Dame Andrea Leadsom, MP: support British businesses on road to net zero

Dame Andrea speaks with ECIU as part of our 'ECIU Talks...' series. Dame Andrea talks about climate change concerns; setting deadlines and allowing businesses to get ahead; and green growth.

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By Sepi Golzari-Munro

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Dame Andrea Leadsom has called for the Government to set hard deadlines on the road to net zero to allow British businesses to get on the front foot.

The MP for South Northamptonshire and ECIU Advisory Board member spoke to ECIU in her constituency at the Silverstone Circuit, where F1 itself is planning to have net zero championships by 2030. In the first interview of the ECIU Talks... series, Dame Andrea said that policy certainty and clear deadlines - such as the phase-out date for internal combustion engines - would drive business investment and innovation.

On setting hard deadlines so businesses can get on the front foot

Dame Andrea also spoke about the proposed phase out date for gas boilers and the challenges of tackling emissions from home heating, which are due to be addressed in the Government’s upcoming Heat and Buildings Strategy.

Dame Andrea said “There’s a big discussion about whether that’s affordable. Now in my view, in setting out the deadline, businesses will find a way to make it affordable. They will compete with each other, you’ll see huge economies of scale like we’ve seen with other green technologies. But if you don’t set out the deadline for fear of the cost then you’ll never get there.

      On the cost of getting to net zero in the UK

      Mrs. Leadsom also addressed the cost of reaching net zero for the UK, which the Treasury will cover in its Net Zero Review ahead of the upcoming UN climate summit in Glasgow. She argued that ambitious action on climate change would be positive for the UK economy, saying:

      It’s absolutely right that we take really strong action now. I completely disagree with those saying it’s too expensive and we can’t afford it. The growth of the green economy will outstrip the broader economy. That is good news for the UK Exchequer. Good news for jobs and growth.

      If you look at it from the other end of the telescope, if we leave it much longer the costs of decarbonisation and of meeting the challenges of global climate change will increase tenfold, the more urgent and devastating the impact of climate change becomes, the more expensive and frightening it will be to take steps.”

      On the upsurge in public concern on climate change

      Just as a recent poll shows climate change is the second biggest concern for people after the Covid pandemic. Dame andrea says: “Since I became an MP in 2010, the number and volume and vehemence of the emails and letters I get from people on climate change has transformed, it really is a significant issue for so many people.

      Full interview below (20 mins)

      Next in the ECIU Talks... series

      Next in the interview series, we'll be speaking with Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, and chair of the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee.

      To find out about new interviews in the Net Zero Britain series as they go public:

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