In 1771, the village of Cromford, Shropshire was propelled into the history books after Richard Arkwright chose it to host the world’s first water-driven spinning factory - a decision that would forever associate Cromford as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.
250 years later, many scientists believe the dawn of the industrial era was the trigger of potentially catastrophic climate change, with the burning of fossil fuels driving up carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and stimulating the greenhouse effect. While the quantity of carbon dioxide produced by UK manufacturing is falling – 81.1 million metric tons in 2019, a decline of over 40 per cent since 1990 – the industry remains the biggest piece of the puzzle in the Government’s pursuit of NetZero by 2050.
What Is The NetZero Target?
The UK was the first major world economy to set a NetZero target for 2050.
NetZero describes the balance between the quantity of greenhouse gases produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere. When more is removed then is added, then NetZero is achieved.
For the NetZero target to be met, the Government is hoping to unlock £90bn of private investment to support businesses and consumers as they switch to cleaner, renewable forms of energy.
The Role Of Manufacturing In The NetZero Strategy
The Government has recognised the role of manufacturing in achieving NetZero and has identified five main targets:
- Levelling Up
With over half of Research and Development (R&D) expenditure focused on manufacturing businesses, further investment in advanced, environmentally friendly technologies will be vital. Harnessing the manufacturing centres of excellence in the West Midlands, the Firth of Clyde, and North-East England will boost regional supply chains and employment, while increasing the UK’s competitiveness with other global nations.
- Achieving NetZero Together
Partnership with the manufacturing industry is central to a shared approach to achieving NetZero. If decarbonisation is a feasible goal, the energy-intensive manufacturing sector must be awarded incentives to access low-carbon alternatives, such as wind and hydrogen. With average electricity costs 80 per cent higher than in the mainland EU, overseas investment in the UK will only be secured with more affordable, low-carbon energies.
- Building A Science Superpower
The Government’s ambition for the UK to become a Science Superpower can only be achieved with a strong partnership with the manufacturing industry. Greater incentives to attract investment in Research and Development and achieve further investment in R&D are crucial to secure the investment needed for NetZero technologies.
- Designing World-Class Regulatory Standards
By creating a strong regulatory environment in the UK, the Government can minimise costs to manufacturing businesses and overcome the obstacles at regional or international levels that may affect competitiveness or trading relationships with other countries.
- Supporting International Leadership
Britain has a long and robust reputation as a leader in manufacturing and has the resilience to access global opportunities that will benefit the economy while advancing the development of NetZero technologies. To this end, the Government should forge a fiscal environment that is attractive to global investors, with competitive tax rules that encourage international partnership.
What Government Need To Do
What Manufacturers need to see now is a serious recognition from Government about the role we will play and the support we will need to help then achieve their targets for Levelling Up and Net Zero.
Their 5 main targets are well meaning, but without policy and a strategic approach, there is no direction, no plan and no collaboration with the businesses who can help them achieve them.
Another reason why we need the appointment of a Commissioner for Manufacturing who can be the voice for Manufacturers within the corridors of power and ensure opportunities are not lost.
Hone-All: Committed To Supporting Positive Action Working Towards Net Zero
At Hone-All, we have a passionate commitment to supporting our customers in the drive to develop environmentally friendly technologies through proactive R&D and responsible manufacturing to help reduce carbon emissions without compromising on quality.