Reducing Business Emissions

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – in the House of Commons on 29th September 2020.

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Photo of Kwasi Kwarteng Kwasi Kwarteng The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

As my hon. Friend knows, helping businesses reduce emissions is crucial to delivering our net zero commitment. To tackle some of our highest carbon-intensive businesses, we have just launched the £289 million industrial energy transformation fund, and we are also extending the £300 million climate change agreements scheme to incentivise businesses to invest in energy efficiency.

Photo of Neil Parish Neil Parish Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

I thank the Minister very much for his answer. The business sector has successfully reduced greenhouse gas emissions by over 30% since 1990. However, emissions from business transport are counted separately, and transport emissions have gone down only by 3% since 1990. Does my right hon. Friend agree with me that we have a great opportunity in the UK to be a world leader in green transport—from electric vehicles to hydrogen lorries—and will he work closely with the Treasury to incentivise businesses to use more low emission vehicles in the future?

Photo of Kwasi Kwarteng Kwasi Kwarteng The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

We do have extensive plans. We have further plans for decarbonising freight that will form part of the transport decarbonisation plan, which we expect to publish later this year. We work constantly with other Departments to ensure that we can reach our net zero targets. My hon. Friend is quite right to emphasise, in particular, the role that transport plays in carbon emissions.

Photo of Matthew Pennycook Matthew Pennycook Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

If we want business to play its full part in reducing emissions and to finance the innovation and infrastructure critical to the transition to a low-carbon economy, the Government need to address the very real barriers to private investment. One obvious way to do so is through a national investment bank with a clear mandate to channel both public and private capital towards projects that aid a green recovery and help the country to achieve its net zero target. Does the Minister’s Department as a whole support the establishment of such a bank, and if so, will he update the House on what progress has been made in convincing his colleagues in the Treasury to get behind the proposal?

Photo of Kwasi Kwarteng Kwasi Kwarteng The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

It is no secret that there is plenty of discussion about a national infrastructure bank. The Green Investment Bank, which was set up in 2015, was successful, and this is something that we are constantly in conversations about.