COP26: How environmentally friendly are Windsor and Maidenhead?
The government has announced a series of new policies as part of its goal of dramatically reducing carbon emissions and tackling climate change.
Its long-awaited net zero strategy, outlining plans to meet legal targets to end its contribution to climate change by 2050, was released ahead of the crucial UN Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow.
Key policies include expanding the electric vehicle network and further measures to encourage renewable heating in homes.
We have reviewed the progress made on green initiatives in Windsor and Maidenhead so far.
Electric vehicle charging
The government’s net zero strategy included an announcement of £ 620million for electric vehicle subsidies to support the deployment of charging infrastructure nationwide.
The figures show that Windsor and Maidenhead are behind many other parts of Britain with the pace of its electric vehicle charging points being rolled out.
Statistics from the Ministry of Transport show that there were 40 public charging points in the region in early October, up from 32 a year earlier.
But at a rate of 26 per 100,000 people, that’s well below the UK average of 39.
Since October 2019 – when the numbers started at the local authority level – the number of devices in Windsor and Maidenhead has increased by 11.
In the UK, an additional 10,800 devices were made available over the same period, bringing the total to 25,900 in October.
Households will also be eligible for government grants of £ 5,000 to install low-carbon heating systems as part of home emission reduction plans.
The £ 450million boiler upgrade program – which will open from April next year – will help homeowners swap their gas boiler for a more efficient air-source heat pump.
It will be launched at the same time as a similar program, the Renewable Heat Incentive, is closed to new applicants.
People who sign up for the home version of RHI receive quarterly payments for the amount of clean, green renewable heat their system is estimated to produce.
Data from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy shows that 94,000 renewable heating systems had been installed in Britain via RHI by the end of September, 15% more than in September 2020.
Of these, 141 were installed in Windsor and Maidenhead, paying for 8,866 megawatts per hour for energy.
This is a 24% increase from the 114 systems installed in September of last year, which means Windsor and Maidenhead are moving at a faster pace than the national average.
An extension of the Energy Company Obligation scheme, which aims to reduce carbon emissions and help people at risk of energy poverty by forcing energy companies to implement heat saving measures, was also announced.
BEIS data shows that 2.3 million homes across Britain had been fitted with ECO measures by the end of June – including 2,470 in Windsor and Maidenhead.
The net zero plans also include other multi-million pound investments to develop new clean technology, help green hydrogen projects get started and create forests.
Officials insisted that the strategy will meet commitments to reduce greenhouse gases by 68% by 2030.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The UK’s path to ending our contribution to climate change will be paved with well-paying jobs, billions of investments and thriving green industries, fueling our green industrial revolution at across the country. ”
But Rebecca Newsom, Greenpeace UK politician, said the plans look “more like a choice and a mix than the substantial meal we need to achieve net zero”, and ignore the need to reduce the consumption of meat and dairy products.