Sustainable infrastructure is vital to the acceleration of the global clean growth and climate resilience agenda - the UK is at the forefront of new technologies and approaches.
Infrastructure is critical for the UK’s ability to continue to grow prosperity. The UK government wants to do this while:
- reducing the global impact on the environment
- bringing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050
- helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change
UK infrastructure has a compelling offer for markets across the globe, but there are numerous domestic opportunities for potential investors in areas like mining, construction, rail, and water. These opportunities are being supported by new policies and funding.
The UK’s world-leading net zero ambitions, together with our international climate leadership, are clear signals to businesses and investors of the UK’s commitment to clean growth.
Additionally, the ten point plan for a green industrial revolution and the accompanying National Infrastructure Strategy set a series of headline commitments across the economy that could contribute to net zero.
Teesside Freeport is the UK’s largest Freeport, driving growth in renewables, advanced manufacturing and the chemicals and process sectors.
Thames Freeport is Britain’s trading future. With 1,700 acres of development land across 3 zones along the Thames River, it is at the centre of Europe’s biggest consumer market.
Global forecasts show that a low-carbon future will be mineral-intensive. Graphite, lithium and cobalt are needed to meet the growing demand for clean energy technologies (including electric vehicles) and opportunities exist in the UK and abroad to source these resources. The UK is also developing policy that underpins the shift to smart mining, ensuring the most efficient use of resources, like energy and water, throughout the mining process.
Buildings account for 40% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions, so addressing the whole life carbon of buildings is a focus for the government. The UK has a world-leading Building Information Modelling (BIM) offer which can improve the carbon performance of infrastructure projects and help support sustainability in construction.
The UK is also developing modern methods of construction and investing in retrofitting our existing building stock with new technologies, such as heat pumps, to increase efficiency in building construction and use.
The demand for new equipment and services in the rail sector is driven by a national infrastructure pipeline worth over £100 billion.
The Government’s National Infrastructure Strategy 2020 sets out record levels of investment in strategic sustainable rail.
The UK’s Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy highlights incentives to take up low carbon traction by rail freight operators, plus further electrification of the rail network and battery and hydrogen train innovations.
The UK’s water supply chain will be crucial in helping the industry meet its net zero targets.
UK companies are used by many international governments and organisations to help them meet climate challenges, including:
- water scarcity
- flood resilience
- network rehabilitation
- wastewater treatment
Opportunities exist for investment, growth and export of new low-carbon technologies and services within the water sector.
Adaptation and resilience
The UK is leading on infrastructure adaptation and resilience and is providing the latest tools, advice and research to inform future climate policies. At both a national and a local level, the UK is responding to the rate of change to temperatures and weather patterns that the planet is already experiencing.
The UK has significant expertise in private and public sector finance, front-end design, and the engineering of innovative environmental solutions.
The global imperative to develop next generation clean growth technologies is driving the demand for high-tech metals. The electric vehicle revolution is also increasing the need for readily available battery metals. This demand is expected to exceed the capacity of current mines around the world, creating significant opportunities to source these metals from the UK.
The UK has committed to a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for the built environment by 2030. This will create more innovation and greater expertise with the potential to increase exports and grow productivity.
UK rail operators are seeking to procure £35 billion of new equipment and services over the next 15 years. This means expanding the supply chain by 140%, with a key focus on overhead electrification, battery and hydrogen trains.
Water is the first industrial sector in the UK to commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2030. Water is the fourth most energy-intensive industry in the UK, with 5 million tonnes of greenhouse gases emitted every year. The regulatory environment is leading water utilities to drive net zero innovations in their supply chains, including the use of digital applications. These applications have huge potential in international markets.
Academic and corporate research institutes in the UK conduct world-leading pure and applied research into every facet of the mining industry and its supply chain. Four of the world’s top 10 universities are in the UK, with each one featuring world-class geoscience, minerals and materials and engineering research centres.
The UKRI Transforming Construction Challenge is investing £170 million to accelerate the shift in construction towards sustainable manufacturing and digital processes.
The Construction Innovation Hub has been tasked with changing the way buildings and infrastructure are designed, manufactured, integrated and connected in the built environment.
UK Rail Research and Innovation Network is creating powerful collaborations between academia and industry, to innovate in the sector and accelerate new technologies and products from research into the global market.
Network Rail’s Research, Development & Innovation programme is looking to develop agile innovation processes, with sustainable and intelligent infrastructure a focus of this.
The UK’s Water Innovation 2050 strategy sets out a new vision for transformational change across the UK water sector.
Ofwat, the regulator for the water sector of England and Wales, has established a £200 million Innovation Fund to grow the water sector’s capacity to innovate, enabling it to better meet the evolving needs of customers, society, and the environment.
Adaptation and resilience
A consortium of universities and research institutes, including the British Geological Survey (BGS), is to deliver a £5 million research programme, CS-N0W, as the UK government steps up its efforts to prepare for and protect against the impacts of climate change.
The 4 year programme, funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), will produce world-class research and transformative advice, digital data and tools that will provide cutting-edge scientific knowledge to deliver a thriving, low-carbon, greener future.
Business and government support
To encourage growth in the UK and support the transition to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, the government is establishing the UK Infrastructure Bank. Together with the private sector and local government, the Bank will lead a shared mission to accelerate investment in the UK’s infrastructure.
The Transport decarbonisation plan sets the transport sector on the path to net zero by 2050. The future low-carbon transport economy also offers significant potential for economic growth, job creation, and the opportunity for the UK to become a global leader in technology for green and sustainable transport solutions.
Connected Kerb is one of the UK’s leading providers of residential and workplace electric vehicle (EV) charging solutions, with a compelling vision to make EV charging sustainable, affordable and accessible for all. By constantly striving for the highest environmental and accessibility standards, with reliability at the core, the company has developed an award-winning charging network and is planning international expansion next year.
Connected Kerb is focused on serving urban populations globally who are unable to charge their EVs at home. It believes the best way for EVs to make a significant contribution to meeting global net zero goals is to scale the convenience and reliability enjoyed by EV users with driveways.
Connected Kerb charging points do more than just charge a vehicle but are designed to power the world’s smart cities of the future. Their units support advanced telco solutions and smart technologies such as air quality sensors, IoT and 5G with a sustainable design and market leading power management system that delivers superb value for both the purchaser - such as councils, or residential and commercial developers - and the end user. This has resulted in sustained hyper-growth for the company which expects to have deployed more than 1000 public EV charging assets in 2021, with 10,000 units already contracted for delivery by 2024.