The path to net zero

The path to net zero

Climate Assembly UK

Preface

Preface – a guide to this report

Welcome to  The path to net zero: Climate Assembly UK report . This information is designed to help you navigate this report and find quickly the content of most interest to you.

This report contains:

About the detailed chapters

Chapters 2–11 each contain:

Please note: Assembly members were asked to think about both the advantages and disadvantages of potential recommendations, and we have included full accounts of what they said. This means there are disadvantages listed for recommendations the assembly strongly supported, and advantages listed for recommendations that they did not. We have also left in contradictory opinions, where they existed. Assembly members' votes show the relative importance that they placed on the advantages and disadvantages they identified, and their final decisions having considered all points of view.

This report does not contain transcripts of the information presented to the assembly by the forty-seven speakers who gave evidence to it. You can find these, alongside videos of the presentations and the speakers slides, at climateassembly.uk/resources/.

The Climate Assembly UK team

Forewords

Foreword from Committee Chairs

When Parliament agreed in June 2019 to set in law a commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 that was the easy part. The hard bit is to determine how we get there and then do it.

How should we go about making those choices? What is the contribution of each sector to achieving a decarbonised economy?

Because whatever combination of policy choices is made, there will be an impact on every taxpayer, every business, on the way every one of us lives our lives. No government in a democracy can address climate change on its own; it is a communal effort requiring the input, understanding and support of the people. Almost every facet of life and policy area will be affected.

That is why six select committees joined together last year to set up a citizens' assembly on climate change. When Parliament legislated on net zero, the committees decided to make the focus of the assembly how this target should be reached. We asked it to consider the complex trade-offs involved in reaching decisions on issues including: how we travel; what we eat; what we buy; how we heat our homes; how we generate our electricity; how we use the land.

The voice of Climate Assembly UK is important because it is unique: a body whose composition mirrors that of the UK population. People from all walks of life taking the time to inform themselves on complex issues, discussing the topics with experts and each other, and reaching conclusions.

On behalf of the six select committees that established Climate Assembly UK, we want to express our gratitude to all the 108 assembly members who gave up their time to take part. We have been enormously impressed by their commitment, not least in wanting to complete the assembly online after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic made it impossible to hold the final weekend in Birmingham.

We also want to thank the assembly for giving us such a clear set of recommendations on the path to take. Assembly members were clear on the underlying principles that should govern our policy choices, including the importance of information and education and the need for fairness, to support those who might be adversely affected by the transition to net zero. They were clear on the need for Government to lead the debate and take the actions necessary to reach net zero. And they were clear on the need for a cross-party consensus, to give long-term certainty on the policy choices made.

Forging consensus is what we do on our cross-party select committees, on the basis of the evidence and what in our judgement is acceptable to the public. That is why the considered view of the assembly is so important. In each of our committees, we will study the relevant recommendations of the assembly and the reasons behind them, to inform our work in advising the Government on how to make progress in our respective policy areas and holding it to account for any slacking.

The path to net zero must be a joint endeavour, between Parliament, the people, Government and business. The assembly has more than delivered on the task we set it last year. The challenge is now for us in Parliament and for Government to navigate the pathways that have been set out in order to reach our agreed destination of net zero by 2050.

Mel Stride MP Chair, Treasury Committee

Darren Jones MP Chair, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee

Foreword from the Expert Leads

The UK is one of the first countries to commit to achieving net zero emissions, and will host next year's international climate summit, COP26. This is an important period to show how leadership on climate change can be sustained at a time when the world is dealing with the impacts of the global coronavirus pandemic.

The UK has already made good progress with emissions reductions, but meeting future carbon budgets and the net zero target will be very challenging. Action is needed to transform our economy and society.

This transformation will not only be achieved through ramping up investment in technologies such as electric cars, offshore wind farms and home insulation. Citizens also have a crucial role to play. The way we live our lives, what we buy, how we travel and what we eat will all have an influence. So it is essential to work with citizens to make sure their views are heard, and develop strategies that fit with people's lives and aspirations.

Climate Assembly UK is a unique process that has helped to meet this need. It has brought together a representative group of 108 citizens and provided them with the space to understand, discuss and prioritise actions the UK should take.

The assembly took many hours of planning. We worked closely with Involve and the assembly's advisory groups to ensure that members would be provided with fair, balanced and comprehensive evidence on the different ways in which net zero could be achieved. This included a lot of time for the members to ask questions, discuss the evidence with each other, and to reach conclusions. There was also an opportunity to discuss topics that assembly members themselves considered to be important.

The value of all the planning became clear once the assembly began to meet in January. The 108 participants were no longer just a statistical sample of the population – but a real, diverse group of citizens from all over the UK. They were fully engaged from start to finish: questioning speakers, debating and testing different points of view. The team from Involve1 did a fantastic job of facilitating this process, and ensuring a wide range of views were heard in a respectful and balanced way.

This report provides detailed insights into the discussions and decisions of assembly members. The results of the votes will inevitably catch the eye. But the report also shows how nuanced the discussions were – including the reasons for assembly members' views, and the all-important conditions attached to some of the decisions.

This report provides vital new intelligence about the views of the UK public on the way forward. We strongly encourage decision-makers in government, industry and other organisations to read it in detail – and to take these views into account.2

Chris Stark Committee on Climate Change

Professor Jim Watson University College London

Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh University of Bath

Professor Rebecca Willis Lancaster University

Executive summary

Opening statement from Assembly Members

We come from all walks of life and all across the UK. We have, between us, many different values, views and experiences. But we have worked together in an atmosphere of respect, co-operation, tolerance and humour to arrive at the considered recommendations in this report.

Our recommendations and the reasons for them are necessarily numerous and detailed. But there are a number of themes that have recurred throughout our discussions that we believe should be at the heart of government's and Parliament's approach to achieving net zero:

Above : Assembly members listen to a speaker.

Some of our strongest views centre on leadership and roles. It is imperative that there is strong and clear leadership from government – leadership to forge a cross-party consensus that allows for certainty, long-term planning and a phased transition. This is not the time nor the issue for scoring party political points. The Covid-19 pandemic that has caused so much suffering brings with it new considerations, but it does not change the need for progress towards the UK's climate goals.

Alongside government leadership, we recognise that achieving net zero will require a joined-up approach across society – all of us will have to play our part. Our recommendations take account of this reality. They seek to provide individuals, communities and organisations with the information, incentives and conditions to make change possible. We hope that our report will be an invaluable resource to government and Parliament as they work to ensure that the UK reaches net zero by 2050.

About Climate Assembly UK

In June 2019, the UK Government and Parliament agreed that the UK should do more to tackle climate change. They passed a law committing the UK to reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Decisions about how the target is reached will affect many aspects of people's lives.

Climate Assembly UK was commissioned by six select committees of the House of Commons3 to examine the question:

"How should the UK meet its target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050?"

The committees aim to use the assembly's results to inform their work in scrunitising government.

The assembly's 108 members come from all walks of life. Together they are representative of the UK population in terms of: age, gender, ethnicity, educational level, where in the UK they live, whether they live in an urban or a rural area, and their level of concern about climate change.4 The Sortition Foundation recruited assembly members using a process known as 'sortition' (please see Chapter 1). Access, inclusion and assembly members' wellbeing were a priority for the Climate Assembly UK team.

"I was a bit worried that it would just be the people who were most passionate about the crisis – that you'd get an influx of people so it would be very one-sided and biased. So to come in and find it is a complete representation: I've spoken to people for who it's a complete crisis – to complete denial or don't believe it's a real thing, that end of the spectrum. So to see that representation was quite a surprise and really refreshing for someone like myself."

Assembly member – Chris, 32, from Oxford

Above : Sir David Attenborough addresses Climate Assembly UK.

The assembly met for six weekends between late January and mid-May 2020  – the first three took place face-to-face in Birmingham; the last three online after the arrival of Covid-19 in the UK. At the weekends, assembly members heard balanced, accurate and comprehensive information about how the UK could meet its net zero target.5 They then engaged in detailed discussions about the best way forwards, before reaching their recommendations. The assembly considered ten topics in total:

The assembly was open and transparent, whilst protecting assembly members' identities. Speakers' presentations were publicly available via online live-stream as they happened, and can now be found on the Climate Assembly UK website.6 The assembly was open to a wide range of media, stakeholders, officials and politicians so that they could observe its proceedings. The assembly was funded by the House of Commons, with additional funding from two philanthropic organisations: the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the European Climate Foundation. The two philanthropic organisations did not have a say in how the assembly was run or what it covered. Delivery of the assembly was led by The Involve Foundation ('Involve'), with the Sortition Foundation and mySociety (please see Chapter 1).

The path to net zero: Climate Assembly UK report recounts the assembly's detailed and considered view of its recommended path to net zero by 2050. Taken together the recommendations provide an internally consistent and coherent vision, and are designed to be considered as a whole.

Underpinning principles

Assembly members' first decision was on the principles that should underpin the UK's path to net zero. They worked in small groups to discuss and draft the principles, before using a vote to prioritise them.

In total, assembly members agreed twenty-five underpinning principles for the path to net zero.

Votes indicate how many assembly members felt a principle should be a priority, not how many supported it.7

Principles for the path to net zero, in order of priority

  1. Informing and educating everyone (the public, industry, individuals and government) – 74 votes
  2. Fairness within the UK, including for the most vulnerable (affordability, jobs, UK regions, incentives and rewards) in actions, not just words – 65 votes
  3. Leadership from government that is clear, proactive, accountable and consistent – 63 votes
  4. Protecting and restoring the natural world  – 59 votes
  5. Ensuring solutions are future-proofed and sustainable for the future – 45 votes
  6. A joined-up approach across the system and all levels of society (working together, collaborating, sharing) – 40 votes
  7. Long-term planning and a phased transition – 39 votes
  8. Urgency – 37 votes
  9. Support for sustainable growth (including pioneering innovation) – 37 votes
  10. Local community engagement embedded in national solutions – 33 votes
  11. Think about our impact globally and be a global leader – 32 votes
  12. Use of mix of natural and technological solutions – 32 votes
  13. Transparency and honesty – 32 votes
  14. Underpinned by scientific evidence and focused on the big wins – 29 votes
  15. Equality of responsibility for individuals, government and business – 28 votes
  16. Achievable – 27 votes
  17. Everyone should have a voice (e.g. via local representation and participation, or in holding government to account) – 27 votes
  18. Regular independent checks on progress – 27 votes
  19. Fairness for the most vulnerable globally  (less developed countries) – 24 votes
  20. Making the most of potential benefits for everyone (e.g. health, wellbeing and the economy) – 24 votes
  21. Enabling and not restricting individual choice – 23 votes
  22. Protect the UK economy, including from global competition – 18 votes
  23. Compromise about changing lifestyles  – 15 votes
  24. Those who bear the most responsibility should act – 13 votes
  25. Not negatively impacting other institutions – 4 votes

Assembly members returned to these principles, and considerations related to them, throughout the assembly.

Above : An assembly member asks a speaker a question.

How we travel on land

The ways we travel on land include cars, vans and lorries, as well public transport like buses, coaches and trains. They also include 'active transport', for example walking, cycling and scootering. Together these ways of moving around account for 70% of the UK's total greenhouse gas emissons from transport and 23% of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions overall.8

Key recommendations

Assembly members recommended a future which minimises restrictions on travel and lifestyles, placing the emphasis on shifting to electric vehicles and improving public transport, rather than on large reductions in car use. They recommended:

Assembly members identified 18 considerations that they would like government and Parliament to bear in mind when looking at how we travel on land and the path to net zero. A full list can be found in Chapter 3. Assembly members' ten highest priority considerations were:

In addition, assembly members recommended fifteen policies aimed at moving quickly to low carbon vehicles, increasing public and active transport, or discouraging car ownership and use. Policies supported by at least two-thirds of assembly members were:

On public transport

On the cars we drive

On active transport

On travelling less

How we travel by air

Air travel accounts for 22% of the UK's total greenhouse gas emissions from transport, and 7% of the UK's total greenhouse gas emissions overall. Emissions from flying have grown significantly in the last 30 years.12

Key recommendations

Assembly members identified 14 considerations that they would like government and Parliament to bear in mind when looking air travel and the path to net zero. A full list can be found in Chapter 4. Assembly members' ten highest priority considerations were:

What the future should look like

Assembly members would like to see a solution to air travel emissions that allows people to continue to fly. Assembly members felt that this would protect people's freedom and happiness, as well as having benefits for business and the economy. Assembly members' support for continued flying did, however, have limits. Assembly members resoundingly rejected a future in which air passenger numbers would rise by as much as 65% between 2018 and 2050, labelling it "counterproductive". Instead, assembly members sought to find an acceptable balance between achieving the net zero target, impacts on lifestyles, reliance on new technologies, and investment in alternatives. Assembly members recommended a future in which:

How change should happen

80% of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that taxes that increase as people fly more often and as they fly further should be part of how the UK gets to get zero (see Figure 1). Assembly members saw these taxes as fairer than alternative policy options. They also suggested a number of points around their implementation for policy-makers to bear in mind. Assembly members would like to see the airline industry invest in greenhouse gas removals. 75% of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that this should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. There was also significant support for financial incentives from government to encourage a wide range of organisations to invest. Assembly members tended to feel that 'the polluter should pay', although some suggested a need to monitor, scrutinise and perhaps enforce airline industry investment to ensure it actually takes place. Assembly members strongly supported the need to invest in the development and use of new technologies for air travel. 87% of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that this should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. These technologies could include electric aircraft and synthetic fuels.

Figure 1: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

A carbon tax on all fights 12%

Taxes that increase as people fly more often 21%

Taxes that increase as people fly more often 21%

Taxes that increase as people fly more often and as they fly further 68%

Figure 1: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

In the home

Around 15% of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions come from the residential sector. Reducing these emissions means changes to the use of heating, hot water and electricity in the home.13

Key recommendations

Assembly members' recommendations on heat and energy use in the home show a strong push for action. They also consistently emphasised their support for:

Some assembly members noted concerns about the influence and behaviour of big companies and around the use of personal data.

What the future should look like

On home retrofits, assembly members emphasised the need to minimise disruption in the home, put in place support around costs, and offer flexibility and choice to homeowners. They had a slight preference for upgrading each home all in one go (56%), compared to upgrading each home gradually (44%) but attached conditions to the former around how it is financed. Some assembly members stressed that the choice between gradual and all-in-one retrofits should be one for homeowners.The best technology to use for zero carbon heating is a matter of significant policy debate. However at least 80% of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that each of hydrogen (83%), heat pumps (80%), and heat networks (80%) should be part of how the UK gets to net zero.94% of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that "people in different parts of the country should be offered different solutions to zero carbon heating" (see Figure 2). They argued that areas should be able to choose the technologies best suited to their needs.

How change should happen

Assembly members emphasised the need for a long-term strategy with a wide range of actors taking steps to move the sector towards net zero. Assembly members strongly supported roles for government investment (80%), local solutions (80%), individual responsibility (80%) and market innovation  (80%).

Figure 2: "People in different parts of the country should be offered different solutions to zero carbon heating" (%)

Strongly agree 68%

Agree 26%

Don’t mind/unsure 0%

Disagree 3%

Strongly disagree 3%

Figure 2: "People in different parts of the country should be offered different solutions to zero carbon heating" (%)

Assembly members also backed a wide range of specific measures to create change. A majority of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that 19 policy measures should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. Policies supported by at least two-thirds of assembly members were:

What we eat and how we use the land

Assembly members looked at food, farming and land use together because of the impact they have on one another. In total, about a tenth of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions currently come from farming and ways we use the land.

Above : One of the speakers, Dr Modi Mwatsama from Wellcome, presents to the assembly.

