Four months after the UK ramped up its climate ambitions to adopt a legally-binding net zero by 2050 target, the government has today unveiled fresh plans to drive emissions cuts in transport and buildings.

In the same week as Extinction Rebellion protestors brought parts of central London to a standstill to demand bolder climate action, the government today published its response to recommendations made by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) this summer, promising it will “go further and faster to tackle climate change”.

The new response includes plans to “dramatically” improve the energy efficiency of commercial buildings in the private rented sector by setting a target for all rented properties to hit Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band B by 2030.

The rules could usher in a new generation of greener office and commercial buildings, while cutting carbon emissions equivalent of half a million homes, the government said.

In addition, a consultation next year will consider introducing mandatory in-use energy performance ratings for business buildings, in an attempt to get businesses to crack down on wasteful energy use. And a further consultation on making it easier for large-scale energy storage systems to win planning permission is also proposed for next year.

“Four months ago the UK took the bold step of becoming the first country in the developed world to put into law our ambition to wipe out the UK’s contribution to climate change by 2050, following the CCC’s advice,” said Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom. “This builds on our long and proud track record of leadership – since 1990 we’ve cut our greenhouse gas emissions by 42 per cent while growing our economy by more than two-thirds. More than half of our electricity currently comes from low carbon sources. And we will keep on going further and faster to ensure our action meets our ambition.”

The government also today revealed plans for a ‘Transport Decarbonisation Plan’ to be completed next year.

Details were scant at the time of publication, but the government promised it would “take a coordinated, cross-modal approach to deliver the transport sector’s contribution to our decarbonisation targets”.

It will draw together decarbonisation strategies across shipping, aviation, road, and rail transport to deliver a coherent plan for net zero emissions, BusinessGreen understands. A document setting out the scope and scale of the strategy is expected by the end of the year, with a plan of action next year.

“From driving our cars, to catching a train or taking a flight abroad, it is crucial that we ensure transport is as environmentally friendly as possible,” said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. “This is why, as well as agreeing to the CCC’s recommendation on net zero by 2050, we have launched this ground-breaking plan to achieve net zero emissions across every single mode of transport.”

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