Weekly Events Blog: September 13th-14th | IPT

In the last week we held two events, we returned to the parliamentary estate as well as continuing to provide virtual discussion. Both events covered topics relating to COP26, looking at net zero infrastructure and decarbonising non-recyclable waste. We were joined by a number of high profile speakers and chairs including Robert Goodwill MP, Select Committee on Environmental Audit Roger Bailey, Chief Technical Officer at Tideway, and Jacob Hayler, Executive Director of Environmental Services Association.

COP26: Building Net Zero Infrastructure 

On Monday 13 September, the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) hosted a Virtual Event between parliamentarians and industry representatives entitled, ‘COP26: Building Net Zero Infrastructure.’ The discussion was chaired by Ruth Cadbury MP, Shadow Minister for Planning and welcomed guest speakers Roger Bailey, Chief Technical Officer at Tideway and Lauren Dickerson, Commercial Strategy Lead – Social Housing, Centrica. The discussion focused on the challenges of planning to retrofit 28m homes across the UK

Key discussion points:

  • A key challenge with retrofitting UK houses is the recruitment of a skilled workforce to implement the changes. Currently, there is a shortage of skilled labour in the UK to complete this work.
  • Homeowners will need incentives to implement changes within their home. Although the installation of heat pumps or electric charging points may not come at a financial cost to them, it would still cause an inconvenience. Promotion should consider consumer needs and the priority of making their home more environmentally friendly whilst ensuring there is economic rationale.
  • Network capacity isn’t currently large enough to cover higher voltages if homes are retrofitted across the country. Networks are looking to expand and are investing in improving network capacity. Growth of the network is inevitable and necessary to meet the increasing demands.

COP26: Decarbonising Non-Recyclable Waste

On Tuesday 14 September, the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) hosted a Breakfast Meeting between parliamentarians and industry representatives entitled, ‘COP26: Decarbonising Non-Recyclable Waste.’ The discussion was chaired by Robert Goodwill MP, Select Committee on Environmental Audit. Guest speakers were Jacob Hayler, Executive Director of Environmental Services Association, Tim Rotheray, Director of Innovations and Regulation at Viridor and Professor Pauline Deutz, Department of Geography, Geology and Environment at the University of Hull. The discussion focused on ways to improve recycling rates, reduce waste and methods to decarbonise waste processes.

Key discussion points:

  • The UK has a 50% recycling rate which is encouraging as it shows the public are environmentally conscientious even without financial incentives. However, local authorities could make recycling at home easier for consumers. A joined-up approach with consistent labelling across the country would increase uptake and result in more efficient recycling.
  • The role of carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) in decarbonising waste. There is potential to heat homes at a negative emission level by using CCUS at scale.
  • Should more radical decisions be made to reduce waste? Rather than discovering how to recycle or reuse a product, should the introduction of an original product be critically challenged? Product lifespans should perhaps be considered a priority, with an emphasis on designing products to last longer. A correlating reduction in manufacturing jobs could be met by increasing employment in repairs.