Key recommendations

Assembly members put forward eight considerations for government and Parliament to bear in mind when making decisions about food, farming, land use and the path to net zero. These focussed on (for the full, detailed wording please see Chapter 6):

  1. Providing support to farmers;
  2. Information and education;
  3. Using land efficiently;
  4. Rules for large retailers and supermarkets;
  5. More local and seasonal food;
  6. Making low carbon food more affordable;
  7. Some, just less, meat;
  8. Considering net zero as part of planning policy and new developments, including support for allotments.

What the future should look like

Assembly members recommended a future for food, farming and land use in the UK centred around:

Assembly members highlighted the need for the above to be combined with measures to support farmers to make the transition, and ensure changes do not disproportionately affect the less well off. Assembly members said changes should not compromise animal welfare, and expressed strong concerns about GM and lab grown food. They asked for policy-makers to take into account the implications for smaller farms, the suitability of different land for different uses, and differences in impact between UK regions .

How change should happen

Assembly members recommended policies to change both farming, food production and land use, and retail and individuals' behaviour. At least two-thirds 'agreed' or 'strongly agreed' that nine policies should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. These were:

Full details of assembly members' views on these policies can be found in Chapter 6.

Above : One of the speakers, Professor Paul Ekins from University College London, takes questions from assembly members.

What we buy

The things we buy are linked to climate change because they use energy, and some of that energy comes from fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas.

Products use energy while they are being made, through services we use when we buy them and because of how they reach us. Some products also need energy to run. When we then throw products away that has implications for climate change too. The UK has traditionally sent most of its waste to landfill sites. Some of this waste generates potent greenhouse gases as it rots.

Key recommendations

Assembly members' recommendations on 'what we buy' entail changes for businesses in particular, but also for individuals. Assembly members identified five areas as key:

  1. Assembly members strongly supported a future in which businesses make products using less – and lower carbon – energy and materials. They backed a range of specific policies to support this aim, including 'resource efficiency targets and standards' (91%), an 'amended procedure for awarding government contracts that gives preference to low carbon companies and products' (83%), taxes on producers, products and services (83%), and 'extended producer responsibility' (79%).
  2. Assembly members supported the idea of individuals repairing and sharing more, with less purchasing of new products. They backed 'measures to enable product sharing' (77%) including technical and financial support to businesses who offer sharing or renting services.
  3. Assembly members felt strongly about the need for better information to promote informed choice and changes in individual behaviour. They supported 'labelling and information about the carbon emissions caused by different products and services' (92%) and 'product labelling and information campaigns about what can be recycled and why it's important' (92%). They also backed 'advertising bans and restrictions' on high emissions products or sectors (74%).
  4. Assembly members supported a range of measures aimed at increasing recycling, including 'deposit return schemes' (86%), 'increased doorstep recycling' (85%), and 'grants and incentives for businesses' to improve recycling, develop new materials and make goods from recycled materials (77%).
  5. Assembly members called for long-term commitment from government and Parliament. They emphasised the importance of cross-party support to prevent policies changing when governments change, as well as the need to look at both quick wins and long-term solutions.

Above : Assembly members listen to a speaker.

In addition to these five areas, some assembly members raised points for government and Parliament to consider around imports, ring-fencing any tax revenue generated by the above policies, and protecting consumers from increased costs. Some also highlighted trust and compliance issues relating to business, asking for transparency, honesty, strong enforcement, and reliable and independent information and schemes.

Assembly members did not support policies around changing income tax or working hours, personal carbon allowances, voluntary agreements, recycling requirements and pay-as-you-throw schemes.

Figure 3: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

Advertising bans and restrictions

40% Strongly Agree

34% Agree

9% Don’t mind or unsure

9% Disagree

9% Strongly disagree

Changes to income tax or working hours

6% Strongly Agree

11% Agree

9% Don’t mind or unsure

26% Disagree

49% Strongly disagree

Personal carbon allowances

11% Strongly Agree

14% Agree

17% Don’t mind or unsure

40% Disagree

17% Strongly disagree

Measures to enable product sharing

17% Strongly Agree

60% Agree

9% Don’t mind or unsure

11% Disagree

3% Strongly disagree

Taxes on producers, products and services

37% Strongly Agree

46% Agree

6% Don’t mind or unsure

11% Disagree

Extended producer responsibility

40% Strongly Agree

34% Agree

25% Don’t mind or unsure

3% Disagree

Figure 3: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero?(%)

Where our electricity comes from

How the UK generates its electricity is a central question on the path to net zero. The UK still produces a significant amount of its electricity from fossil fuels, particularly gas. This emits carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming and climate change.

All the UK's electricity generation will need to come from low carbon sources if it is to meet its net zero target. The UK is also likely to need more electricity in future due to an increase in electric vehicles and electric heating.

Key recommendations

Large majorities of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that three ways of generating electricity should be part of how the UK gets to net zero :

Assembly members tended to see these technologies as proven, clean and low cost, with wind-based options suitable for a "windy" UK. Offshore wind had key additional benefits, particularly being "out of the way". Solar power was viewed as flexible in terms of where it can be located, among other advantages.

Some assembly members suggested a range of points to bear in mind when implementing all three technologies. These included their location and environmental impact, progress on electricity storage, ways to incentivise and facilitate uptake, visual design, and where they are manufactured.

Assembly members were much less supportive of bioenergy, nuclear and fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage – although, particularly for bioenergy, significant numbers of assembly members were unsure about its use:

For some assembly members, their view on bioenergy would depend on how bioenergy is produced, including what is being burnt, how production is regulated, and therefore what its environmental and CO2 impacts are. Assembly members' concerns about bioenergy included burning trees and crops, land use, environmental effects, and a feeling that better alternatives exist.

Above : A question and answer session is live-streamed online.

Assembly members saw three main disadvantages to nuclear : its cost, safety, and issues around waste storage and decommissioning.

Their concerns about fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage centred on safety risks (if carbon leaked during storage or transfer), the continued use of fossil fuels, and a feeling that it only provides a "short-term", expensive solution when better alternatives are available.

Assembly members did not hear detailed evidence about tidal, wave, hydro and geothermal technologies. However, assembly members were in principle supportive of the use of these final four ways of generating electricity, particularly for suitable local areas.

Figure 1: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following technologies should be part of how the UK generates electricity? (%) 5

Onshore wind

44% Strongly Agree

34% Agree

12% Don’t mind or unsure

7% Disagree

2% Strongly disagree

Offshore wind

80% Strongly Agree

15% Agree

5% Don’t mind or unsure

0% Disagree

0% Strongly disagree

Solar power

51% Strongly Agree

30% Agree

11% Don’t mind or unsure

5% Disagree

1% Strongly disagree

Bioenergy

10% Strongly Agree

30% Agree

36% Don’t mind or unsure

20% Disagree

4% Strongly disagree

Nuclear

12% Strongly Agree

22% Agree

18% Don’t mind or unsure

23% Disagree

23% Strongly disagree

Fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage

4% Strongly Agree

18% Agree

22% Don’t mind or unsure

29% Disagree

27% Strongly disagree

Figure 4: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following technologies should be part of how the UK generates electricity? (%)15

Greenhouse gas removals

Achieving the UK's climate change target requires reducing greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible. However reducing emissions alone will not be enough.

Above : Assembly members discuss the issues.

By the middle of this century some emissions will still remain. For the themes considered by Climate Assembly UK, this is particularly true of air travel and farming. The assembly's recommendations in these areas suggest remaining emissions by 2050 of between 45–55 million tonnes per year. The assembly therefore considered how best to remove these remaining emissions from the atmosphere.

Key recommendations

Assembly members suggested that a combination of greenhouse gas removal methods will be needed to achieve the UK's net zero target.

Assembly members recommended that four greenhouse gas removal methods should be part of how the UK gets to net zero:

Assembly members saw these methods as the most "natural" and as having significant co-benefits, including around preventing flooding and erosion, promoting biodiversity, access to nature and enjoyment. Assembly members also set out a number of conditions around their implementation, including that it is planned and managed well (for example, planting the right trees in the right places), support for farmers, sustainability, and the balance of land use.

Assembly members were less supportive of Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) and Direct Air Carbon Capture and Storage (DACCS). Only 42% of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that each of these methods should be part of how the UK gets to net zero, while 36% (BECCS) and 39% (DACCS) 'strongly disagreed' or 'disagreed'.

Common concerns about BECCS and DACCS included the potential for leaks from carbon storage sites and a feeling that they failed to address the problem, including a risk that they are "treated as [a] magic solution" that "takes the focus off the amount that we are emitting in the first place." Assembly members also saw these methods, particularly DACCS, as being less natural, costly and unproven in terms of the technology they require.

Whilst BECCS and DACCS received limited support, some assembly members are keen that further research and development takes place. Some noted that these technologies could perhaps then be used more in the future or that they might be needed to "mop up" remaining CO2.

Figure 5: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following greenhouse gas removal methods should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (% votes)

Forests and better forest management

81 % Strongly Agree

18 % Agree

1 % Don’t mind or unsure

Restoring and managing peatlands and wetlands

50% Strongly Agree

35% Agree

13% Don’t mind or unsure

2% Disagree

Enhancing the storage of carbon in the soil

24% Strongly Agree

38% Agree

23% Don’t mind or unsure

12% Disagree

3% Strongly disagree

Using wood in construction

42% Strongly Agree

40% Agree

15% Don’t mind or unsure

1% Disagree

3% Strongly disagree

Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage

7% Strongly Agree

35% Agree

22% Don’t mind or unsure

18% Disagree

18% Strongly disagree

Direct air capture

11% Strongly Agree

31% Agree

19% Don’t mind or unsure

21% Disagree

18% Strongly disagree

Figure 5: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following greenhouse gas removal methods should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (% votes) 

Covid-19, recovery and the path to net zero

The arrival of Covid-19 in the UK saw an additional item added to the assembly's agenda. At the request of both Parliament and assembly members themselves, space was made for consideration of the changed context for reaching net zero created by the pandemic, lockdown and their economic impacts.17

Assembly members' views on this topic are significant. There is no other group that is at once representative of the UK population, and well-acquainted with the sorts of measures required to reach net zero.

Recovery

A large majority of assembly members (79%) 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that, 'steps taken by the government to help the economy recover should be designed to help achieve net zero'. When giving their rationale, they most frequently recommended that the government:

Assembly members who were unsure or who disagreed with the statement tended to emphasise a need to focus on economic recovery first and foremost.

Another large majority of assembly members (93%) 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that, 'as lockdown eases, government, employers and/or others should take steps to encourage lifestyles to change to be more compatible with reaching net zero'. Assembly members expressed support for encouraging homeworking and changes to how we travel, and again noted that this "tough and sad time" presents an opportunity for change. They also saw a key role for government in providing leadership and information, alongside roles for business and local areas.

Figure 6: "As lockdown eases, government, employers and/or others should take steps to encourage lifestyles to change to be more compatible with reaching net zero" (%)

54% Strongly Agree

39% Agree

3% Don’t mind or unsure

3% Disagree

3% Strongly disagree

Figure 6: "As lockdown eases, government, employers and/or others should take steps to encourage lifestyles to change to be more compatible with reaching net zero" (%)

Impact on the assembly's thinking

Assembly members tended to avoid expressing 'strong' 18 views about whether Covid-19 and the lockdown had made them think or feel differently about how the UK should get to net zero. In general their comments reflected the changed context created by Covid-19 rather than requests for alterations to specific recommendations.

Overall assembly members tended to agree that their thoughts and feelings about the path to net zero in general had changed (62%). They talked about a new sense of opportunity for change, and altered perceptions of what is possible (e.g. what government can do). They also noted lifestyle changes that are already happening. Some highlighted the economic impacts of the pandemic, suggesting, for example, that they make reaching net zero more difficult.73% of the assembly members who had looked at 'how we travel' during assembly weekends two and three said that Covid-19 and lockdown had changed their thoughts and feelings about how to get to net zero in this area. They noted:

Only a minority of assembly members said that their thoughts and feelings had changed about the other assembly themes discussed prior to lockdown: 'in the home' (35%), 'what we eat and how we use the land' (36%), and 'what we buy' (36%).

Additional recommendations

On the final assembly weekend, all assembly members discussed what further recommendations they wanted to make to Parliament and government. Assembly members worked together to draft suggested additions, which could be on any aspect of the path to net zero. The suggestions were then put to a vote of the whole assembly.

Above : Assembly members discuss the issues.

Assembly members did not hear any new evidence to inform their votes. Their decisions were based on their own experiences, values, views and knowledge, and the information they had heard throughout the assembly. They had the option to abstain or choose 'unsure'.

In total, assembly members voted in favour of thirty-nine additional recommendations. They did not pass two further proposals.

The recommendations touch on themes including: transparency, accountability and decision-making; education, communication and engagement; international action and impacts; and incentives, payments, conditions, and taxes.

Additional recommendations passed by the assembly

For the full list and wording of each recommendation – some are detailed – please see Chapter 11. The ten recommendations that received most support were:

  1. The transition to net zero should be a cross-political party issue, and not a partisan one (96% support 19);
  2. More transparency in the relationship between big energy companies and government (94% support);
  3. Get to net zero without pushing our emissions to elsewhere in the world (92% support);
  4. Incentives to accelerate progress to net zero and conditions attached for organisations seeking government financial support (91% support);
  5. A robust media strategy on the outcomes of the Assembly (90% support);
  6. An independent neutral body that that monitors and ensures progress to net zero, including citizens assemblies and independent experts (89% support);
  7. Move away from fossil fuels and transition to new energy sources (89% support);
  8. Products and services labelled to include their carbon footprint (89% support);
  9. A follow up on the outcomes of the Assembly covering what has been taken into account, what hasn't and why (88% support);
  10. Harness the response to Covid-19 and COP26 to drive international coordinated action on climate change (87% support).

Proposals not passed by the assembly

The assembly did not pass two proposals. Both focussed on reaching net zero by an earlier date than 2050. Slightly more assembly members opposed such a move than supported it, with the balance held by those who were 'unsure' or 'didn't mind.'

Above : Assembly members listen to a speaker.

Assembly members' views of the assembly

An independent evaluation of Climate Assembly UK will be published in Spring 2021. However, initial results suggest that assembly members viewed the assembly positively.

Statement about the assembly, from the survey completed by assembly members after all six weekends% assembly members ‘strongly agreed’ or ‘agreed’% assembly members ‘don’t know / unsure’% assembly members ‘strongly disagreed’ or ‘disagreed’

‘I have understood almost everything that the other members of my small group said during our discussions’

98

1

1

‘I have understood almost everything that was presented by the speakers’

95

4

1

‘I have had enough information to participate effectively’

91

5

4

‘The information I have received has been fair and balanced between different view points’

78

16

6

‘The assembly has helped me clarify my views about how to reach net zero’

96

1

3

‘I have learned a lot during the assembly about how UK can achieve net zero by 2050’

95

3

2

‘My fellow participants have respected what I had to say, even when they didn’t agree with me’

94

5

0

‘I have had ample opportunity in the small group discussions to express my views’

95

2

3

The initial results also:

"Like everyone else, I really enjoyed the entire experience, and I am sorry that it has now come to an end. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I am truly grateful to have been given the chance to take part."

Assembly member

About Climate Assembly UK

In June 2019, the UK Government and Parliament agreed that the UK should do more to tackle climate change. They passed a law committing the UK to reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The target means that by 2050 the UK will have to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases it produces to a much lower level than today, and balance its remaining emissions by removing the same amount from the atmosphere. Decisions about how the target is reached will affect many aspects of people's lives.

It is against this backdrop that six select committees20 of the House of Commons decided to commission Climate Assembly UK21 – the first UK-wide citizens' assembly on climate change. The committees asked the assembly to examine the question:

"How should the UK meet its target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050?"

