Response to the Green Plan

We welcome the government’s Green Plan (18.11.20), and in particular the determination to bring forward the ban on sales of internal combustion engine (ICE) cars to 2030. As Charley Grimston, Chief Executive of Altelium notes in The Guardian there are however, inconsistencies which should be addressed especially around energy creation and storage, and transport.

We need to bring power generation nearer to people, with local generation and storage of power. We have the scientific and manufacturing ability to make this happen as our experience at Altelium, a UK success story in applying information from electric batteries, proves.

With its focus on nuclear energy and offshore wind, the Green Plan announced this week moves in the opposite direction away from local energy creation and storage, and brings with it much less independence and security for the UK.

In transport, we need much greater support for the automotive industry and its supply chain. Where will all the new electric vehicles come from?  Where will the batteries be made?  £500 million for mass scale production of batteries does not compare to investment in countries such as Germany where figures are in the billions for new battery manufacturing plants.

There is no mention of autonomous cars which will bring huge opportunities as well as challenges. Funding for HS2 is in the billions and illustrates the inconsistencies in the plan. Autonomous electric vehicles could transform our roads and entire approach to vehicle ownership and travel. Yet investment in this is dwarfed by the spend on a single line of train track.

Of course, we value any support for a green post covid recovery and for the world-class scientific, manufacturing and engineering capabilities we have in this country. We had just hoped it would be more joined up and deliver on the strategic promise of the Industrial Strategy which the government unveiled in 2017.

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