On the road to decarbonisation: the UK’s strategy

On the road to decarbonisation: the UK’s strategy


At COP26 in Glasgow, delegates and government representatives from around the world are still debating the best ways to achieve the climate summit’s first objective, which is to agree emissions reductions targets that will enable us to reach net-zero.

So far, there has been an agreement by more than 100 countries to curb methane emissions by 30% by 2030; a welcome development given that methane comes second only to carbon dioxide in its longer lasting impact on global warming.

While the debates and negotiations at COP26 continue, we’ll take a look here at what the UK government has pledged to undertake in its effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve decarbonisation by 2050, focusing on the headline plans laid out for heat and buildings, transport, power, industry, and fuel supply and hydrogen.


Heat and buildings

The UK has an estimated 30 million buildings which currently contribute 17% of national emissions. Recognising that the energy efficiency of homes, businesses and non-domestic buildings will have to be significantly improved to achieve decarbonisation, the government has committed to several initiatives to ease the transition to low-carbon buildings.

New schemes include phasing out natural gas boilers by 2035 in addition to bringing down the cost of heat pumps (replacing gas boilers) by investing and growing that market. In support of this objective, a new £450 million Boiler Upgrade Scheme has been introduced to help households with the transition.

And under the banner of energy efficiency, the government has said that all homes should achieve and EPC rating of C for privately rented homes by 2028; fuel-poor homes by 2030; all homes by 2035. For non-domestic property a C rating needs to be reached by 2027 and B by 2030. Ambitious targets that will require investment and close monitoring and planning.



This sector is the biggest culprit for greenhouse gas emissions. An incredible 23% of all emissions (data from 2019) are produced by domestic transport with the majority coming from passenger cars, closely followed by heavy and then light goods vehicles. An emissions percentage of that magnitude requires equally large investment and effort to combat the effects.

Electric vehicles (EV) and charging points are pivotal to decarbonising transport. The sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans will end from 2030 and manufacturers of these vehicles will be mandated to have a percentage of zero emission vehicles from 2024.

Electric car carbon emissions

An additional £620 million has been pledged to support the transition to EV, which also comes with a commitment to ensure a charging network that’s reliable and fit for purpose. Local transport networks and cycling and walking options also receive investment to support the decarbonisation strategy.

We’re delighted to announce that the Inteb team will be playing a significant role in EV charging infrastructure; to find out why and how you can follow us on LinkedIn to receive our blogs and updates.



The government has made a bold statement in its net-zero strategy to ensure that all of our electricity is derived from low carbon sources by 2035. In order to stand by this statement, funding for the offshore wind industry will amount to £380 million, partly to achieve the target of delivering 40 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030. Investment in low-carbon domestic electricity generation will also mitigate the effects of a unpredictable gas prices and provide a level of security across the network.

Nuclear power has significance with a final investment decision awaiting on the development of a large-scale nuclear power plant and investment for the development of Small Modular Reactors. And the smart meter rollout is still prevalent in the decarbonisation agenda with the introduction of a new framework that will give energy suppliers annual, fixed installation targets.



Great progress has been made over the last two decades with the effort to reduce emissions and that’s due partly to improved energy efficiency in manufacturing and increased use of low-carbon fuels. However, industry is still a major producer of carbon dioxide. The government has pledged to support the industry transition to greener fuels and grow new industries in low carbon hydrogen as well as delivering six carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS) ‘clusters’. Deployment of the CCUS will be supported by the £1 billion CCS Infrastructure fund.

On-site decarbonisation and energy efficiency measures will also be supported through the £315 million Industrial Energy Transformation Fund (IETF).


Fuel supply and hydrogen

The net-zero strategy also briefly outlines the government’s intention towards fuel supply and hydrogen which involved job creation and driving additional investment from both public and private sources, and a pledge to deliver 5 gigawatts of hydrogen production capacity by 2030. The £140 million Industrial and Hydrogen Revenue Support (IDHRS) scheme will fund new models for hydrogen and industrial carbon capture. It also laid out the commitment to halve emissions produced from oil and gas.


A view of net-zero

Some critics claim that the strategy is insufficient in terms of ambition and investment if we’re to achieve decarbonisation by 2050. In a lot of areas it’s a case of wait and see and hope that the funds promised reach their intended target. It will be interesting to see how the strategy aligns with the outcome of COP26. We’ll keep you posted.

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