The committees aim to use the assembly's results to inform their work in scrunitising government.

Climate Assembly UK has 108 members, who together are representative of the UK population in terms of both demographics and their level of concern about climate change (please see Section A below). They met as an assembly over six weekends between the end of January and the middle of May 2020. This report presents their recommendations – assembly members' detailed and considered views on the path to net zero.

About this chapter and citizens' assemblies

Governments and parliaments around the world are increasingly using citizens' assemblies in their work. The assemblies enable decision-makers to understand people's informed and considered preferences on issues that are complex, controversial, moral or constitutional. The UK Parliament commissioned its first citizens' assembly, the Citizens' Assembly on Social Care, in 2018.

Citizens' assemblies have a number of key features including:22

This chapter looks at how Climate Assembly UK worked across each of these areas. It also includes a brief introduction to how the assembly's results are presented in the rest of this report.

A. Introducing the assembly members

"I felt like I'd won the lottery when I got the letter. I'd be daft not to do it – it's amazing to get the chance to have a say and influence what may happen in the future. I was in the army for 22 years so I've not got a problem meeting new people and learning new things, I'm really looking forward to it. I hope Britain can take a leading role with making the changes we need to secure our future."

Assembly Member – Marc, 46, from Newcastle

Climate Assembly UK's members come from all walks of life, and all across the UK – from Belfast to Bolton. They include parents, grandparents, and people without children; health workers, engineers, and full-time carers. At the time we first heard from them, the oldest was 79 years old; the youngest 16. None of them had ever met before.

Together they are representative of the UK population in terms of:

Above : Sir David Attenborough addresses Climate Assembly UK.23

The Sortition Foundation24 recruited assembly members using a process known as 'sortition' or a 'civic lottery.' Sortition is recognised internationally as the gold standard method for recruiting citizens' assembly members.

"I am grateful to the 110 people from all corners of the United Kingdom who are giving up their weekends to take part in this very important discussion of how we in the UK reach our net zero emissions target. These people have been picked to represent our population as a whole, they come from all walks of life, and together they will deliberate carefully on behalf of us all. We should listen closely to their recommendations."

Sir David Attenborough, Naturalist & Broadcaster

A.1 How recruitment worked

The recruitment process for assembly members had three stages.

Stage one – letters to a randomly selected households

"I was quite intrigued by the letter. To be asked for my opinion is unusual so it was certainly interesting."

Assembly member

The recruitment process started with Parliament sending out letters to addresses randomly selected from Royal Mail's Postcode Address File: 80% of the addresses were randomly selected from the whole file; 20% from the most deprived areas within the file.25

The letters 26invited those aged 16 years or over, who are permanent UK residents 27, living at an address that received a letter, to take part in the assembly. 28 Recipients had the option to respond online or by phone to say that they were free on the relevant dates and would be interested in taking part. 29When they replied, we asked them a small number of demographic and attitudinal questions – those needed to be able to ensure that the assembly's eventual membership was representative of the UK population across the seven criteria described above.

Stage two – random stratified sampling, done by computer

"I do hope there will be an opportunity for us all to meet up again. The Climate Assembly has been an extremely interesting and worthwhile experience for me and one which I feel very privileged to have participated in. Thank you computer!!!"

Assembly member

Once the deadline for responses had passed, the Sortition Foundation used random stratified sampling by computer30 to generate a list of 110 people to become assembly members.31 The computer selected no more than one person from any single household.

Sortition Foundation contacted these 110 individuals to let them know that they had been selected and to confirm their availability. They replaced anyone who dropped out at this stage, ensuring the assembly's overall membership continued to be representative. They also contacted all other respondents to let them know they were on a reserve list and could be contacted if anyone withdrew before the first assembly weekend.

Stage three – liaison and final replacements

"I'm looking forward to taking part in the assembly and learning a lot more, and I think I have some great ideas to contribute."

Assembly Member – Maia, 44, from London

Involve, the public participation charity that would run the assembly weekends (please see Section D), took over contact with assembly members from this point. They focussed on ensuring that everyone had everything they needed ready for the first assembly weekend. This included providing any necessary support, for example with booking travel.

A number of assembly members had to withdraw during this stage for a variety of personal reasons. Involve replaced these assembly members with people from the reserve list, ensuring that the assembly's membership overall remained representative of the UK population.

A.2 The assembly's make-up

"I was a bit worried that it would just be the people who were most passionate about the crisis – that you'd get an influx of people so it would be very one-sided and biased. So to come in and find it is a complete representation: I've spoken to people for who it's a complete crisis – to complete denial or don't believe it's a real thing, that end of the spectrum. So to see that representation was quite a surprise and really refreshing for someone like myself."

Assembly member – Chris, 32, from Oxford

All but two of the 110 assembly members arrived at the Climate Assembly UK venue for the assembly's first weekend. This made a total assembly membership of 108 people.32 The table below shows how these 108 assembly members compare to the UK population:

CriteriaUK population[^14] %Assembly members %No. of assembly members

Age

16–29

21.7

23.1

25

30–44

23.9

25.9

28

45–59

25.0

24.1

26

60+

29.4

26.9

29

Data Source: ONS estimate mid-2018.

Gender

Male

49.1

48.1

52

Female

51

50.9

55

Other

No data

0.9

1

Data Source: ONS estimate mid-2018.

Ethnicity

White

87

83.3

90

BAME

13

16.7

18

Data Source: ONS UK Census 2011.

Education

No Qualifications / Level 1

36.3

36.1

39

Level 2 / Level 3 / Apprenticeship / Other

36.5

34.3

37

Level 4 and above

27.2

29.6

32

Date source for England and Wales: ONS 2011 UK Census. Data source for Scotland: Scottish Government’s Scottish Surveys Core Questions 2013. Data source for Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, Northern Ireland Census 2011.

Geography

England

North East

4.0

4.6

5

North West

11.0

11.1

12

Yorkshire and The Humber

8.3

8.3

9

East Midlands

7.2

7.4

8

West Midlands

8.9

8.3

9

East of England

9.3

9.3

10

London

13.4

12.0

13

South East

13.8

12.0

13

South West

8.4

8.3

9

Wales

4.7

5.6

6

Scotland

8.2

9.3

10

Northern Ireland

2.8

3.7

4

Data Source: ONS estimate mid-2018.

Rural/Urban

Urban

82

79.6

86

Rural

18

20.4

22

Data source for England and Wales: UK Government, Rural population 2014/2015. Data source for Scotland: Scottish Government, Rural Scotland – key facts 2018. Data source for Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, Northern Ireland Census 2011.

Climate views

Very concerned

52

49.1

53

Fairly concerned

33

32.4

35

Not very concerned

9

14.8

16

Not at all concerned

5

2.8

3

Other

1

0.9

1

Data Source: Ipsos/Mori, July 2019 (Q: How concerned, if at all, are you about climate change, sometimes referred to as ‘global warming’?

Assembly members' attendance throughout the assembly remained high. Ill-health and other personal reasons occasionally meant that one or more assembly members missed a weekend.33 However this never had a significant effect on the percentages in the table above.

Assembly members spent much of their time at the assembly working in small groups. We created seating plans to make sure there were a diverse range of assembly members at each table, in line with the seven recruitment criteria. We changed the seating plan every day during the offline weekends and for each session during the online weekends.

Above : Assembly members discuss the issues.

A.3 Access, inclusion and wellbeing

"Edd, Rebecca and the rest of the red [support] team you've made me feel so welcomed, relaxed and at ease on all three of the hotel weekends. You answered all of my queries, questions and emails no matter how trivial it may have been. You've all been so friendly and chatty. You've been with me every step of this whole experience, even when I've been tired and emotional. I stepped completely out of my comfort zone and [taking part] wouldn't have been possible without all of you."

Assembly member

Access and inclusion were key considerations throughout the assembly.34 Prior to the first weekend, they influenced decisions such as our venue choice (a fully accessible venue), the venue's location, and the timings of the events. We gave assembly members an honorarium of £150 per weekend35 for their participation, as well as covering their travel, accommodation and food/drink. Where relevant we covered costs such as childcare and the attendance of parents/guardians. We paid all costs relating to assembly members bringing carers with them to the weekends. We also met other access needs by, for example, providing hearing loops, headsets and materials in large print.

"The tone set by Involve was perfect. It was welcoming, open and yet firm and assertive. It encouraged people to behave well and to take the assembly very seriously. It created an atmosphere of respect, co-operation, tolerance and humour. People from all walks of life were able to discuss and share with each other in a way they wouldn't have managed in a different setting."

Assembly member

Access and inclusion remained key considerations at the assembly venue. In the first assembly session, assembly members drafted conversation guidelines for themselves. Examples included "respect others' backgrounds and opinions", "ensure everyone can participate", "be calm and polite", and "be honest and don't be afraid to give your opinion." The facilitators36 at the weekends helped to ensure that assembly members were mindful of the guidelines at all times. They also used facilitation techniques that helped ensure everyone had a voice. We worked with the Expert Leads and speakers (please see Section D) to make the information presented to assembly members as accessible and digestible as possible.

We took a number of additional steps around access and inclusion when the assembly moved online due to Covid-19. These included minimising the amount of time assembly members, including those with young children, had to spend online at any one point, and ensuring that all assembly members had a way to participate in the sessions for free. We provided technical support and a guided chance to get to know the platforms we would be using. We provided flexible arrangements, where needed, for how and when assembly members could participate.

"They were all so mindful of our needs and sympathetic to the different levels of confidence we had. A particular mention of the 'Quiet Room' staff. I hadn't expected to find this facility and was impressed that it had been thought of. I used it myself on a couple of occasions and found it to be an oasis of calm."

Assembly member

Another critical consideration was assembly members' wellbeing . 37 There was a support team both at and between weekends whose focus was to look after assembly members. We asked assembly members to fill out feedback forms at the end of every assembly weekend so that we could check for any issues. We also checked-in with each assembly member individually after each event to make sure all was well.

At the assembly venue in Birmingham we created a designated Quiet Room, staffed by a trained member of the team. Assembly members could use it at any time if they were feeling unwell, distressed, in need of some space, or for any other reason. When the assembly moved online, we instead provided a phone number that assembly members could use to reach trained members of staff.

Above : Assembly members discuss the issues.

B. The assembly weekends

The assembly was originally intended to run over four weekends in Birmingham, between the end of January and the end of March 2020. Three of these weekends happened as planned. The arrival of Covid-19 in the UK led to the fourth and final weekend being postponed and then moved online.

"It was disappointing that weekend four didn't go ahead, but obviously we have to protect everybody's health, so it was the right thing to do. I am glad that it is going forward in some capacity and I think that doing it virtually is the best way to do this." 

Assembly member – Sharon, from Yorkshire

We split the intended content for the offline weekend four over three online weekends to ensure the assembly remained accessible (please see Section A.3 above).38 Following requests from assembly members, Parliament and the Expert Leads, we also added a session on the implications of Covid-19 for the path to net zero.39

The content of each weekend was as follows:

Weekend one

"Being here and seeing all these people, from all walks of life, representing the UK population, all so involved and willing to help make a change is really inspiring."

 Assembly Member – Ibrahim, 42, from Surrey

All assembly members heard from, and questioned, three panels of speakers. The panels covered an introduction to climate change and the net zero target; and overarching ethical, practical and strategic questions about the path to net zero.

Assembly members also reached their first decisions, on principles that should underpin the UK's approach to meeting its climate target (please see Chapter 2).

Weekend two

"It's an eye-opener all the new things I'm learning – incredible."

Assembly Member – Amanda, from Kent

On the Friday evening of weekend two, assembly members focussed on ways to consider the information they would receive throughout the assembly process.40 On Saturday morning, all assembly members heard an introduction to where our energy comes from, and questioned the speakers. The assembly then split into three groups to examine:

We divided assembly members into the three groups using random stratified sampling based on the seven recruitment criteria listed in Section A. This ensured each group remained representative of the UK population. Assembly members spent the remainder of weekend two in these groups, hearing evidence, questioning speakers and beginning to discuss what they had heard.

Weekend three

 "I feel like attitudes are constantly changing among who I'm sitting with and I'm enjoying it. Figuring out how we're going to balance finance and technology and trying to grasp how we're going to be able to fund these things but make sure things are getting done... It's pretty special, especially as I'm only 21. It's something I didn't think I'd be able to get involved in, this early on. It's going to have such a big impact on my future and hopefully, my children's future so it's really lovely to be asked to be involved in such a massive but valuable project." 

Assembly Member – Ellie, 21, from Buckinghamshire

Weekend three started with a chance for assembly members to feed in their thoughts on the topics that their group had not considered at the previous weekend. We wrote these thoughts up overnight on the Friday and provided them to assembly members in the relevant groups on Saturday morning.

Assembly members spent the rest of weekend three in their topic groups, discussing the evidence they had heard at weekend two and reaching their decisions on these issues.

Weekend four (online)

"Going online was another experience I had never had before. It worked really well. It was well organised and well done."

Assembly member

All assembly members spent weekend four focussed on the issue of 'where our electricity comes from' (please see Chapter 8). Assembly members heard from a panel of speakers on Saturday morning, questioned them on Saturday afternoon and discussed their views on Sunday morning. They made their final decisions by vote online, in a secure way, at the close of the weekend.

Weekend five (online)

"The facilitation team has been amazing. They've kept us engaged and focused throughout the weekends which can't have been easy when your dealing with 110 opinionated human beings … and they've done it in a friendly and respectful way."

Assembly member

Weekend five followed the same format as weekend four, with all assembly members considering the topic of 'removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere' (please see Chapter 9).

Weekend six (online)

"As a member of Climate Assembly UK I am proud that, despite the many challenges faced by us all during the Covid-19 pandemic, we have still managed to finish the work needed to successfully provide the six select committees with proposals to meet the target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. I hope Parliament will take time to consider these proposals with due care and respect."

Assembly member – Adrian, 52, from Northern Ireland

Weekend six was split into three parts:

Assembly members continued to provide feedback on drafts of this report, and on the assembly's interim briefing released in June 2020,41 after the end of weekend six.

How the assembly reached its decisions

Assembly members learnt about each topic they considered and discussed them in-depth. They then made their decisions. This decision-making phase took two different forms:

Citizens' assemblies often primarily use the first kind of entirely bottom-up decision-making process. Climate Assembly UK supplemented this with votes on scenarios and options for a number of reasons:

The process for deciding on the options and scenarios used at the assembly was the same as the one for ensuring the information assembly members heard was balanced, accurate and comprehensive (please see Section C of this chapter).

Which decision-making process was used for which decisions is described clearly throughout this report.

Above : An assembly member takes notes.

C. Balanced, accurate and comprehensive information

The assembly team worked hard to ensure that the information presented to assembly members was balanced, accurate and comprehensive.

The Expert Leads

This work started with the assembly's Expert Leads: Chris Stark, Committee on Climate Change; Professor Jim Watson, University College London; Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh, University of Bath; and Professor Rebecca Willis, University of Lancaster.43

The role of the Experts Leads was to ensure that Climate Assembly UK was:

They worked closely with Involve (please see Section D below) to draft the assembly's structure, including the themes it would consider, and the focus of each panel of speakers. They also drafted briefs for each speaker slot on each panel, and suggested names of speakers against each brief.

The Expert Leads all attended the assembly weekends as speakers and to provide balanced answers to questions that arose during assembly members' discussions. They were supported in this role by Jenny Hill, Committee on Climate Change, and Professor Jillian Anable, University of Leeds.

Advisory Panel

The Expert Leads' suggestions for the content of the assembly went first to its Advisory Panel for feedback. Members of the Advisory Panel were, in alphabetical order:44

Panel members commented on every part of the plans, suggesting additional content, amended structures for panels, and alternative speakers. Minutes of Advisory Panel meetings are published on the Climate Assembly UK website. Advisory Panel members also commented on all written briefings provided to assembly members.

