Renewable electricity firm Ecotricity has set out its vision of a green Britain by 2030, and how we could get there.
The document calls for 80% of our energy to come from renewables by 2030, all new cars to be electric, a UK minister for carbon, and a ban on the dumping of recyclable goods in landfill by 2025. From this and other measures, it would expect more than 2 million people to work in the green economy.
It also calls for a process of quantitative greening where the Bank of England buys bonds issued by the Green Investment Bank, rather than gilts from banks.
Ecotricity founder Vince Dale said: “The politicians we put in power in 2015 will lead the UK through a vital time for its green future. When in 2030 we come back to look back and assess our progress, will we be celebrating, or regretting, the decisions made by the next government? This election should be about our green future, and we’re not hearing enough about that.”
The document, which Dale describes as “part manifesto, part vision piece” looks at three key areas. These are energy, transport and food.
On food waste, it imagines a scenario where by 2030 the amount of food waste has been halved. This would be achieved by getting shoppers to be less literal about use-by dates and to cook up leftovers, and from encouraging businesses to stop demanding the standardisation and ‘food perfection’ for fruit and veg that drove huge amounts of waste.
It also suggests a Courtauld 2025 agreement to cut down on food and packaging waste, and less requirements on cafes and restaurants to enable them to donate leftovers to charities.
Technology by 2030 will also help to reduce waste, improve refrigeration and delivery services meaning both less waste and energy use to keep food fresh.
It imagines a scenario where in 2016, the Green Britain package adopted the proposed EU recycling targets unilaterally that had been part of the withdrawn EU circular economy package.
Targets would be set to increase packaging recycling to 80% by 2030, ban the sending of anything recyclable to landfill by 2025, and reduce food waste by 30% by 2025.
It suggests that in this Green Britain scenario, the government also extended the producer responsibility regime for packaging, and set targets for what percentage of all packaging has to be recyclable across a range of materials, which are glass, paper, steel, wood and aluminium. This also included a requirement that all plastic packaging would have to be recyclable by 2025.
In the manifesto, it highlights a vision where pay-as-you-throw is introduced in Britain with recycling a free service, but households required to pay for waste to be taken away.
When combined with investment in recycling facilities and a tightening up of the rules on excess food and product packaging, businesses responded by looking more closely at how much unneeded waste was being given to shoppers. While consumers responded by choosing products with less packaging, meaning that by 2025, Britain was able to meet its recycling targets.
Liberal Democrat former Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said the Ecotricty document is one “worth engaging with to draw out some key steps we might follow”, while Labour Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary Caroline Flint said Labour would “commit to decarbonising our electricity supply by 2030 to give businesses like Ecotricity certainty to invest”.