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Chancellor announces infrastructure commission “to get Britain building”

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On the October 5, a four-point infrastructure plan was announced changing the way vital projects are planned, determined and funded. The fourth point was to create a new independent National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), whose commissioners have been announced today. They are charged with offering unbiased analysis of the UK’s long-term infrastructure needs.

Lord Andrew Adonis is leading the Commission as its first chairman.

Commenting at the original announcement the Chancellor said: “The Commission will calmly and dispassionately assess the future infrastructure needs of the country and it will hold any government’s feet to the fire if it fails to deliver.”

At today’s launch he added: “British people have to spend longer than they should getting to work, pay more than they should in energy bills and can’t buy the houses they want because of the failure of successive governments to think long-term.

“Infrastructure isn’t some obscure concept – it’s about people’s lives, economic security and the sort of country we want to live in. That’s why I am determined to shake Britain out of its inertia on infrastructure and end the situation where we trail our rivals when it comes to building everything from the housing to the power stations that our children will need.

“This is about jobs, growth, living standards and ensuring Britain is fit for the future. We must be the builders. At the Spending Review, I will commit to investing £100bn in infrastructure over the next five years and we are creating an independent commission to give us a long-term, unbiased analysis of the country’s major infrastructure needs.

“We need to think long-term and deliver a cross-party consensus on what we need to build. I am delighted Andrew Adonis and this world-class group of experts have agreed to come together on the National Infrastructure Commission to help us do that.

At the original announcement Lord Adonis said: “Without big improvements to its transport and energy systems, Britain will grind to a halt. I look forward to establishing the National Infrastructure Commission as an independent body able to advise government and Parliament on priorities.

“Major infrastructure projects like Crossrail and major new power stations span governments and parliaments. I hope it will be possible to forge a wide measure of agreement, across society and politics, on key infrastructure requirements for the next 20 to 30 years and the assessments which have underpinned them. I will sit on the crossbenches in the House of Lords while chairing the NIC, to underpin its independent status.”

Today he said: “For Britain to get on with the job of delivering high-quality infrastructure that benefits everyone, you need more than just a commitment to invest – you need long term forward plans and the maximum possible consensus.”

The commissioners are Sir John Armitt CBE FREng FICE, The Rt Hon Lord Michael Heseltine CH, Tim Besley, Demis Hassabis, Sadie Morgan, Bridget Rosewell OBE and Sir Paul Ruddock.

Responding to today’s launch of the National Infrastructure Commission the REA’s Senior Analyst Frank Gordon today said that: “Storage is a critical component to the nation’s transition to a more decentralised energy supply. Soon communities will be able to manage much of their electricity independently and businesses will be able to better predict and insulate themselves against unpredictable energy bills. This will enable new business models in the industry and facilitate greater renewables integration.

“We believe the Commission should support energy storage as a vital element of national infrastructure.”

WWF-UK’s Director of Advocacy Trevor Hutchings said: “Building national infrastructure that delivers for consumers, the environment and businesses requires a decisive break with polluting, inefficient and high-carbon technologies.

“Lord Adonis and his commission have a great opportunity to back the low carbon industries that have been thriving in the UK, and which can move us towards a secure, profitable and clean energy future – a win-win for the environment and UK plc.  Research shows that investing in the low carbon transition will have greater GDP and employment benefits than fossil fuel alternatives.

“A good starting point for the Commission would be to recognise energy efficiency as an infrastructure priority in order to rid the UK of drafty homes and higher than necessary bills.”

Pointing to the recent public outcry around the government’s proposed cuts of up to 87% to the Feed-in Tariff (which supports small scale renewables such as solar PV) James Court, Head of Policy and External Affairs at the REA said: “Consumers in the UK have shown a hunger to control their energy futures. Communities, businesses, and homeowners seeking to produce and manage their own energy supply should be able to do so. Energy storage is a critical component of this movement. It will allow for greater grid stability and will accelerate our path towards decarbonisation.

“Lord Adonis is an excellent appointment. We hope he will bring new thinking and vision to the crucial issue of how we develop the new energy infrastructure in the UK that is so desperately needed.“

The other three parts of the plan were:

1) Planning rules on brownfield sites removed

2) Pooling 89 Local Authority pension funds into half a dozen British Wealth Funds, with assets £25 billion+

3) Sales of land, buildings and other assets the government bought or built, raising up to £5 billion

 

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A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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