Academic Panel

Members of Climate Assembly UK's academic panel were, in alphabetical order:46

The Expert Leads drew on the expertise of individual members of this panel when drafting and finalising the assembly's suggested content. Academic panel members also commented on written briefings provided to assembly members within their respective areas of specialism.

Wider society

Climate Assembly UK is grateful for the engagement and input of a number of prominent business, faith and civil society leaders from across UK society.

These individuals received a briefing on Climate Assembly UK in December 2019 and had the opportunity to provide comments:

Parliament

Sign off47 on the assembly's plans rested with Parliament, including House of Commons select committee staff and officials from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). These individuals have considerable experience of putting together balanced panels and evidence for Members of Parliament and select committees.

Speakers

The assembly's final design included presentations from forty-seven speakers, including the Expert Leads. Some speakers were asked to act as 'informants', meaning they needed to cover the range of views and available evidence on a topic. Others were asked to be 'advocates', giving their own view or that of their organisation. At the start of each chapter we have included in a footnote a list of the speakers who presented on that topic and noted whether they were advocates or informants. We also gave assembly members this information before they heard from the relevant individuals.

In addition to the forty-seven speakers, and the opportunity to hear from Sir David Attenborough, Chairs of two of the commissioning select committees – Rachel Reeves MP,48 and Mel Stride MP – addressed the assembly. They thanked assembly members for taking part and explained why they see Climate Assembly UK as important.

A full list of speakers, including the two MPs, can be found on the Climate Assembly UK website.

Transparency

Transparency was a key consideration for the Climate Assembly UK team. The Climate Assembly UK website (www.climateassembly.uk) contains information including:

We live-streamed all speaker presentations to the assembly online. We also opened the assembly to a wide range of media, stakeholders, officials and politicians so that they could observe the assembly's proceedings.

We were careful to balance our wish for complete transparency against the need to protect assembly members' identities. Assembly members all had a choice about whether or not to take part in media interviews, photos and audio/video footage of the assembly. It was also their decision whether or not to reveal their identity on social media.

D. The delivery team and funding

After a competitive tendering process, in September 2019 Parliament awarded a contract for the delivery of Climate Assembly UK to:

Climate Assembly UK was funded by the House of Commons, with additional funding from two philanthropic organisations: the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the European Climate Foundation.49 The two philanthropic organisations did not have a say in how the assembly was run or what it covered.

The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit worked with Parliament to support communications outreach around the Climate Assembly UK weekends and results. www.eciu.net

E. Assembly members' views of the assembly

An independent evaluation of Climate Assembly UK will be published in Spring 2021. However, initial results suggest that assembly members viewed the assembly very positively:

Statement about the assembly, from the survey completed by assembly members after all six weekends% assembly members ‘strongly agreed’ or ‘agreed’% assembly members ‘don’t know / unsure’% assembly members ‘strongly disagreed’ or ‘disagreed’

‘I have understood almost everything that the other members of my small group said during our discussions’

98

1

1

‘I have understood almost everything that was presented by the speakers’

95

4

1

‘I have had enough information to participate effectively’

91

5

4

‘The information I have received has been fair and balanced between different view points’

78

16

6

‘The assembly has helped me clarify my views about how to reach net zero’

96

1

3

‘I have learned a lot during the assembly about how UK can achieve net zero by 2050’

95

3

2

‘My fellow participants have respected what I had to say, even when they didn’t agree with me’

94

5

0

‘I have had ample opportunity in the small group discussions to express my views’

95

2

3

‘Assemblies like this should be used more often to inform government and parliament decision-making’

90

7

3

The interim results also suggest that taking part in the assembly has impacted positively on assembly members' appetite and confidence to engage in political decision-making . 88% of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that they 'feel more confident to engage in political decision-making as a result of being involved in this citizens' assembly.' The same percentage 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that 'taking part in this citizens' assembly has made me want to be more involved in other aspects of decision-making.'

"Like everyone else, I really enjoyed the entire experience, and I am sorry that it has now come to an end.  It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I am truly grateful to have been given the chance to take part."

Assembly member

"Concern about climate change is as high as ever, and it's clear we all need to play our part to achieve the net zero emissions target that was passed into UK law by Parliament last year. This is why I welcome the work of Climate Assembly UK, a great example of parliamentarians engaging with the public to help influence their work and proposals for action. I am very grateful to the assembly members for their time. I look forward to hearing the outcome of their discussions – and to chairing House of Commons debates on a topic that is so relevant to us all."

 Right Honourable Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons

The rest of this report recounts the assembly's detailed and considered view of its recommended path to net zero by 2050. Taken together the recommendations provide a internally consistent and coherent vision, and are designed to be considered as a whole.

Underpinning principles

Assembly members' first decision focussed on the principles that should underpin the UK's path to net zero. They agreed twenty-five underpinning principles, then used a vote to prioritise them.

The principles form part of the assembly's recommendations to government and Parliament. Assembly members also used them to inform their own work.

What did the assembly consider?

All assembly members took part in the discussions about underpinning principles, which took place at the first assembly weekend. They drew on their own experiences, values and views, as well as evidence from the assembly's first three panels of speakers.50These panels covered an introduction to climate change, and different perspectives on overarching ethical, practical and strategic questions about the path to net zero. All the speakers gave presentations to the assembly and were then questioned by its members.

How did the assembly reach its decisions?

Assembly members began their decision-making process after the first two panels of speakers. They started by considering individually how they would finish the sentence:

"The UK's path to net zero by 2050 should be underpinned by the principles of…."

They then discussed their views in small groups at their tables, with each table agreeing their four priority responses. These responses had to, between them, represent the range of opinions at the table.

While assembly members listened to and questioned the third panel of speakers, facilitators took these responses and grouped similar ideas together to form a draft ballot paper, overseen by an official from Parliament. They presented the draft back to assembly members, who had the opportunity to note any omissions or suggest changes. Facilitators then made these amends. Tables also discussed and added additional ideas based on the evidence they heard from Panel Three.

The final ballot paper included twenty-five principles that assembly members believe should underpin the path to net zero.

Prioritised principles

The vote asked assembly members to prioritise the twenty-five principles that they had developed. Each assembly member could vote for the eight options that they saw as the highest priority.

It is important to note that the results of the vote therefore show priorities not levels of support. A lack of votes does not necessarily signal that assembly members disagreed with an idea, just that they saw it as less important.

The results of the vote were as follows.

Principles prioritised by over half of all assembly members
  1. Informing and educating everyone (the public, industry, individuals and government) – 74 votes
  2. Fairness within the UK, including for the most vulnerable (affordability, jobs, UK regions, incentives and rewards) in actions, not just words – 65 votes
  3. Leadership from government that is clear, proactive, accountable and consistent (cross-party consenus) – 63 votes
  4. Protecting and restoring the natural world – 59 votes
Principles prioritised by over a third of all assembly members
  1. Ensuring solutions are future-proofed and sustainable for the future – 45 votes
  2. A joined up approach across the system and all levels of society (working together, collaborating, and sharing) – 40 votes
  3. Long-term planning and a phased transition – 39 votes
  4. Urgency – 37 votes
  5. Support for sustainable growth (including pioneering innovation) – 37 votes
Additional principles agreed by the assembly
  1. Local community engagement embedded in national solutions – 33 votes
  2. Think about our impact globally and be a global leader – 32 votes
  3. Use of mix of natural and technological solutions – 32 votes
  4. Transparency and honesty – 32 votes
  5. Underpinned by scientific evidence and focused on the big wins – 29 votes
  6. Equality of responsibility for individuals, government and business – 28 votes
  7. Achievable – 27 votes
  8. Everyone should have a voice (e.g. via local representation and participation, or in holding government to account) – 27 votes
  9. Regular independent checks on progress – 27 votes
  10. Fairness for the most vulnerable globally (less developed countries) – 24 votes
  11. Making the most of potential benefits for everyone (e.g. health, wellbeing and the economy) – 24 votes
  12. Enabling and not restricting individual choice – 23 votes
  13. Protect the UK economy, including from global competition – 18 votes
  14. Compromise about changing lifestyles – 15 votes
  15. Those who bear the most responsibility should act – 13 votes
  16. Not negatively impacting other institutions – 4 votes

The top nine principles – those prioritised by over a third of assembly members – were displayed in the assembly rooms throughout the remaining weekends. We also gave assembly members hard copies of the full vote results to refer to during their discussions.

Assembly members returned to these principles, and considerations related to them, throughout the rest of the assembly.

Above : Assembly members discuss the issues.

How we travel on land

Summary of recommendations

  1. Assembly members identified 18 considerations that they would like government and Parliament to bear in mind when looking at surface transport and the path to net zero. These included that solutions must be accessible and affordable to all sections of society, the need to "help create massive change at an individual level", and a wish for cross-party action.
  2. Assembly members aimed to minimise restrictions on travel and lifestyles, placing the emphasis on shifting to electric vehicles and improving public transport, rather than on large reductions in car use.
  3. Assembly members recommended a future for surface transport in the UK that includes:
    • A ban on the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars by 2030–2035;
    • A reduction in the amount we use cars by an average of 2–5% per decade;
    • Improved public transport.
  4. In terms of how the UK should make these changes, assembly members recommended a wide range of policies aimed at moving quickly to low carbon vehicles, increasing the use of public and active transport, and discouraging car ownership and use. These included:
    • Government investment in low carbon buses and trains;
    • Quickly stop selling the most polluting vehicles;
    • Adding new bus routes and more frequent services;
    • Making public transport cheaper;
    • Bringing public transport back under government control;
    • Grants for businesses and people to buy low carbon cars;
    • Localisation;
    • Investing in cycling and scootering facilities;
    • Increasing investment to make buses faster and more reliable;
    • Car scrappage scheme.
  5. As well as the wish to minimise restrictions on lifestyles, assembly members' rationale for their decisions included points around the speed of change, feasibility, practicalities, cost (both personal and overall), and co-benefits such as improved air quality, reduced congestion and impacts on local areas and high streets. Assembly members consistently raised the importance of accessibility and affordability, stressing the need to avoid negative consequences for rural areas, mental health and isolation, people with a disability, and those on low incomes.

How we travel on land

The ways we travel on land are collectively known as 'surface transport'. Surface transport includes cars, vans and lorries, as well as public transport like buses, coaches and trains. It also includes 'active transport' – for example, when we walk, cycle or scoot.

Surface transport accounts for 70% of the UK's total greenhouse gas emissions from transport51 and 23% of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions overall.52 Most of these emissions come from cars, with just 5% arising from public transport.

Proportion of greenhouse gases from each type of surface transport (2017)

59% Cars

18% Heavy goods vehicles

17% Vans

3% Buses and coaches

2% Rail

1% Other

Figure 1: Proportion of greenhouse gases from each type of surface transport (2017)53

Surface transport includes both passenger or 'personal' transport, and freight. Personal transport is what people use to travel for pleasure, for everyday activities (like going shopping) and for almost all work. Freight is transport used to move goods. It includes goods for everything, including farming, industry, shops and online shopping deliveries. It also includes transport used for services, for example the vans used by decorators, plumbers or to deliver the post.

Climate Assembly UK considered personal transport only. It did not look at freight. This followed guidance from Parliament that, if there was not time to consider both, its committees most wanted to hear assembly members' views on personal transport. Personal surface transport accounts for 15% of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions overall.

What did the assembly consider?

Thirty-six assembly members considered the topic of surface transport in-depth. We selected these assembly members from the assembly as a whole using random stratified sampling. This ensured that they remained reflective of the wider UK population in terms of both demographics54 and their level of concern about climate change.

These assembly members heard a wide range of views both on what the future of surface transport could look like for the UK, and how we might move towards that future. They had the opportunity to question each speaker55 in detail. These evidence sessions took place at weekend two of the assembly.

Assembly members spent weekend three of the assembly discussing the evidence they had heard and their own views in-depth, before reaching conclusions on three separate areas:

  1. Considerations: the overarching considerations that government and Parliament should bear in mind when making decisions about surface transport and the path to net zero;
  2. Futures : what the future of surface transport in the UK should look like;
  3. Policy options: how the UK should move toward this future.

Assembly members also had the opportunity to discuss and add anything else they wanted to say to government and Parliament about surface transport and the path to net zero. Assembly members' views on the implications of Covid-19 for this topic are touched on in Chapter 10.

A. Considerations

Assembly members reached their first decisions on surface transport by discussing their answers to the following question:

What considerations should government and Parliament bear in mind when making decisions about surface transport and the path to net zero?

Assembly members thought about their answers to this question individually. They then discussed their views in small groups, with each table agreeing their five top considerations. These top considerations had to, between them, represent the range of views at the table.

Facilitators took the top considerations from each table and grouped similar options together to create a list on which assembly members could vote. They checked this list back with assembly members to make sure they had accurately reflected their views. This included making any necessary adjustments. Each assembly member could then vote for the four options that they felt to be most important.

The results were as follows. The wording of the considerations in the table is either word for word what assembly members wrote on their option cards or, where facilitators combined similar options from several tables, how we described the options to assembly members prior to the vote. Where applicable, we have also included in italics further detail on what assembly members wrote on their option cards.

RankConsideration% assembly members who chose it as a priority

1

Solutions must be accessible and affordable to all sections of society

56

2

Help create massive change at an individual level, including:

  • Carrot and stick approach
  • Education
  • Information
  • Be prepared to make unpopular decisions

Some assembly members talked about the need to “enable behaviour change AND get a wider public understanding of [the] imposed chang[e] through public education/information.” Others felt that “education is critical to demonstrate the co-benefits to society such as health” or suggested “public education videos.”

47

3

Make decisions in a way that means they cannot be changed by every new government (cross-party support)

39

4

The polluter pays

Some assembly members noted specifically that this applied to “companies that have the most negative impact”, while others stated more generally that “those who pollute should pay more.” Some advocated “introduc[ing] laws/regulation as soon as possible.”

36

5

Check and be careful about side effects and unintended consequences (moral, ethical and environmental implications, and the effect on the rest of the world)

Some assembly members noted particular risks around new technologies and mining.

33

=6

Invest in and develop public transport/infrastructure to make it accessible

Some assembly members stated that “transport options should be accessible to everyone” and “regular.”

25

=6

Greater investment in R D from Government and private companies for both new and existing technologies (sooner rather than later)

Some assembly members suggested that new technologies could be “better and safer” or suggested that “the Government[‘s] role is to enable and incentivise the adoption of new technologies.”

25

8

Invest in and develop public transport/infrastructure to be affordable (free?) for people using it

22

9

Long-term consequences of science, claims, decisions, policies assessed by an independent regulator

19

=10

Protect jobs and industry – and support them to transition

Some assembly members noted that “transition to low carbon options risks losing jobs which needs to be managed by initiatives to re-train [the] workforce.”

17

=10

Dunkirk example

Note: This referred back to a case study presented by one of the speakers, Lynn Sloman, during Weekend Two. It showed the impact of introducing free bus travel in Dunkirk in autumn 2018. Bus trips on some routes increased by 85%, and half of the new bus users previously travelled by car.

17

12

Realism of planned change

14

=13

Joined up public transport planning with service level reliability

11

=13

Long-term and phased transition in a way/manner that benefits people and causes minimal disruption to their lives

11

=13

Charging infrastructure (especially for high-density housing) and ensure it works – e.g. adapters, charge points etc

11

16

Safe, more and good infrastructure for cycling

8

17

In considering cost think about what is reasonable for individuals, governments and business and both users and non-users of particular transport

6

18

Enable maintaining quality of life for all (including people with disabilities, rural communities)

3

Note: It is worth noting that considerations specifically around improving public transport – ranked 6, 8, 10 and 13 above – together received 27 votes, which would have placed them first. However it is possible that individual assembly members voted for more than one option within this group, which is why we have treated them separately.

