CLA responds to PM’s Ten Point plan

19 November 2020

The Prime Minister has set out his ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution.

Following this announcement, Country Land & Business Association President Mark Bridgeman has responded to some of the key aspects that will affect rural businesses.

Offshore wind:

“This is an important step to decarbonise power, but for the UK’s energy system to be resilient, we need diversity in low carbon power sources, such as solar and biomass. Rural areas can help these grow, providing there’s more investment in the grid to ensure it can balance these types of generation and provide local capacity for clean heat and electric vehicles.”

Hydrogen: 

“Hydrogen could play an important part in energy storage but will currently do little to help rural areas, as most rural properties aren’t connected to the gas grid. The Government needs to invest in the necessary infrastructure to make this viable for rural properties.”

Electric vehicles: 

“If Government is serious about phasing out diesel cars and replacing them with electric cars, then the infrastructure required in rural areas to make this a reality needs urgent action.

“Both charge-points and sufficient capacity in local electricity grids need to be available for rural businesses, of which there are around 550,000 in England alone, if they are to keep up with their urban counterparts and take advantage of greener, cleaner transport. Fast-tracking rollout of these charge-points can create jobs and safeguard the rural economy, which is already 16% less productive than the national average.”

Homes and public buildings:

“It’s encouraging to see the Green Homes Grant  scheme extended, which the CLA advocated in its Spending Review submission to HMT. However, the next tranche of funding must include interventions suitable for rural homes, which are the least energy efficient due to challenges of being off the gas grid. Changing heating type has a much bigger effect on decarbonising rural homes than what can be funded under the scheme at present.

Nature: 

“Landowners want to plant more trees, but if the UK target is to be met of 30,000 hectares per year, woodland creation, particularly in England and Wales, needs to be made easier and more attractive than the current land uses. Better advice and much-needed grants would help achieve this.”

Innovation and finance: 

“Farmers and landowners have a crucial role to play in restoring our natural environment, and this can be done through ELMS and Biodiversity Net Gain.

“Green finance must support increased private investment in the management of the nation’s natural capital and the full range of economic benefits this provides.

Innovation could cover agri-tech investment in more sustainable farming as well as nature-based solutions to issues such as climate change, flooding and water quality.”

Commenting on the creation of new Government parks to help the green recovery, Mr Bridgeman added:

“Our designated landscapes are living, working places. We are often told that people who live in designated landscape areas feel that their needs for jobs, housing and services are forgotten by Government, and that they do not benefit from economic growth.

"Therefore, we have been pressing Government for the implementation of a third statutory purpose for designated areas, to foster the socio-economic wellbeing of communities who live and work in these places. This would help deliver the Government’s objective of “levelling up” and ensure these beautiful areas remain sustainable.”