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Net Zero Emissions Target

Volume 696: debated on Tuesday 25 May 2021

The Government have laid legislation for the UK’s sixth carbon budget, proposing a target that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 78% by 2035 compared with 1990 levels, marking another ambitious and decisive step towards net zero by 2050. Our 10-point plan will bring together £12 billion of Government investment, unlocking three times as much private sector investment by 2030 and supporting up to 250,000 green jobs.

I thank the Energy Minister for her answer. I know she will have been as disappointed as I was that we were not able to visit the Ibstock Brick factory in Chesterton yesterday, and I look forward to welcoming her up to Newcastle-under-Lyme soon. In the meantime, will she say what the Government are doing to support our vital manufacturers, such as Ibstock Brick, to decarbonise and at the same time support jobs?

Yes, I was very sad not to get there. Sadly a cow on the line caused a level of disruption to LNER services yesterday, which delayed my always relatively long journey from the north further south. However, I hope to be able to visit before too long. In March, the Government published the UK’s first ever net zero strategy for industry. It is the first strategy published by a major economy that sets out how industry can decarbonise while remaining competitive and without pushing emissions abroad. Our £350 million industrial energy transformation fund will support businesses with high energy use to cut their bills and reduce carbon emissions.

Consumer awareness of the environmental impact of the actions they take, the things they buy and the food they eat will be key to helping us achieve net zero. Can the Minister set out what steps the Department is taking to help consumers make more informed environmental choices?

Last November, we unveiled the brand Together for Our Planet to raise awareness of climate issues and support the public in making those important green choices. In parallel, we have funded several digital tools that can help people reduce their carbon footprint, including the Simple Energy Advice service on how to reduce energy use in the home and the Go Ultra Low website, which provides information on electric cars and vans. Our upcoming net zero strategy will set out our approach to supporting the general public to make green choices, which will be a critically important part of our journey.

A key part of achieving net zero will be exploring alternative energy sources. One of those that was mentioned by the hon. Member for Southampton, Test (Dr Whitehead) was deep geothermal. I am working with stakeholders across Bishop Auckland to explore making Bishop Auckland a centre of excellence for geothermal energy. Will my right hon. Friend visit me in Bishop Auckland to discuss that in much more detail?

I hope to be able to reach Bishop Auckland with speed, as it is just round the corner, and I am always happy to meet my hon. Friend to discuss new energy projects. Compared with many countries, high geothermal temperatures are found at a much deeper depth in the UK, but we recognise, as I said earlier, that geothermal could indeed form part of our solution to decarbonise our heating. I welcome the opportunity to discuss energy opportunities in this area and look forward to meeting her and her constituents.