B. Futures

After deciding on their most important considerations, assembly members moved on to look at what the future of surface transport should be for the UK.

To aid them in this process, the Expert Leads presented assembly members with three scenarios:

  1. Fast action to change the cars we drive;
  2. Changing the cars we drive and how much we use them;
  3. Reducing the amount travelled across all transport types.

Together these scenarios covered a broad range of views about what could happen to surface transport to help the UK meet its 2050 net zero target.

Assembly members discussed each of the scenarios or 'possible futures' in turn, before voting on them by secret ballot.

We start by presenting the rationale for their views, taking each possible future in turn.

B.1 Fast action to change the cars we drive

The emphasis of this possible future was on changing the types of car that we drive. It would involve:

Assembly members discussed this possible future in small groups. They identified the following pros and cons.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members attached conditions to their support for this possible future, suggesting that:

When we asked assembly members to rank the possible futures in their order of preference, this scenario received significant support from assembly members. Please see below for the results of the vote.

B.2 Changing the cars we drive and how much we use them

This scenario would involve a combination of changing the types of car that we drive and reducing the amount we drive. It would include:

Assembly members discussed this possible future in small groups. They identified the following pros and cons.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions to their support for this future, stating that:

When we asked assembly members to rank the possible futures in their order of preference, this scenario received significant support from assembly members. Please see below for the results of the vote.

B.3 Reducing the amount travelled across all transport types

This scenario places the emphasis on reducing the total amount we travel, including significant reductions in car use. It would involve:

Assembly members discussed this possible future in small groups. They identified the following pros and cons.

Pros

Cons

When we asked assembly members to rank the possible futures in their order of preference, this scenario received very limited support from assembly members. Please see below for the results of the vote.

General comments

Some assembly members made cross-cutting comments about all the possible futures:

Vote results

Assembly members voted on the possible futures by secret ballot. The ballot paper asked them to rank the possible futures in their order of preference.

Figure 2: Possible futures: Please rank the possible futures in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Fast action to change the cars we drive 49%

Changing the cars we drive and how much we use them 34%

Reducing the amount travelled across all transport types 17%

Figure 2: Possible futures: Please rank the possible futures in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

The votes were counted in two ways:

'Fast action to change the cars we drive' received most first preference votes. Assembly members gave two reasons more than any others for this choice on their ballot papers. The first was around the lack of restriction on travel and lifestyles. Comments included:

"We should be free to travel when and where we like – options 2 and 3 are restricting."

"The less government led social engineering the better. Restricting or imposing individual behaviour undermines the liberal principle that everyone has the right to make choices and self-determination."

"It focuses on introducing greener solutions but without taking the choice or car owners' independence away."

"Least restrictions on mobility (standard of life)."

The other frequently given rationale was the speed of change. Comments included:

"If we are going down this route (a must) then [the] quicker the better. Will be "hiccups" therefore [we need] time to "mend" problems."

"This guarantees fast action that I believe is required."

"The faster the better in spite of it being challenging. But don't force a reduction in travel, [stop] polluting transport only."

"Rapid movement to electrified (low CO2 ) transport."

Some assembly members' rationale was multifaceted. For example:

"Fast decisive, immediate action – no time wasted planning on building new things so we can quickly start to reduce emissions and then focus on other things. Realistic, not a drastic change that is hard for everyone to adjust to. Benefits everyone – air quality improves, money saved on cars."

"(I don't actually think any option seems completely viable, but…) I think action has to be taken on current cars ASAP (although don't necessarily agree with hybrid). If everyone could afford electric vehicles then this wouldn't prevent people travelling as they currently do – ergo standard of living shouldn't be compromised. Concerned other options don't give enough time to fix other transport options. Also don't believe people will reduce the amount they travel by car."

Other reasons highlighted by one or two assembly members included support for the take up of electric buses and trains, support for banning SUVs, a suggestion that this future has fewer downsides than the alternatives, and a belief that the "health benefits for people who have asthma would be important." One assembly member commented that "social change is much harder than technological change."

Please rank the possible futures in order of preference (Borda count)

Fast action to change the cars we drive 42

Changing the cars we drive and how much we use them 45

Reducing the amount travelled across all transport types 18

Figure 3: Possible futures: Please rank the possible futures in order of preference (Borda count)

'Fast action to change the cars we drive' also did well in the Borda count, but the future that scored highest by a small margin was 'changing the cars we drive and how much we use them'. Assembly members who chose this latter option as their first preference gave a range of reasons for their choice.

There was a feeling amongst some assembly members that this option presented a balanced middle ground that was more viable and less radical :

"Most viable option – middle ground – more comprehensive approach that considers reducing and banning petrol/diesel and offers improvement and alternatives to how we can travel (instead of driving)."

"There needs to be a balance and this seems to be the best balance."

"Less radical compared to other options. More practical and positive."

Others talked about the impact this future would have on emissions and congestion :

"I think that by reducing car use we will reduce carbon emissions and maybe … focus on only using transport as a way from getting from A to B rather than being lazy!"

"It will cut emissions and have health benefits."

"Less cars, less pollution, less congestion."

Some assembly members said that they felt this future was less restrictive and offered more choice :

"I'm not supportive of restricting travel, improving public transport so citizens have more options is a positive step rather than an authoritarian move towards dictatorship I'm not supportive of."

"The perception of greater personal freedom to choose the most appropriate mode of transport for any given journey."

Other comments included that this future "gives people time to adjust, whilst still taking positive action", or that it "encourages public transport improvements and allows more time for the charging infrastructure to be sufficient for the uptake required."

'Reducing the amount travelled across all transport types' scored poorly in terms of both first preference votes and the Borda count. It was assembly members' least preferred option by some distance.

One assembly member abstained from the votes, stating that the options were "not comprehensive and not objective."

Futures – conclusions

Taken together, assembly members' discussions and votes suggest a future involving:

Assembly members' discussions show that many felt it was important to minimise restrictions on travel and lifestyles. They often saw a quick ban on the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars as the best way to do this: people could continue to travel by car as long as the car was electric. Some assembly members also raised doubts about whether greater reductions in car use were feasible in terms of behaviour change. For a smaller number of assembly members the least restrictive future was one that gave them the greatest choice of transport modes.

Speed of change was also an important factor for some assembly members. Those who supported an earlier ban on the sale petrol, diesel and hybrid cars felt "the faster, the better". Others felt that a slightly later ban within the 2030–2035 range would give people longer to adapt and allow more time to prepare the necessary infrastructure.

Assembly members saw co-benefits, particularly around improvements in air quality and reductions in congestion as positives. They also raised a range of concerns around affordability,  including the need to not "price people out of essential travel." Some assembly members particularly noted the need to avoid negative consequences for rural areas and people with a disability, as well as around mental health and isolation.

C. Policy options

After considering what the future of surface transport in the UK could look like, assembly members moved on to consider how we might get there. Specifically they looked at policy options in three areas:

  1. Moving quickly to low carbon vehicles;
  2. Discouraging car ownership and use;
  3. Increasing the use of public and active transport.

For each of these areas, the Expert Leads recapped and explained potential policy options. Assembly members discussed these ideas in their groups before voting by secret ballot. They were also able to note additional suggestions for steps that could be taken.

C.1 Moving quickly to low carbon vehicles

Assembly members looked at seven options for moving quickly to low carbon vehicles:

We start by presenting the rationale for their views, taking each policy option in turn.

Quickly stop selling the most polluting cars

This would involve telling car companies that they could not sell their most polluting cars in the UK from a certain date. The government has already told car companies that they will not be able to sell new petrol and diesel cars in future. The date of this ban was originally 2040 when it was announced in 2019, but was brought forward to 2035 in February 2020.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about a quick stop to selling the most polluting cars.

Pros

Cons

Grants for businesses and people to buy low carbon cars

Since 2011, the government has given car dealerships money to discount the price of brand-new electric and hydrogen cars. In the budget in March 2020, the plug-in car grant was extended for another three years, but the amount available per car was reduced to £3,000 from £3,500, and it is only available for pure battery electric cars that cost £50,000 or less.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about grants for businesses and people to buy low carbon cars.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members also noted conditions around their support for this policy option, or additional ideas:

Car scrappage scheme

This would involve incentivising owners of older, high CO2 vehicles to scrap them, by offering cash or credit towards electric cars, bikes or public transport season tickets. The amount people received towards an electric car is likely to be around £2,000.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about a car scrappage scheme.

Pros

Cons

As with the previous policy option, some assembly members suggested that the grant should "relate … to people's income."

Advertising restrictions on certain cars

Advertising restrictions would make it illegal for car manufacturers to advertise their most polluting cars.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about advertising restrictions on certain cars.

Pros

Cons

Access to longer range cars for electric car owners

A scheme like this would mean that, when a customer buys an all-electric car, it would be compulsory for the car company to loan a longer-range vehicle to them for several days a year.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about access to longer range cars for electric car owners.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members asked "would there be a scheme for 2nd hand EV?"

Government investment in low carbon buses and/or trains

The government already subsidises some electric and hydrogen buses. There is also currently a programme to electrify the railways, but it has recently slowed.56

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about government investment in low carbon buses and/or trains.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members said they would support this policy option if we "move quickly to low carbon vehicles", or "if [it's] quicker (speed)." Others noted that "if Government/Parliament implement public transport to run for longer and at later times people would use it more."

Lowering speed limits on dual carriage ways and motorways

This would involve lowering the speed limit for cars on roads where it is 70mph to 60mph.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about lowering speed limits on dual carriageways and motorways.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members said this policy option would need to be accompanied by "advice and education on how to drive more efficiently." Others said the premise should be that "EVs are run on 100% (90%) green energy by 2030."

Additional ideas

During their discussions, assembly members noted a range of additional points and suggestions:

"You need to address [electricity] supply before EVs"

"You must get people on your side"

"Need [for] education"

"Make city centres car free (with free public transport to replace it)"

"Congestion charging"

"Synthetic fuels"

"Wealth tax on high end polluters/vehicles"

"Legislate that businesses (such as Uber, car clubs, hire cars etc) must only use EVs going forward and legislate that going forward all delivery vehicles must be EVs"

"More criteria to get a driver's licence less people, alter behaviour"

"Car scrappage scheme to support the purchase of 2nd hand EVs."

Vote results

Assembly members voted by secret ballot on the seven policy options for moving quickly to low carbon vehicles. There were two ballot papers. The first ballot paper asked assembly members how much they agreed or disagreed that each policy option should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. The second ballot paper asked them to rank the options in their order of preference. The votes from this second ballot paper were counted both in terms of first preference votes and via Borda count.

How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

Quickly stop selling the most polluting cars

63% Strongly Agree

23% Agree

3% Don’t mind or unsure

11% Disagree

0% Strongly disagree

Grants for businesses and people to buy low carbon cars

31% Strongly Agree

43% Agree

14% Don’t mind or unsure

6% Disagree

3% Strongly disagree

Car scrappage scheme

37% Strongly Agree

29% Agree

28% Don’t mind or unsure

3% Disagree

6% Strongly disagree

Advertising restrictions on certain cars

29% Strongly Agree

29% Agree

29% Don’t mind or unsure

6% Disagree

9% Strongly disagree

Access to longer range cars for electric car owners

23% Strongly Agree

9% Agree

34% Don’t mind or unsure

23% Disagree

11% Strongly disagree

Government investment in low carbon buses and/or trains

77% Strongly Agree

14% Agree

3% Don’t mind or unsure

3% Disagree

3% Strongly disagree

Lowering speed limits on dual carriageways and motorways

23% Strongly Agree

23% Agree

9% Don’t mind or unsure

31% Disagree

14% Strongly disagree

Figure 4: Moving quickly to low carbon vehicles: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

Two policy options stood out for their popularity amongst assembly members. Large majorities of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that 'government investment in low carbon buses and/or trains' (91%) and 'quickly stop selling the most polluting vehicles' (86%) should be part of how the UK gets to net zero.57

Two options also stood out for their lack of popularity. Under half of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that 'access to longer range cars for electric car owners' (32%) and 'lowering speed limits on dual carriageways and motorways' (46%) should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. There was also significant opposition to both measures, with 34% and 45% of assembly members 'strong disagreeing' or 'disagreeing' that they should be used. Although a large number of assembly members (34%) said they 'didn't mind' or 'were unsure' about access to longer range vehicles, these results do suggest it was less popular than other options.

Smaller majorities of assembly members supported the three other policy options. In order of assembly members' preference, these were:

The preference voting largely reinforced the results of the first vote, but provided two additional insights. The results suggest that:

'Access to longer range cars' and 'lowering speed limits' again scored more poorly than the other policy options.

Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Quickly stop selling the most polluting cars 53%

Government investment in low carbon buses and/or trains 24%

Grants for businesses and people to buy low carbon cars 15%

Car scrappage scheme 9%

Advertising restrictions on certain cars 0%

Lowering speed limits on dual carriageways and motorways 0%

Access to longer range cars for electric car owners 0%

Figure 5: Moving quickly to low carbon vehicles: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (Borda count)

Quickly stop selling the most polluting cars 171

Government investment in low carbon buses and/or trains 144

Grants for businesses and people to buy low carbon cars 136

Car scrappage scheme 109

Advertising restrictions on certain cars 59

Lowering speed limits on dual carriageways and motorways 54

Access to longer range cars for electric car owners 41

Figure 6: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (Borda count)

C.2 Discouraging car ownership and use

Assembly members looked at eight options for discouraging car ownership and use:

We start by presenting the rationale for their views, taking each policy option in turn.

Closing roads to cars

This would involve restricting cars in certain lanes, roads or zones. It could eventually mean that cars are not allowed in most town centres. There could also be temporary closures, such as regular car free days.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about closing roads to cars.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members said this policy option is "only good if transport infrastructure is good."

Charging to use the roads

This would involve charging drivers according to (a) which roads they use at which times of day; and (b) how polluting their car is. This could be done either nationally or locally.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about charging to use the roads.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions that would need to be met for them to support this policy, or additional suggestions for how it could work:

Increasing fuel duty

This would involve increasing fuel tax on petrol and diesel. The money raised could be used to improve alternatives to travelling by car, although this isn't the case at the moment.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about increasing fuel duty.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions that would need to be met for them to support the policy, or additional suggestions for how it could work:

Some assembly members said it should "provide more incentive for electric car usage" or was "okay on [the] worst polluters."

Local business levy

This would involve charging businesses for each parking space that they own, or for each person that they employ. The money would be used to improve alternatives to travelling by car in that area.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about a local business levy.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members said they would support the policy "as long as it [the levy] is relative to business size."

Reducing parking space

This would involve reducing parking space through double yellow lines, residential parking zones, removing car parks, making car parks smaller and/or liming parking space for new houses.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about reducing parking space.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members said decision-makers would need to be "careful how you apply [the policy] – don't conflate [it] with revenue raising" or that it "could increase the use of public transport (need better infrastructure)."

Car sharing

This would involve getting more people to share vehicles through 'match-making' apps and incentives like carpool lanes and exemptions from parking charges. This may require some financial support for businesses and local authorities to set up and operate the software, and to develop and enforce car pool lanes and car parking spaces.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about car sharing.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly said they would support this policy "if organised by a company – they could pay." Similarly, others said it "needs to be well organised" or that we "need to use apps/methods so [it's] organised."

Car clubs

This would involve pay-as-you-go renting of cars that are available throughout your area. These would be booked through an app and could be used for short periods of time. At the moment car clubs tend to be run by commercial operators. They do however need local authority funds to dedicate car parking spaces to them, promote them, and provide some subsidy for electric vehicles.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about car clubs.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members commented that it "needs to be affordable" or that it "works better in some areas than others e.g. urban vs rural."

