In 2018 and 2019 the Government dramatically set reset the scale of our environmental ambitions. The 25 year Environment Plan was followed by an Air Quality Strategy that went beyond existing targets, and then the first legislated net zero target in the world. By 2020 we had a new Prime Minister and the biggest quarterly fall in GDP on record, and many expected a quiet dilution and scaling back of these goals. But instead they have been reaffirmed and in some cases accelerated as the Prime Minister has argued that a wholehearted commitment to rapid improvement of environmental outcomes as part of a ‘green recovery’ and a drive to ‘build back better’.
The Government’s commitment to this agenda is deeply welcome. But if we are to deliver this green transformation without resorting to either unaffordable levels of public spending or heavy handed regulations that overly cramp our lifestyles then it is vital that we maximise the innovation within the UK’s vibrant environmental technology and services sector.
EIC commissioned global consultancy Ramboll to undertake an analysis of the goals enshrined in the 25 Year Environment Plan and identify both the extent to which innovation is essential to meet these goals and to identify the types of innovation most relevant to different environmental objectives.