Environment & Energy

Scrapping the scrappage scheme

It is welcome news that UK Government has dismissed reports that it was considering a scrappage scheme for petrol and diesel cars as a short-term economic stimulus measure. In a typical scrappage scheme, the government would pay car owners to scrap their current vehicle in return for credit against a new one, thereby stimulating the manufacturing sector. However, scrappage schemes are generally not a desirable policy, because they tend to be an inefficient use of public funds, work against the grain of transport decarbonisation, and send mixed price signals alongside Electric Vehicle subsidies.

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Electricity markets under pressure

The Coronavirus has challenged all sectors of the UK economy, and electricity markets have been no exception. Electricity demand is down by as much as 20%, causing periods of negative electricity prices and unprecedented strain on the Electricity System Operator (ESO), run by National Grid. The ESO is responsible for ensuring that the system can respond to lightning strikes and faults at power stations, and that power lines don’t become overloaded. To do this, the ESO takes “balancing actions”, paying to turn down some generators and paying to turn up others.

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Outbreaks and Spillovers

Zoonotic pathogens (those that originate in animals) are a growing risk to human populations. There were three times as many outbreaks in the 1990s as in the 1940s, and cases continue to rise. The majority of new infectious diseases originate in animals, including well-known diseases such as SARS, avian flu, Ebola and HIV. Whilst too early to say for sure, it is likely that SARS-CoV2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) originated in bats. Here Policy Exchange examines what is to be done to reduce the threat to human health and the global economy.

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Time to plant – and harvest – more trees

All political parties agree that the UK needs more trees, but stimulating markets to support forestry and supporting sustainable wood use also needs to be part of land policy after Brexit, argues a new paper from Policy Exchange’s award-winning Energy and Environment...
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Bigger, Better Forests

Increasing tree cover in the UK is a matter of land use policy.
This simple fact is often forgotten amid a rush to re-forest Britain through multiple schemes and interventions. This seemingly overlooks the fact that silviculture – the art and science of growing trees – is just one subset of land management.
In the last 25 years, several government-backed new forests have been established or proposed, from the mid-1990s National Forest to the most recent ‘Northern Forest’, which is to stretch across the North East and North West of England. Though laudable and important (we propose a project of our own in this report), these schemes alone are not sufficient to address more fundamental barriers to tree planting, many of which are the direct results of public subsidies for a particular model of farming.

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Net Zero needs a democratic mandate

Related Content Net Zero will face a backlash if it doesn’t attain a proper mandate – this election must give it one, argues Benedict McAleenan from Policy Exchange This article was originally published at BusinessGreen.com   Whether its ‘Essex...
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