Localisation

This would involve changing regulation to ensure that new houses can only be built with good public transport links. It would also involve including or putting back into local areas services such as post offices, local shops, health centres and schools.

Assembly members identified a number of pros and cons about localisation.

Pros

Cons

Additional ideas

During their discussions on discouraging car ownership and use, some assembly members noted additional points or suggestions:

Vote results

Assembly members voted by secret ballot on the eight policy options for discouraging car ownership and use. There were two ballot papers. The first ballot paper asked assembly members how much they agreed or disagreed that each policy option should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. The second ballot paper asked them to rank the options in their order of preference. The votes from this second ballot paper were counted both in terms of first preference votes and via Borda count.

How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

Closing roads to cars

25% Strongly Agree

28% Agree

25% Don’t mind or unsure

11% Disagree

11% Strongly disagree

Charging to use the roads

28% Strongly Agree

28% Agree

6% Don’t mind or unsure

22% Disagree

17% Strongly disagree

Increase fuel duty

28% Strongly Agree

14% Agree

17% Don’t mind or unsure

25% Disagree

17% Strongly disagree

Local business levy

17% Strongly Agree

14% Agree

19% Don’t mind or unsure

25% Disagree

25% Strongly disagree

Reducing parking space

14% Strongly Agree

8% Agree

11% Don’t mind or unsure

36% Disagree

31% Strongly disagree

Car sharing

8% Strongly Agree

36% Agree

19% Don’t mind or unsure

25% Disagree

11% Strongly disagree

Car clubs

31% Strongly Agree

28% Agree

31% Don’t mind or unsure

8% Disagree

3% Strongly disagree

Localisation

33% Strongly Agree

39% Agree

8% Don’t mind or unsure

17% Disagree

3% Strongly disagree

Figure 7: Discouraging car ownership and use: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

Overall, these policy options were less popular amongst assembly members than those for moving quickly to low carbon vehicles. In general, levels of agreement were lower and levels of disagreement significantly higher. Many assembly members had been clear when discussing the future of surface transport in the UK (see Section B above) that they wanted to minimise restrictions on travel and lifestyles. Their comparative dislike of policy options for discouraging car ownership and use is consistent with that view.

A majority of assembly members supported four of the policy options for discouraging car ownership and use. In assembly members' order of preference these were:

Only a minority of assembly members supported the other policy options. The least popular was 'reducing parking space' ; a sizeable majority of assembly members (67%) strongly disagreed or disagreed with this proposal.

Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Closing roads to cars 19%

Charging to use the roads 19%

Increase fuel duty 8%

Local business levy 11%

Reducing parking space 3%

Car sharing 3%

Car clubs 14%

Localisation 22%

Figure 8: Discouraging car ownership and use: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (Borda count)

Closing roads to cars 163

Charging to use the roads 135

Increase fuel duty 108

Local business levy 99

Reducing parking space 83

Car sharing 113

Car clubs 144

Localisation 163

Figure 9: Discouraging car ownership and use: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (Borda count)

The same four policy options scored most highly in the preference voting, with 'localisation' and 'closing roads to cars' jointly topping the Borda count. These results suggest that 'closing roads to cars' is more acceptable to a greater number of assembly members than 'charging to use the roads' or 'car clubs'.

C.3 Increasing the use of public and active transport

Assembly members looked at seven options for increasing the use of public and active transport:

We start by presenting the rationale for their views, taking each policy option in turn.

Adding new routes and more frequent services

This would involve increasing relevant government funds paid to local authorities, so that the latter could add new routes and/or provide more buses on existing routes. There are many services that private bus companies will not operate because they are not profitable. Government funding to plug this gap has been cut in recent years.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about adding new routes and more frequent services.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members advocated "research [on] where routes are most needed" or said they would support this idea "if bus routes run earlier and later." Others said it "would only be worth doing if price of travel reduces."

Increasing investment to make buses faster and more reliable

This would involve investment in bus priority lanes and better interchanges such as bus stations.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about increasing investment to make buses faster and more reliable.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members commented that implementation would be "reliant on develop[ing] infrastructure."

On-demand buses

This would involve buses in rural areas and smaller towns that you can call through an app or phone. These buses would pick you up from where you are and drop you where you need to go, or to another bus or rail interchange.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about on-demand buses.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members said it would be "good if you can call up as well (older people like to phone)" or felt "there will be an element of trial and error."

Making public transport cheaper

This would involve discounted or free buses or trains.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about making public transport cheaper.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members said they would support this policy "if [the] infrastructure is there/readily available."

Bringing public transport back under government control

This would involve national government, local government or groups of local authorities controlling bus, tram and/or train services.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about bringing public transport back under government control.

Pros

Cons

Investing in cycling and scootering facilities

This would involve investment in cycle lanes, cycle parking, free cycling lessons and shared 'pay as you go' bikes. It would also include segregated cycle lanes and cycle lanes outside urban areas.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about investing in cycling and scootering facilities.

Pros

Cons

Grants to buy electric bikes

This could involve both a UK national grant scheme and local authorities offering grants to enable experimentation with different approaches. Grants of about £250 per e-bike are effective in other countries.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about grants to buy electric bikes.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members said the "grant has to be large enough to make a difference."

Additional ideas

During their discussions about increasing the use of public and active transport, some assembly members noted additional suggestions:

"Legislate for all schools to teach cycling"

"Make more guided bus and rail"61

"Sensor systems to control/manage train routes" allowing for a greater bunching of trains and a reduction in delays. This would "replace any pollution if [the trains are] electric!"

"Smart buses" that have more sensors, for example to avoid the bunching of services or automatically count passengers to know if extra buses are needed;

"One ticket system with no penalty"

"There must be subsidies for low income areas and people"

Others commented "this is all part of a joined up approach to transport – we like them all, so ranking [them on our ballot papers] is hard."

Vote results

Assembly members voted by secret ballot on the seven policy options for increasing the use of public and active transport. There were two ballot papers. The first ballot paper asked assembly members how much they agreed or disagreed that each policy option should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. The second ballot paper asked them to rank the options in their order of preference. The votes from this second ballot paper were counted both in terms of first preference votes and via Borda count.

Assembly members supported a wide range of policies to increase the use of public and active transport. This is consistent with their earlier preferences for improvements in these areas (see Sections A and B above).

Large majorities of assembly members 'strongly agreed' that four of the policies should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. Levels of 'strong agreement' with these policies were high (at least 50% in all cases):

A majority of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' with the introduction of two further policies:

How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

Adding new routes and more frequent services

50% Strongly Agree

36% Agree

6% Don’t mind or unsure

3% Disagree

6% Strongly disagree

Increasing investment to make buses faster and more reliable

44% Strongly Agree

22% Agree

25% Don’t mind or unsure

3% Disagree

6% Strongly disagree

On-demand buses

28% Strongly Agree

31% Agree

19% Don’t mind or unsure

11% Disagree

11% Strongly disagree

Making public transport cheaper

64% Strongly Agree

19% Agree

33% Don’t mind or unsure

11% Disagree

3% Strongly disagree

Bringing public transport back under government control

58% Strongly Agree

17% Agree

14% Don’t mind or unsure

3% Disagree

8% Strongly disagree

Investing in cycling and scootering facilities

53% Strongly Agree

17% Agree

22% Don’t mind or unsure

6% Disagree

3% Strongly disagree

Grants to buy electric bikes

28% Strongly Agree

14% Agree

36% Don’t mind or unsure

14% Disagree

8% Strongly disagree

Figure 10: Increasing the use of public and active transport: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

The only policy option that a majority of assembly members failed to support was 'grants to buy electric bikes.' Only 22% of assembly members 'disagreed' or 'strongly disagreed' with this policy. However, a large percentage (36%) 'didn't mind' or were 'unsure', leaving the percentage of those 'agreeing' or 'strongly agreeing' at just 42%.

The ranking votes shed some additional light on assembly members' views: all the policies about public transport (except on-demand buses) scored more highly than those about active transport.

Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Adding new routes and more frequent services 8%

Increasing investment to make buses faster and more reliable 8%

On-demand buses 6%

Making public transport cheaper 33%

Bringing public transport back under government control 31%

Investing in cycling and scootering facilities 14%

Grants to buy electric bikes 0%

Figure 11: Increasing the use of public and active transport: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (Borda count)

Adding new routes and more frequent services 133

Increasing investment to make buses faster and more reliable 110

On-demand buses 80

Making public transport cheaper 160

Bringing public transport back under government control 134

Investing in cycling and scootering facilities 97

Grants to buy electric bikes 44

Figure 12: Increasing the use of public and active transport: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (Borda count)

Policy options – conclusions

Assembly members' policy recommendations reinforced their earlier preferences. Assembly members had already indicated support for moving quickly to low carbon vehicles and improving public transport. Their broad support for policies in these areas was consistent with that view (please see the table below).

Conversely, many assembly members had been clear that they wanted to minimise restrictions on travel and lifestyles. Their comparative lack of support for policy options to discourage car ownership and use reaffirms that preference.

Policy optionPolicy objective% strongly agree or agree% strongly disagree or disagree

Government investment in low carbon buses and trains

Moving quickly to low carbon vehicles

91%

6%

Quickly stop selling the most polluting vehicles

Moving quickly to low carbon vehicles

86%

11%

Adding new bus routes and more frequent services

Increasing the use of public and active transport

86%

9%

Making public transport cheaper

Increasing the use of public and active transport

83%

14%

Bringing public transport back under government control

Increasing the use of public and active transport

75%

11%

Grants for businesses and people to buy low carbon cars

Moving quickly to low carbon vehicles

74%

9%

Localisation

Discouraging car ownership and use

72%

20%

Investing in cycling and scootering facilities

Increasing the use of public and active transport

70%

9%

Increasing investment to make buses faster and more reliable

Increasing the use of public and active transport

66%

9%

Car scrappage scheme

Moving quickly to low carbon vehicles

66%

9%

On-demand buses

Increasing the use of public and active transport

59%

22%

Car clubs

Discouraging car ownership and use

59%

11%

Advertising restrictions on the most polluting cars

Moving quickly to low carbon vehicles

58%

15%

Charging to use the roads

Discouraging car ownership and use

56%

39%

Closing roads to cars

Discouraging car ownership and use

53%

23%

% Assembly members who agreed or disagreed with policy options

Note: this table only includes policy options that at least 50% of assembly members supported

On moving quickly to low carbon vehicles, assembly members were particularly supportive of options to 'quickly stop selling the most polluting vehicles' and 'government investment in low carbon buses and/or trains'. There was also significant support for 'grants for businesses and people to buy low carbon cars'. Assembly members did not support 'access to longer range cars for electric car owners' or 'lowering speed limits on dual carriageways or motorways.' Assembly members' rationale for their decisions included factors around:

Assembly members' preferred options for increasing the use of public and active transport were: 'making public transport cheaper' ; 'bringing public transport back under government control' ; and 'adding new bus routes and more frequent services'. They also backed the introduction of other policy initiatives. In general, assembly members were more supportive of policies to improve public – as opposed to active – transport. Assembly members did not support grants to buy electric bikes. Assembly members' rationale for their decisions around public and active transport included a wish to see increased use of public transport, and considerations around cost (both personal and overall) and accessibility. For individual policies, impacts around safety, health and the ability to plan a better service were also important.

As already noted, assembly members were overall less supportive of policies to discourage car ownership and use. However a large majority of assembly members (72%) supported one policy option, 'localisation', with 'closing roads to cars' also performing well in the Borda count. Small majorities of assembly members supported two further policies, 'charging to use the roads' and 'car clubs'. Assembly members' rationale included whether or not they thought policies would benefit local areas including local high streets, and their potential impacts on people with low incomes, who live in rural areas and/or who have a disability.

D. Anything else to tell government or Parliament

At the end of weekend three, assembly members had the opportunity to add any further thoughts on surface transport and the path to net zero. A small number of assembly members chose to add additional points.

Some assembly members talked about the need for education and information :

"Generic education in schools about carbon neutrality – kids now [are the] adults of 2030"

"Public information booklet – why important to take action and what"

"Focus on the provenance of information"

Others focussed on synthetic fuels:

"Consider other power sources apart from electricity (e.g. synthetic fuels)"

"Think long-term i.e. is electricity really the best? Should we go hydrogen/synthetic now? If freight going that way – don't have 2 tier system – go for least disruptive tech"

"We have been demonising the wrong thing, it is fossil fuels that are the demon and yet we didn't spent much time discussing alternative fuels. People like me love their cars…. Some of my grandchildren are learning to drive and love the experience. […] There is no need to take this away from people."

Others suggested a need to "consider implications for electricity generation/stability and power cuts", provide "incentives to buy 2nd hand electric vehicles" and "address Amazon deliveries."

Conclusions

Assembly members expressed clear and consistent views about surface transport and the path to net zero.

Assembly members' aimed to minimise restrictions on travel and lifestyles, placing the emphasis on shifting to electric vehicles and improving public transport, rather than on large reductions in car use.

In terms of what the future of surface transport should look like in the UK, assembly members recommended:

In terms of how the UK should make these changes, assembly members considered policies aimed at moving quickly to low carbon vehicles, increasing public and active transport, and discouraging car ownership and use. A majority of assembly members backed62 fifteen policies:

Overall assembly members were less supportive of policies to discourage car ownership and use, in-line with their vision for the future of surface transport in the UK.

As well as the wish to minimise restrictions on lifestyles, assembly members' rationale for their policy decisions included points around the speed of change, feasibility, practicalities, cost (both personal and overall), and co-benefits. They saw potential co-benefits as including improved air quality, reduced congestion and positive impacts for local areas and their high streets.

Assembly members also consistently raised the importance of accessibility and affordability, stressing the need to avoid negative consequences for rural areas, people with a disability, and those on low incomes, as well as for mental health and isolation.

Assembly members' list of key considerations for government and Parliament to bear in mind when looking at surface transport (see Section A) provides an overarching framework within which to view the assembly's decisions. It also includes a number of additional recommendations – for example, around information and education, who should pay for the changes needed, and avoiding potential side effects .

How we travel by air

Summary of recommendations

  1. Assembly members identified 14 considerations that they would like government and Parliament to bear in mind when looking at air travel and the path to net zero. These included speeding up progress on technology, influencing the rest of the world, and evening out the cost of air travel versus alternative forms of transport by making the latter cheaper and better.
  2. Assembly members would like to see a solution to air travel emissions that allows people to continue to fly. Assembly members felt that this would protect people's freedom and happiness, as well as having benefits for business and the economy. However their support for continued flying had limits. Assembly members resoundingly rejected a future in which air passenger numbers would rise by as much as 65% between 2018 and 2050, labelling it "counterproductive". Instead, assembly members sought to find an acceptable balance between achieving the net zero target, impacts on lifestyles, reliance on new technologies, and investment in alternatives. Their preferences point to a future in which:
    • Air passenger numbers increase by 25–50% between 2018 and 2050, depending on how quickly technology progresses. This is a lower rate of growth per year than was seen in recent times65 prior to Covid-19;
    • 30m tonnes of CO2 is still emitted by the aviation sector in 2050 and requires removing from the atmosphere;
    • There is investment in alternatives to air travel.
  3. 80% of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that taxes that increase as people fly more often and as they fly further should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. Assembly members saw these taxes as fairer than alternative policy options.
  4. Assembly members would like to see the airline industry invest in greenhouse gas removals. 75% of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that this should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. There was also significant support for financial incentives from government to encourage a wide range of organisations to invest. Assembly members' tended to feel that 'the polluter should pay', although some suggested a need to monitor, scrutinise and perhaps enforce airline industry investment to ensure it actually takes place.
  5. 87% of assembly members strongly agreed that we need to invest in the development and use of new technologies for air travel. These technologies could include electric aircraft and synthetic fuels.

