Tories pledge ‘green’ funding for electric cars and new forests

Ministers say the measures will help achieve the target of making the UK carbon neutral by 2050.

The Government is promising to invest up to £1 billion in developing electric cars while planting a million new trees as part of a package to help make the UK carbon neutral by 2050.

On the eve of the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, ministers said the measures were the latest step towards delivering a science-led “net zero” in line with the recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change.

They include the creation of a new fund to invest up to £1 billion over five years to boost the production of key “green” technologies in the motor industry, including batteries, electric motors, power electronics and hydrogen fuel cells.

Minsters said that as well as helping to achieve the 2050 net zero target, they would create hundreds of thousands of high-skilled, high paid jobs.
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom says the measures will reduce emissions while creating low carbon jobs (Jonathan Brady/PA)

At the same time, the Government is promising to establish a new Great Northumberland Forest, as well as creating more green spaces across the UK.
It will begin with the planting of three new forests in Northumberland, with up to a million trees between 2020 and 2024, reducing damaging carbon emissions while improving biodiversity.

Ministers are also pledging to support a programme to develop new “pocket parks” – while regenerating existing ones – on small pieces of derelict or undeveloped land in urban areas.

In other measures, the Government is committing £200 million to the initial development phase of the planned nuclear fusion power station which offers the prospect of limitless electrical power with minimal waste from 2040.

The Government has also said it is introducing new home-building standards, improving energy efficiency and reducing emissions from 2025.
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: “Addressing climate change is a top priority for the Conservative Party, and today’s announcements will not only help us reach our net zero 2050 target, but will benefit communities and households – and improve wildlife and well-being – while doing so.
“The Conservatives are doing this properly: creating hundreds of thousands of low carbon jobs and growing our economy while successfully reducing emissions.”

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers added: “The planting of one million trees will be fundamental in our commitment to be the first generation to leave the natural environment in a better state than we found it.

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