Investing in net zero projects such as solar panels, building retrofit and electric vehicle charging points across the eleven Core Cities and London will create a £500 billion investment opportunity, according to new research.
A new report for the UK Cities Climate Investment Commission (UKCCIC) launched today (Thursday) calls for ‘place-based demonstrators’ or neighbourhood pilots where green investment opportunities can be gathered together as a package, stating that this will attract returns in the form of savings, additional revenue streams and other social and environmental benefits.
The UKCCIC is a partnership between Connected Places Catapult, Core Cities UK and London Councils and aims to explore new ways of helping UK cities reach their net zero targets. Together London Councils and the Core Cities represent almost half of the UK population.
The report will now be showcased to international investors at an event in the Blue Zone of COP 26 in Glasgow on 3rd of November featuring local and international politicians.
It also outlines other investment opportunities including commercial and domestic building decarbonisation and green transport, but states that renewable electricity generation is likely the most attractive opportunity for investors.
The report adds that the total costs of getting London and the Core Cities to net zero could top £200bn, a figure that would be impossible to raise without private sector investment.
The report says that investing in renewable electricity generation across UK urban areas – including solar and battery storage – could provide fiscal returns for big financial players including pension companies and sovereign wealth funds.
Cllr Nick Forbes, Chair of Core Cities UK and Leader of Newcastle City Council said:
“This report underlines the scale of the investment potential across our 11 Core Cities and London, and the essential role that private finance can play to support the transition to net zero
“Life for many of our 30 million citizens will change dramatically over the next few years. It is our job to map out the path to net zero, and to then work with private finance to lead our cities on that journey, ensuring everyone benefits from a greener, healthier future.”
Professor Greg Clark, Chair of Connected Places Catapult said:
“The UKCCIC will accelerate opportunities for public and private investment in net zero transitions for UK cities by making the investment case and combined scale of opportunity clearer and more bankable.”
Mayor Philip Glanville, Chair of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee, said:
“London boroughs and the UK’s 11 Core Cities have a huge responsibility as economic and population centres to create solutions to reach net zero targets. Securing private finance will be critical to meeting our climate ambitions and today’s report outlines the substantial opportunities available to invest in and be part of our net zero journey.
“This commission highlights the need to work with government and private investors, but also with people and communities who, through investment, will be able to make changes and play a part in reducing the UK’s carbon emissions and supporting a green economic recovery.
“We’re excited about securing investment for the neighbourhood pilots outlined in the report, which will enable us to connect climate action, improving public health, reducing inequalities and supporting a just transition that can also address issues like fuel poverty and the cost of living crisis.”
Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Environmental Services Committee, Keith Bottomley, said:
“With COP26 just weeks away, there is now real momentum in the UK and across the world to take positive, radical action to address the climate crisis which threatens us all. In the City we’re committed to working towards a net zero Square Mile by 2040, but private sector investment is crucial in enabling the rest of the country to reach net zero status.”
Read the final stage UK Cities Climate Investment Commission report below.