Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil, and using more energy efficient tools and devices will help us to save money and protect the environment. Lowering carbon emissions will also reduce the effects of climate change, and developing new sources of green energy, including from new nuclear stations, will help us to improve our security of supply and to control costs. The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak has recently set out a new agenda from the government to get the balance right between making the changes we need to reach our target of Net Zero by 2050, whilst ensuring that we do so in ways that are affordable for everyone. Net Zero doesn’t mean that there will be no carbon emissions by 2050, rather that there will be a balance between the carbon that is emitted, and that which is removed from the atmosphere. The UK is already one of the leading nations for cutting carbon emissions, which have nearly halved since 1990, the fastest rate of reduction amongst the G7 nations.
Making the transition from petrol and diesel vehicles to their electric counterparts is one the biggest changes we can make to reduce carbon emissions, but we need to give people more time to do this. So, like France, Germany and the USA, in the UK we will allow new petrol and diesel vehicles to be sold until 2035. We will also give households more time to switch to heat pumps. We will never require people to rip out their existing boiler, instead they will only have to install a heat pump when replacing their boiler, and again this will be from 2035. In addition to this, expensive energy efficiency requirements will no longer apply, which will help families with the cost of making their homes more energy efficient. The Prime Minister has also stated that there will be no new rules on carpooling, no new taxes on flying, no new taxes on meat or dairy, and no requirement to have seven different household recycling bins. The government has also said that it will allow oil and gas exploration in the North Sea to continue as it is better for the environment for this energy to be sourced as close to home as possible rather than being imported. We are also committed to further investment in new nuclear technologies and renewable energy.
On 22nd September I was delighted to visit the Folkestone School for Girls, to join representatives from Samsung, to present Talikha, a year eight student, with her award for winning a national competition organised by the technology company. Samsung’s ‘Solve for Tomorrow, Next Gen’ competition challenged students aged between 11 and 15 to come up with ideas to help make everyone feel included in society. Talikha’s brilliant concept was called ‘Auxi Pen’, which would write like a pen, but also send signals to a digital device to alert someone when they are spelling words incorrectly. This could allow students with dyslexia to make corrections to their work as they go along without needing to refer to a teacher. This winning entry was chosen from more than 2,500 who applied. Many congratulations to Talikha and the Folkestone School for Girls, I look forward to seeing the first prototype being developed.
Published: Thursday 28 September 2023