-priming £5bn via a Net Zero Development Bank.

In total, 455,076 jobs could be created – or be in demand – in the construction and property sectors.

The construction industry has been one of the hardest hit in the pandemic, with 90 per cent of businesses having applied for the furlough scheme, second only to the hospitality sector.

In total, more than three million jobs are expected to be in demand or created as part of a shift to a green economy across a range of sectors.

Of the 40,000 potential West Midlands construction and property jobs, 6,300 would be in Birmingham.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, a member of the UK100 Resilient Recovery Taskforce, said: “There is no hiding from the climate emergency we are facing as a country and we must do everything we can to tackle this and reach our carbon emission goals.

"A key part of this will be a green and inclusive recovery from the coronavirus crisis, one that delivers high-quality, well-paid jobs in high-tech new green energy sectors.

"Tackling climate change and providing people good jobs of the future go hand in hand.

"The UK100 Resilient Recovery Declaration sets out some critical priorities for cutting emissions and securing those vitally important green jobs for the future.

"That’s why we’re proud to sign-up to this declaration.”

Analysis conducted by UK100 and Siemens shows a £5bn investment by the Government could unlock £100bn of private sector investment toward meeting the Net Zero goals, including £40bn for ‘retrofit’ that compasses energy savings and efficiency in homes and businesses.

A further £10bn could be invested in renewables, such as solar, wind and biomass, £30bn for low carbon heating such as district heating networks, £10bn for smart energy systems, and another £10bn for low-emissions transport such as electric and hydrogen vehicles.

The UK Green Building Council estimates that to achieve Net Zero carbon by 2050 almost all of the UK’s 29 million homes will need to be improved.

The new ‘retrofit army’ would be supported to go green with incentives to switch from diesel and petrol white vans to electric vehicles, as well as seamless access to electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the UK.

There would also be support to encourage public transport use, walking and cycling.

The joint declaration by the 24 mayors and council leaders states: “The need for an economic recovery package that creates resilience in our communities and reduces carbon emissions has never been greater.

"The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the fragility of our economic structures, their exposure to external shocks and the need to support people in our poorest communities.

"We must seize the opportunity to create healthier, safer, greener and more prosperous communities, building in resilience to climate change through investing in the green economy."

The declaration includes a five-point resilient recovery declaration, which is being submitted to the Chancellor’s Spending Review.

The review calls for long-term government-led plan to retrofit homes across the country, and a new duty for Ofgem to support the delivery of Net Zero as part of a renewable, locally planned electricity grid.

It also includes creating a Net Zero Development Bank, a commitment to providing seamless access to electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the UK and new powers for mayors and local authorities to deliver Net Zero.

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