RESPONSE ISSUE 06
GREEN TRANSITION IN THE UK SURVIVES BREXIT In a post-Brexit world Britain can still lead the way towards a low-carbon future, argue experts. By Kristine Barenholdt Bruun
he Brexit vote in June 2016 has cast uncertainty over what the UK’s economy and green transition will look like in the future. What form will environmental legislation take moving forward? Will it continue to be guided by European law, as is the case in Norway? Or take a new, independent course? Jonathan Gaventa, Director of the Londonbased think tank E3G, has no doubts about the continuation of the UK’s green transition: “A vote to leave the EU may have left many distraught, but the underlying fundamentals of the low-carbon economy are strong, and the direction of travel for the transition to a lowcarbon economy remains largely unchanged,” he explained recently in his blog at www.climatechangenews.com. Tim Clare, environmental expert and Principal at Ramboll UK, agrees: “The international agreements on climate change and other environmental issues signed by the UK, not to mention the public’s ever-growing power as consumers, will continue to drive the sustainability agenda in the UK.” Thousands of green jobs Shortly before the Brexit referendum, Ramboll was appointed to provide engineering consultancy on the Lynemouth power station conversion from coal to 100% biomass. When finished, the project will reduce the plant’s CO2 emissions by 90%. The project is the largest of its kind in the UK and one of the largest bioconversions in the world – and Ramboll is providing 50 man-years towards its completion. According to experts, projects like Lynemouth are proof of the UK’s continued political
commitment to converting the country’s rundown coal plants into sustainable energy sources. The UK is still bound by international agreements like the Paris Agreement from COP21 – and nothing indicates that this will change. Furthermore, the British Trade Union Congress has claimed that the green economy could offer vital support for a post-Brexit Britain. In a new report, ‘Powering Ahead – How UK industry can match Europe’s environmental leaders’, the congress argues that the UK’s cleantech sector has the potential to create thousands of jobs while simultaneously decarbonising energy generation. According to the report, to meet the climate change commitments while also supporting balanced economic growth, both the UK and Europe must have a sustainable industrial strategy.
The Lynemouth power station continues the conversion from coal to biomass.