Labour 'to unveil fast-track decarbonisation strategy'

Reports that Labour is to unveil plans today to create "a carbon-neutral energy system by the 2030s", including "enough new solar panels to cover 22,000 football pitches" and 2,000 new onshore wind turbines, feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Guardian reports that the party "will set out its fast-track climate strategy on Thursday after adopting plans to work towards a net-zero carbon economy two decades ahead of the government’s legally binding 2050 target". The paper says that, among its proposals, the party "plans to install 8m electric heat pumps to help wean Britain off its use of gas heating, and build another 7,000 offshore and 2,000 onshore wind turbines to help clean up the UK’s electricity supply".

An article in The Financial Times (subscription) says a report by consultancy Capital Economics has found that the UK "will have to spend £240bn installing an average of 4,000 electric vehicle charging points and heat pumps a day if the government is to meet its target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to ‘net zero’ by 2050". The paper says the report "said 25m electric vehicle charging points and 22m heat pumps will be required at homes and in public places in one of the starkest assessments to date of the cost of meeting the decarbonisation target adopted by the UK this year. A further £48.5bn will be needed to upgrade electricity networks to cope with the extra demand, bringing the total cost to £286bn."

The FT also reports that "the government’s proposed environment watchdog is ‘fragile’ and lacks independence while the new targets aimed at improving air and water quality are too distant, according to a group of cross-party MPs". The paper says that, "in its first assessment of the environment bill since it was published, the environmental audit committee said the Office for Environmental Protection would be unable to scrutinise the government properly".

The Guardian reports that "retailers have axed 85,000 jobs in the past year as weak consumer demand, rising costs and the switch to online shopping, exacerbated by Brexit uncertainty, have put businesses under increasing pressure". The paper says that "the job losses in the UK’s biggest private employment sector – with particular importance for women – are the latest sign of a crisis on the high street that has seen the closure of thousands of shops and the collapse of some well-known retail names".

The Guardian reports that the Ribble Valley in Lancashire is "officially the happiest place in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics". The paper says that, "on a scale of 0 to 10, Ribble Valley residents scored an average of 8.30 when asked by government surveyors about how happy they felt. This compared with an average of 7.56 for the country at large."

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