Efficient homes, electric cars and forests key to Government climate change plan

Boosting home energy efficiency to cut bills, driving take-up of electric cars and planting a new network of forests are among measures to tackle climate change set out by the Government.

It has published its strategy to cut carbon emissions while boosting the economy and keeping bills down, with more than £2.5 billion already being invested in low carbon measures between 2015 and 2021.

The long-awaited clean growth strategy sets out measures for housing, businesses, transport, agriculture and the power sector, and to make the UK a "world leader" in green finance.

More than a million homes are getting energy saving upgrades to make them warmer and cheaper to heat through the "energy company obligation", paid for through consumer bills, and standards on new boilers will be improved.

Ministers also said they wanted all fuel-poor homes to be upgraded to at least a "C" energy performance level by 2030, with as many homes as possible reaching the standard by 2035.

Boosting the energy efficiency of homes could save an average £270 a year on household bills, they said.

The Government has also announced up to £577 million for new renewables projects and support for action to roll out a huge 10 gigawatts of offshore wind power in the 2020s.

It is spending £1 billion supporting the take-up of electric cars, developing an electric vehicle charging network and spending £841 million in innovation in low-carbon transport and fuels.

There are also plans to establish a new network of forests and fund larger-scale woodland and forest creation.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: "This Government has put clean growth at the heart of its Industrial Strategy to increase productivity, boost people's earning power and ensure Britain continues to lead the world in efforts to tackle climate change.

"The world is moving from being powered by polluting fossil fuels to clean energy. It's as big a change as the move from the age of steam to the age of oil and Britain is showing the way."

Climate Change and Industry Minister Claire Perry said: "By focusing on clean growth, we can cut the cost of energy, drive economic prosperity, create high value jobs and improve our quality of life."

There are already more than 430,000 jobs in low carbon businesses and their supply chains, and the low carbon economy could grow by 11% a year between 2015 and 2030 - faster than the rest of the economy, the Government said.

But the Government's advisory Committee on Climate Change (CCC) warned in the summer that "urgent" plans were needed as the move to a low-carbon economy was in danger of being derailed by a lack of action by ministers.

The strategy is needed to address how the UK will get back on track to meet legally-binding targets to cut emissions in the 2020s, which it is set to miss by a wide margin, and meet further legal targets by 2032.

Environmental law firm ClientEarth has warned of possible legal action if the strategy does not show how the targets will be met, which would mean the Government continued to be in breach of the UK's climate laws.

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