How we travel by air

Air travel accounts for 22% of the UK's total greenhouse gas emissions from transport, and 7% of the UK's total greenhouse gas emissions overall.66 Emissions from flying have grown significantly in the last 30 years.67

Air travel's contribution to UK emissions comes from both:

Excluded from these figures are flights from other countries to the UK (for example, return flights from holidays), or travel that UK residents take within other countries or from one foreign country to another. Climate Assembly UK followed the same criteria when deciding what was, and was not, in scope for its discussions.

Air travel also includes both passenger or 'personal' transport, and freight. Personal transport is what people use to travel for pleasure, like going on holiday or visiting family and friends. It also covers travel for work. Freight is transport used to move goods. Climate Assembly UK considered personal transport only. It did not look at freight.69 This followed guidance from Parliament that, if there was not time to consider both, its committees most wanted to hear assembly members' views on personal transport.

What did the assembly consider?

Thirty-six assembly members considered the topic of air travel in-depth. We selected these assembly members from the assembly as a whole using random stratified sampling. This ensured that they remained reflective of the wider UK population in terms of both demographics70 and their level of concern about climate change.

These assembly members heard a wide range of views both on what the future of air travel could look like for the UK, and how we might move towards that future. They had the opportunity to question each speaker71 in detail. These evidence sessions took place at weekend two of the assembly.

Assembly members spent weekend three of the assembly discussing the evidence they had heard and their own views, before reaching recommendations on three separate areas:

  1. Considerations: the overarching considerations that government and Parliament should bear in mind when making decisions about air travel and the path to net zero;
  2. Futures : what the future of air travel in the UK should look like;
  3. Policy options: how the UK should move toward this future.

Assembly members also had the opportunity to discuss and add anything else they wanted to say to government and Parliament about air travel and the path to net zero. Assembly members' views on the implications of Covid-19 for this topic are touched on in Chapter 10.

A. Considerations

Assembly members reached their first decisions on air travel by discussing their answers to the following question:

What considerations should government and Parliament bear in mind when making decisions about air travel and the path to net zero?

Assembly members thought about their answers to this question individually. They then discussed their views in small groups at their tables, with each table agreeing their five top considerations. These top considerations had to, between them, represent the range of views at the table.

Facilitators took the top considerations from each table and grouped similar options together to create a list on which assembly members could vote. They checked this list back with assembly members to make sure they had accurately reflected their views. This included making any necessary adjustments. Each assembly member voted for the four options that they felt to be most important.

The results were as follows. The wording of the considerations in the table is either word for word what assembly members wrote on their option cards or, where facilitators combined similar options from several tables, how they described the options to assembly members prior to the vote.

RankConsideration% assembly members who chose it as a priority

1

Taken together, the following two considerations had the most votes:

  • Escalate and speed up options to enable us to keep flying (e.g. technology, synthetic fuels, carbon offsetting)
  • Speed up technology (e.g. electric planes, synthetic fuels) but don’t jump in before ready and don’t compromise safety

53

25

28

=2

Influence the rest of the world (USA and China) – e.g. tax on aviation fuel needs to be worldwide

50

=2

Even out the costs of air travel compared to alternatives by making alternatives cheaper and better, including increasing capacity to cater for increased demand

50

4

Frequent fliers and those that fly more distance should pay more

44

=5

Stay competitive and protect the economy, including addressing the impact on business and the travel industry

31

=5

Engage the population in making the necessary changes (education, promotion, explanation)

31

7

Take account of different travel needs (e.g. people with family far away, the military, people who live on islands, medical needs)

25

=8

Promote and incentivise UK holidays

22

=8

Scrap incentives to make people fly more (e.g. air miles, 1st class)

22

10

Ban polluting private jets and helicopters, moving to electric technology as it becomes available

19

=11

Ensure choices are accessible and affordable to all sections of society

14

=11

Don’t limit how much individuals travel

14

13

Even out the costs of air travel compared to alternatives by making air travel more expensive

8

14

Make those who take more expensive modes pay more (i.e. in carbon tax), including those who use private jets

3

Note: It is worth noting that, taken together, the options about evening out the costs of air travel compared to alternatives would have the most votes. These options came joint second and thirteenth in the vote, respectively. However it is possible that some assembly members voted for both these options, which is why they are not combined in the table above. This is not the case for the options that came first, where assembly members agreed prior to the vote that they could only vote for one of them.

B. Futures

After deciding their most important considerations, assembly members moved on to look at the future of air travel for the UK.

To aid them in this process, the Expert Leads presented assembly members with five scenarios for possible futures:

Together these scenarios cover a broad range of views about how air travel could change to help the UK reach net zero.

Each scenario presented to assembly included a different combination of assumptions about:

Assembly members discussed each of the scenarios or 'possible futures', before voting on them by secret ballot.

We start by presenting the rationale for their views, taking each possible future in turn.

B.1 Technological change

This future would see increased air travel, with technology used to reduce emissions. It would feature:

Assembly members discussed this possible future in small groups. They identified the following pros and cons.

Pros

Cons

Assembly members made the following additional comments in relation to this possible future:

"We always have to put this in an international context."

"Every option will be impactful on current behaviour. People will have to get on with that."

"We have to set an example."

When we asked assembly members to rank the possible futures in their order of preference, this future received significant support from assembly members. Please see page 135 for the vote results.

B.2 More emissions from flying

This possible future would involve continued growth in air travel. It would feature:

Assembly members discussed this possible future at their tables. A few individual assembly members noted positive points about this future. However, the majority of assembly members focused on its negatives.

Pros

Cons

One assembly member said they would support this possible future if it included more technological change in order to reduce carbon emissions further.

When we asked assembly members to rank the possible futures in their order of preference, this scenario received almost no support from assembly members. The only assembly member who chose this option as their first preference commented:

"To keep up with global growth and life expectations air travel will increase irrespective of UK policy. All options presented require carbon capture anyway…."

Please see below for the results of the vote.

B.3 Flying less

This possible future would involve reducing air travel. It would feature:

Assembly members discussed this possible future at their tables. They identified the following pros and cons.

Pros

Cons

When we asked assembly members to rank the possible futures in their order of preference, this scenario received support from some assembly members. Assembly members who chose this as their first preference made a range of comments including:

"Serious attempt to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases."

"Only future with reduction in air passengers over the period – most direct solution to reduce emissions instead of methods that increase emissions that then need to be captured – when technology does not seem reliable or all figured out yet."

"People staying in the UK and spending in UK."

Please see below for the results of the vote.

B.4 Combined approach

This scenario would involve slower growth in air travel than has been the case in recent years, alongside the use of some new technologies and fuels. They noted that it would feature:

Assembly members discussed this possible future at their tables. They identified the following pros and cons.

Pros

Cons

One assembly member suggested that this scenario "requires a lot of education to make it work".

When we asked assembly members to rank the possible futures in their order of preference, this scenario received significant support from assembly members. Please see page 135 for the vote results.

B.5 Flying less until technology improves

This scenario would involve reducing air travel until new technologies become available.76 It would feature:

Assembly members discussed this possible future at their tables. They identified the following pros and cons.

Pros

Cons

A number of assembly members made additional comments about this possible future. They suggested that:

One assembly member also asked whether electrical long–haul recharge platforms are a possibility.

When we asked assembly members to rank the possible futures in their order of preference, this scenario received support from some assembly members. Please see below for the results of the vote.

Vote results

Assembly members voted on the possible futures by secret ballot. The ballot paper asked them to rank the futures in their order of preference.

The votes were counted in two ways:

Please rank the possible futures in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Technological change 39%

More emission from flying 3%

Flying less 19%

Combined approach 22%

Flying less until technology improves 17%

Figure 1: Possible futures: Please rank the possible futures in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

'Technological change' received significantly more first preference votes than the other futures. 'More emissions from flying' received almost no votes. A majority of assembly members (58%) chose as their first preference a future that would see passenger numbers rise by just 15–25% by 2050 – a much lower figure than the 50% increase under 'technological change'.

Assembly members who chose 'technological change' as their first preference wrote a range of reasons for their choice on their ballot papers, including:

"I think it is most sensible to push for an advance in technology because other ideas seem to just be putting off or avoiding the problems, instead of trying to solve them."

"Has a reasonable level of CO2 emissions … which may be achievable to remove from the atmosphere."

"Freedom of movement is important to me."

"It seems the most realistic and practical solution – as we are an island people need to fly."

"Most socially acceptable option."

"It also still allows a high growth level which is important to the economy and businesses."

"I believe the answer to all the problems in relation to emissions (within aviation) lies in technology."

In the Borda count, 'technological change' and 'combined approach' received almost identical scores. 'More emissions from flying' again scored poorly.

Please rank the possible futures in order of preference (Borda count)

Technological change 99

More emission from flying 22

Flying less 64

Combined approach 99

Flying less until technology improves 73

Figure 2: Possible futures: Please rank the possible futures in order of preference (Borda count)

Assembly member who chose 'combined approach' as their first preference gave a range of reasons for their choice. This included a feeling that this future is 'balanced', with some noting their support for investment in alternative forms of transport. Comments included:

"Combines passenger growth with investment into surface transports. And a reasonable amount (30 m tonnes) of CO2 to be removed."

"Emissions lower, alternatives to flying being invested in so not forcing people to completely stop travelling – not a very drastic change in lifestyle. Most realistic option as growth in air passengers cannot suddenly stop."

"Seems obvious to make best efforts on all fronts including some small behaviour change."

"Overall the investment in high speed rail. And higher rate of technology."

"Most achievable and likely to be acceptable to the majority."

Futures – conclusions

Overall, assembly members' preferred futures were 'technological change' and the 'Combined approach', with the former securing substantially more first preference votes (39% to 22%).

Comments in group discussions and on their ballot papers suggest that assembly members' reasons for supporting 'Technological change' centred on a wish for a solution to air travel emissions that allows people to continue to fly. They cited rationale including freedom and happiness for this preference, as well as – to a slightly lesser extent – benefits to business and the economy. Some assembly members expressed scepticism about the feasibility of significant changes to passenger numbers.

Assembly members' support for continued flying did, however, have limits:

This split in first preference votes makes the Borda count results particularly instructive. They suggest that the two scenarios that large numbers of assembly members could live with, even if they were not their first preference, are 'technological change' and the 'Combined approach.' For some assembly members the latter offered "an acceptable best of both worlds" that was likely to be more achievable and acceptable to the public, and which included investment in alternative forms of transport. Taken together, these two scenarios suggest a future in which:

C. Policy options

After considering what the future of air travel in the UK would be, assembly members moved on to consider how we might get there. Specifically they looked at policy options in two areas:

Managing the amount we fly; Ensuring investment in greenhouse gas removals.

For each of these areas, the Expert Leads recapped and explained potential policy options. Assembly members discussed these ideas in their groups before voting by secret ballot. They were also able to make additional suggestions for steps that could be taken.

During their discussions, assembly members requested an opportunity to vote on:

Investment in the development and use of new technologies.

The results of this vote are also included below.

C.1 Managing the amount we fly

During the discussions, some assembly members asked for an additional option to be added to the ballot paper:"Taxes that increase as people fly more often and as they fly further." The Expert Leads accepted this request.

Assembly members looked at two options for managing the amount we fly:77

During the discussions, some assembly members asked for an additional option to be added to the ballot paper:

We accepted this request.78

This section starts by presenting the rationale for assembly members' views, taking each policy option in turn.

A carbon tax on all flights

This would involve replacing the current tax on flights79 with a carbon tax based on the amount of CO2 emitted for each passenger. The carbon tax paid could be varied by cabin class, although it would not have to be. For example, business class passengers could be asked to pay a higher amount.

Assembly members identified a number of pros, cons and conditions about a carbon tax on all flights. Conditions are measures that some assembly members said would need to be in place for them to support this policy option.

Pros

Cons

Conditions

In the voting, a carbon tax on all flights received some support from assembly members. Please see below for the results of the vote.

Taxes that increase as people fly more often

This would involve replacing air passenger duty with a tax that increases as people fly more often. This could be done so that people who only fly once in a year pay no tax. The tax paid could also be varied by cabin class although it would not have to be. For example, business class passengers could be asked to pay a higher amount.

Assembly members identified a number of pros, cons and conditions about taxes that increase as people fly more often.

Pros

Cons

Conditions

In the voting, taxes that increase as people fly more often received significant support from assembly members. However they did not receive as much support as taxes that increase as people fly more often and as they fly further. Please see page 143 for the vote results.

Additional ideas

Assembly members raised a number of additional ideas for policy options in this area:

"We could have both (with a smaller fairer carbon tax and higher frequent flyer levy)"

"Escalating carbon tax depending on how often you fly"

"Tax on fuel will drive more efficiency"

One assembly member commented "we are having to vote on tax – are there other options?! Tax by back door."80

Vote results

Assembly members voted by secret ballot on policy options for managing the amount we fly. There were two ballot papers. The first ballot paper asked assembly members how much they agreed or disagreed that each policy option should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. The second ballot paper asked them to rank the options in their order of preference. The votes from this second ballot paper were counted both in terms of first preference votes and via Borda count.

A majority of assembly members 'agreed' or 'strongly agreed' that all the policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. However some policy options were clearly much more supported than others.

The most popular option was 'taxes that increase as people fly more often and as they fly further.' 81% of assembly members 'agreed' or 'strongly agreed' that this should be part of how the UK gets to net zero, with an outright majority of 65% strong agreeing. This was followed by "taxes that increase as people fly more often (70% 'agreed' or 'strongly agreed'), with a carbon tax on all flights (59%) bringing up the rear.

A carbon tax on all flights also received much lower levels of strong support than the other options – 15%, compared to 35% and 65% respectively.

The results of the preference votes paint a similar picture. 'Taxes that increase as people fly more often and as they fly further' was by some distance the most popular option in terms of both first preference votes and the Borda count. A carbon tax on all flights remained the least popular option, again by some margin.

Figure 3: Managing the amount we fly: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

A carbon tax on all fights

15% Strongly Agree

44% Agree

15% Don’t mind or unsure

21% Disagree

6% Strongly disagree

Taxes that increase as people fly more often

35% Strongly Agree

35% Agree

12% Don’t mind or unsure

3% Disagree

15% Strongly disagree

Taxes that increase as people fly more often and as they fly further

65% Strongly Agree

15% Agree

3% Don’t mind or unsure

3% Disagree

15% Strongly disagree

Figure 3: Managing the amount we fly: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

A carbon tax on all fights 12%

Taxes that increase as people fly more often 21%

Taxes that increase as people fly more often and as they fly further 68%

Figure 4: Managing the amount we fly: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (Borda count)

A carbon tax on all fights 21%

Taxes that increase as people fly more often 29%

Taxes that increase as people fly more often and as they fly further 52%

Figure 5: Managing the amount we fly: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (Borda count)

C.2 Ensuring investment in greenhouse gas removals

Assembly members looked at three options for ensuring investment in greenhouse gas removals:

We start by presenting the rationale for their views, taking each policy option in turn.

Airline industry invests

This policy option would give the airline industry responsibility for investing in greenhouse gas removal measures to balance out remaining emissions from air travel.

Assembly members identified a number of pros, cons and conditions relating to this policy option.

Pros

Cons

Conditions

In the voting, this option received significant support from assembly members. Please see below for the results of the vote.

Government invests

This policy option would involve the government investing in greenhouse gas removal measures to balance out remaining emissions and ensure the net zero target is met. This would include emissions not just from air travel but also from other sectors likely to have remaining emissions in 2050, such as farming.

Assembly members identified a number of pros, cons and conditions about this policy option.

Pros

Cons

Conditions

In the voting, government investment received less support than the other policy options.

