Labour’s Landslide: What Does It Mean for Net Zero?

5th July, 2024

For the first time in fourteen years, we have a Labour government in a widely predicted landslide result.

What does this mean for the energy sector and the built environment?

Good news for the fight against climate change

Prime Minister Keir Starmer has declared his intent to show strong environmental and net zero leadership at home and on the global stage. He and potential Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero Ed Milliband will have support across wide swathes of the political spectrum.
At the beginning of the week, Rain Newton-Smith, chief executive of the CBI, said “the next government cannot claim to be pro-growth without also being pro-green.”

CBI economists believe “the next government could add as much as £57bn to the economy from green growth by 2030.”

With a sizeable majority and gains for both the Liberal Democrats and Greens, the new prime minister will have no problem passing an ambitious net zero agenda. We anticipate support and more certainty for the decarbonisation of energy and the built environment, including commercial property.

Focus on issues that impact the cost-of-living crisis

When the Conservative party backtracked on net zero last September, the Labour party reiterated its support for more progressive plans. Its focus has largely been on cost-of-living issues, such as housing and energy costs. However, it is reasonable to expect policies for commercial properties that set higher standards for achieving net zero. Additionally, there should be investment in renewable energy and a more supportive planning system to accommodate the industry’s growth.

Sceptics may doubt that Labour will achieve all their aims – like decarbonising the grid by 2030 – but we know we will get further with aspirational goals and strong intentions.

The manifestos were light on specifics, but here’s a quick overview of what we know so far:

Energy Independence Act
  • One of the first bills the new government is likely to pass.
  • Central to Labour’s pledge to make the UK a “clean energy superpower.”
  • Will establish Great British Energy, a publicly-owned clean power company, though will not generate its own energy supply.
  • It will be an investment mechanism for the green sector, funded by a windfall tax on oil and gas companies.
  • Will be capitalised with £8.3 billion over the next parliament.
Commitment to Renewable Energy
  • No phase-down of gas-fired power plants, but no new construction.
  • Double onshore wind, triple solar power and quadruple offshore wind by 2030.
  • Investment in carbon capture and storage, hydrogen and marine energy.
  • Investment in long-term energy storage.
Grid Infrastructure
  • Will work with industry to upgrade national transmission infrastructure and rewire Britain.
Building Standards
  • Will reinstate a requirement for private rented properties to meet EPC C or higher, but delay the requirement from 2028 to 2030.
  • Will undergo a “thorough examination” of the Future Homes and Building Standard, expected to be implemented in 2025. This could delay the government’s response to the public consultation, but will hopefully lead to long-term clarity for the sector.
Low Carbon Industry Investment
  • Will invest £7.3bn on scaling low-carbon industries over the next parliament.
  • Will bring forward both a comprehensive modern industrial strategy and a ten-year infrastructure strategy.
  • Will provide £23.7bn for green measures during the next parliament.
  • Will aim to create 650,000 jobs for the sector by 2030.
  • Will require FTSE 100 firms and financial institutions to develop and implement carbon transition plans that are aligned with the Paris Agreement.
  • Will introduce a land-use framework and make environment land management schemes work for farmers and nature.
Carbon Capture
  • Will deliver £1bn to accelerate the deployment of carbon capture.

At Low Carbon Alliance, we welcome the new government with cautious optimism, hopeful that net zero standards will improve, support for renewable energy will increase and a greener, more sustainable future will be the priority.