A wide range of organisations invest

This policy option would involve the government overseeing financial incentives to organisations that invest in greenhouse gas removal measures. This would include emissions not just from air travel but also from other sectors likely to have remaining emissions in 2050, such as farming. It could potentially involve a wide range of organisations receiving incentives.

Assembly members identified a number of pros, cons and conditions about this policy option.

Pros

Cons

Conditions

In the voting, this option received significant support from assembly members.

Vote results

Assembly members voted by secret ballot on policy options for ensuring investment in greenhouse gas removals. There were two ballot papers. The first ballot paper asked assembly members how much they agreed or disagreed that each policy option should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. The second ballot paper asked them to rank the options in their order of preference. The votes from this second ballot paper were counted both in terms of first preference votes and via Borda count.

How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

Airline industry invests

43% Strongly Agree

29% Agree

3% Don’t mind or unsure

20% Disagree

6% Strongly disagree

Government invests

20% Strongly Agree

31% Agree

14% Don’t mind or unsure

26% Disagree

9% Strongly disagree

A wide range of organisations invest

26% Strongly Agree

43% Agree

17% Don’t mind or unsure

9% Disagree

6% Strongly disagree

Figure 6: Ensuring investment in greenhouse gas removals: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero?(%)

A majority of assembly members 'agreed' or 'strongly agreed' that all the policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. However some policy options received significantly more support than others.

The two most popular options were airline industry investment and investment from a wide range of organisations:

Investment from the airline industry was, however, also more controversial. 26% of assembly members 'disagreed' or 'strongly disagreed' that it should be part of how the UK gets to net zero, with just 3% saying they were 'unsure' or 'didn't mind'. The equivalent figures for investment from a wide range of organisations were 15% and 17%.

Government investment was the least popular of the three options, although a small majority (51%) still supported it. It was also more controversial than the other options with 35% of assembly members 'disagreeing' or 'strongly disagreeing' that it should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. 14% said they 'didn't mind' or were 'unsure'.

The results of the preference votes shed additional light on assembly members' views. First preference votes showed a strong lean towards airline industry investment, with government investment coming second and investment from a wide range of organisations third. The Borda count showed a slight lead for airline industry investment with investment from a wide range of organisations coming a very close second, and government investment third.

Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Airline industry invests 46%

Government invests 29%

A wide range of organisations invest 26%

Figure 7: Ensuring investment in greenhouse gas removals: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (Borda count)

Airline industry invests 40%

Government invests 27%

A wide range of organisations invest 28%

Figure 8: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (Borda count)

C.3 Investing in the development and use of new technologies for air travel

The potential of new technologies was a strong theme in assembly members' discussions throughout weekend three. At the beginning of the weekend, ideas in this area topped assembly members' list of considerations for government and Parliament to bear in mind (see Section A). 'Technological change' was also assembly members' preferred future (see Section B).

Towards the end of the weekend, some assembly members asked if there could be a further vote looking at whether investment in the development and use of new technologies for air travel should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. Assembly members discussed the suggestion at their tables before the vote took place.

Assembly members identified a number of pros, cons and conditions about investment in the development and use of new technologies.

Pros

Cons

Conditions

Vote results

The ballot paper asked assembly members how much they agreed or disagreed that investment in the development and use of new technologies should be part of how the UK gets to net zero.

Their results show overwhelming agreement. 87% of assembly members 'agreed' or 'strongly agreed' with the statement, with a large majority (61%) strongly agreeing.

How much do you agree or disagree that investment in the development and use of new technologies for air travel should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

61% Strongly Agree

26% Agree

0% Don’t mind or unsure

6% Disagree

6% Strongly disagree

Figure 9: Investment in the development and use of technologies: How much do you agree or disagree that investment in the development and use of new technologies for air travel should be part of how the UK gets to net zero?(%)

Policy options – conclusions

Assembly members were generally supportive of policies to manage the amount we fly, ensure investment in greenhouse gas removals and invest in the development and use of new technologies for air travel. At least 50% of assembly members supported all the policy options.

That said, assembly members had strong and clear preferences within the policy options they considered.

Overall assembly members preferred managing the amount we fly through 'taxes that increase as we fly more often and as we fly further'. 80% of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that this should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. Assembly members' comments suggest that many saw this idea as fairer than the other proposals, which each took into account only one of how often people fly or how far they fly. They also felt it was less problematic in terms of its impact on people with lower incomes. Assembly members consistently highlighted two considerations as particularly important around implementation:

In terms of investment in greenhouse gas removals, assembly members tended to favour investment from the airline industry. 75% of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that this should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. There was also significant, albeit slightly lesser, support for the idea of investment from a wide range of organisations. Overall, assembly members were less keen on direct government investment.

Assembly members' comments suggest that behind these preferences lay a feeling that 'the polluter should pay. ' Some also felt airline industry investment would incentivise quicker process on new technologies. There was however uneasiness amongst some assembly members too, they suggested a need to monitor, scrutinise and perhaps enforce airline industry investment to ensure it actually took place.

Assembly members strongly supported investment in the development and use of new technologies for air travel. 87% of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that it should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. Assembly members' rationale included a wish to see technology develop quickly, and support for a technology-based solution to air travel emissions in general. Some assembly members raised concerns or conditions, including a wish not to rely solely on hopes of technological progress.

D. Anything else to tell government or Parliament

At the end of weekend three, assembly members had the opportunity to add any further thoughts on air travel and the path to net zero. A small number of assembly members chose to add additional points. These centred around eight main areas:

"Are you going to take into account aircraft engines and occupancy in relation to emissions, which will affect the amount of carbon tax for each journey?"

"Carbon tax extreme example: You get on a plane, and find that you're the only passenger!"

Conclusions

Assembly members expressed clear and consistent recommendations about air travel and the path to net zero.

There was strong support for steps to ensure that new technologies for air travel progress as quickly as possible. Assembly members chose "speeding up technology" as the top consideration they would like government and Parliament to bear in mind. They also expressed very strong support for investment in the development and use of new technologies for air travel. 87% of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that this should be part of how the UK gets to net zero.

A key reason behind this preference is that many assembly members would like to see a solution to air travel emissions that allows people to continue to fly. Their rationale included a wish to protect people's freedom and happiness, as well as benefits for business and the economy. Their support for continued flying did however have limits. Assembly members resoundingly rejected a future in which air passenger numbers would rise by as much as 65% between 2018 and 2050, labelling it "counterproductive" – only 3% of assembly members chose such as future as their first preference.

Instead, assembly members sought to find an acceptable balance between achieving the net zero target, impacts on lifestyles, reliance on new technologies and investment in alternative forms of transport. Taken together, their preferences suggest a future in which:

Some assembly members noted their support for investment in alternatives to air travel.

In terms of how to achieve this future, assembly members' preferred policy option for managing the amount we fly were taxes that increase as people fly more often and as they fly further. 80% of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that this should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. Assembly members tended see these taxes as fairer than alternatives that only took into account one of how often or how far people fly. They also felt they were less problematic in terms of their impact on people with lower incomes. Some assembly members suggested that exceptions would need to be made for people with family abroad or for "essential flyers." Others felt that any money raised from such taxes should be ring-fenced to support new air travel technologies.

In terms of investment in greenhouse gas removals, assembly members tended to favour investment from the airline industry. 75% of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that this should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. There was also significant support for financial incentives for investment from a wide range of organisations. Overall, assembly members were less keen on direct government investment. Assembly members' comments suggest that behind these preferences lay a feeling amongst many that 'the polluter should pay. ' There was however uneasiness amongst some assembly members, who suggested a need to monitor, scrutinise and perhaps enforce airline industry investment to ensure it actually takes place.

Assembly members' comments and votes throughout the weekend re-emphasised the points raised in their top considerations for air travel and the path to net zero (see Section A). This list provides an important guide for policy-makers looking at the UK's net zero strategy.

In the home

Summary of recommendations

  1. Assembly members emphasised the need for a long-term strategy with a wide range of actors taking steps to move the sector towards net zero. Assembly members strongly supported roles for government investment (80%), local solutions ( 80%), individual responsibility (80%) and market innovation  (80%).
  2. A majority of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that 19 policy measures on heat and energy use in the home should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. Policies supported by at least two-thirds of assembly members were:
    • Support for smaller organisations to offer energy services (94%);
    • Simpler consumer protection measures (92%);
    • Changes to product standards to make products more energy efficient and 'smart' (91%);
    • Local plans for zero carbon homes (89%);
    • A ban on sales of new gas boilers from 2030 or 2035 (86%);
    • Changes to energy market rules to allow more companies to compete (86%);
    • Changes to VAT on energy efficiency and zero carbon heating products (83%);
    • Information and support funded by government (83%), or information and support provided by government (72%);
    • Government help for everyone (69%) or government help for poorer households (68%);
    • Enforcing district heating networks (66%).
  3. In their discussions, assembly members emphasised their support for tailored solutions for local areas and individual households; increased choice, including through steps to promote competition; and reliable and clear information for the public. They stressed that changes need to work for all income groups and housing types. Some noted concerns about the influence and behaviour of big companies, and around use of personal data.
  4. On home retrofits, assembly members emphasised the need to minimise disruption in the home, put in place support around costs, and offer flexibility and choice to homeowners. They showed a slight preference for upgrading each home all in one go (56%), compared to upgrading each home gradually (44%) but attached conditions to the former around how it is financed. Some also stressed that this should be a choice for homeowners.
  5. The best technology to use for zero carbon heating is a matter of significant policy debate. However at least 80% of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that each of hydrogen (83%), heat pumps (80%), and heat networks (80%) should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. 94% of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that 'people in different parts of the country should be offered different solutions to zero carbon heating.'
  6. The 23 considerations for government and Parliament that assembly members identified at the start of their discussions – along with the rationale and conditions assembly members noted throughout – provide a valuable guide for policy-makers working on heat and energy use in the home and the path to net zero.

In the home

Climate Assembly UK's 'in the home' theme focussed on changes that are needed to the use of heating, hot water and electricity in the home to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

At the moment, the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the home are:81

Around 15% of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions come from the residential sector.82

What did the assembly consider?

Thirty-five assembly members considered the topic of heat and energy use in the home. We selected these assembly members from the assembly as a whole using random stratified sampling. This ensured that they remained reflective of the wider UK population in terms of both demographics83 and their level of concern about climate change.

These assembly members heard a wide range of views on the future of heat and energy use in UK homes, and how we might move towards that future. They had the opportunity to question each speaker84 in detail. These evidence sessions took place at weekend two of the assembly.

Assembly members spent weekend three of the assembly discussing the evidence they had heard and their own views in-depth, before reaching conclusions on five separate areas:

  1. Considerations: the overarching considerations that government and Parliament should bear in mind when making decisions about heat and energy use in the home;
  2. Retrofit: whether upgrades to each home to reduce energy use (for example, to improve insulation) should happen gradually or all in one go;
  3. Zero carbon heating: what technology or combination of technologies should be used to replace gas central heating, and whether or not different parts of the country should be offered different solutions.
  4. Futures : an overarching view of how to make change happen around heat and energy use in UK homes;
  5. Policy options: which specific policies should be used as part of this future.

Assembly members also had the opportunity to discuss and add anything else they wanted to say to government and Parliament about heat and energy use in the home and the path to net zero. Assembly members' views on the implications of Covid-19 for this topic are touched on in Chapter 10.

A. Considerations

Assembly members reached their first decisions on 'in the home' by discussing their answers to the following question:

What considerations should government and Parliament bear in mind when making decisions about heat and energy use in the home and the path to net zero?

Assembly members thought about their answers to this question individually. They then discussed their views in small groups at their tables, with each table agreeing their eight top considerations. These top considerations had to, between them, represent the range of views at the table.

Facilitators took the top considerations from each table and grouped similar options together to create a list on which assembly members could vote. They checked this list back with assembly members to make sure they had accurately reflected their views. This included making any necessary adjustments. Each assembly member voted for the six options that they felt to be most important.

The results were as follows. The wording of the considerations in the table is either word for word what assembly members wrote on their option cards or, where facilitators combined similar options from several tables, how we described the options to assembly members prior to the vote.

RankConsideration% assembly members who chose it as a priority

1

Strategy needs to be enforceable by government, and binding for future governments.[^5]A guaranteed long-term safety guard (including for industry)

60

2

Make this work for everyone. All housing types and geographies (urban and rural)

Some assembly members asked to avoid “mak[ing] the poor poorer by loading costs on to them”, with others noting the need to pay attention to “people whose livelihoods will be affected (e.g. heating engineers and farmers).” Some said solutions need to work for both tenants and owners.

Other assembly members talked about “infrastructure challenges” including “rural areas …[not having] ready-made pipework in the ground”, disruption caused by “dragging up streets” and the idea that “one size doesn’t fit all.”

54

3

Education and good communication should build awareness to enable people to make informed decisions

Some assembly members suggested this was important to “overcome the challenge of lack of trust in government messages.” Others advised “don’t sell it as ‘dealing with climate change’ but as making a cleaner planet.” Some assembly members suggested that part of the solution could be “more education in schools, colleges.”

51

4

Have imaginative solutions/incentives to make work financially viable

Some assembly members suggested the following: “loans that can be paid off through your bills”, “lower stamp duty for efficient homes”, “connect EPC rating with significant tax subsidy”, “setting up a big charity with big philanthropy money.” Others suggested “using milestones to force change (like TV switchover)” and “making the transition seamless for consumers.”

46

5

Learn from others and avoid making expensive mistakes

Some assembly members talked about a need to “plan things correctly, with everyone’s voices/input to avoid expensive mistakes or revisions and with a phased approach and clear principles.” Others said “government and Parliament need to consider learning from elsewhere to ensure planned, effective changes with clear deadlines (with urgency).”

43

6

The onus should be on producers/manufacturers, rather than consumers, to:

  • “produce products that deliver as intended with guaranteed lifespan”;
  • “ensure access to zero carbon products.”

40

7

Solutions should be affordable for all consumers in all circumstances

Some assembly members said this should include “helping ‘everyday folk’ (people who would not normally be considered vulnerable).” Others said it “needs to be fair and financially viable for all households.”

37

8

Minimum standard for all homes

31

=9

Make best use of the role of local authorities

Some assembly members suggested that this included local authorities “using their [area’s] range of natural resources.” Others said to “give local authorities power, but make them more accountable to local people, e.g. via citizens assemblies.”

29

=9

Solutions should be tailored to local and individual needs

29

11

Need to consider impact on jobs, including retraining and retention

Some assembly member noted the “impact on jobs, including local jobs,” suggesting a need to “sustain skill-set[s] as technology progresses.” Others said that “industry professionals will require retraining” and that this “should be affordable e.g. [retraining for] boiler/gas technicians on new boilers.”

23

=12

Solutions should focus on reducing energy consumption and improving efficiency

17

=12

Ensure that changes made and any new technology are well-researched and sustainable in the long-term

17

=12

Consider the health benefits of change

17

=15

Cost of manufacturing and disposal (including carbon cost and price)

14

=15

Government and Parliament need to consider legislation that ensures transparency and fairness in lobbying and influencing

14

=17

We need cross-political party solutions

11

=17

Support vulnerable groups with advice and financially

11

=17

Getting the right balance to ensure we build, recycle and upgrade products to deliver the best outcomes

Some assembly members asked “can we upgrade/update instead of [going for] full replacement.”

11

=20

Consider adapting Section 106 to include a pot of cash for home insulation

9

=20

Government and Parliament need to consider disincentivising fossil fuels for homes

9

22

Businesses need to be transparent and reinvest profits/not make huge profits

6

=23

Practical, achievable and doable solutions implemented by government

3

=23

Need to consider health and safety of interventions to ensure no negative effects on health e.g. from insulation or technologies

Some assembly members suggested “regulation of products and installation to ensure safety and no negative effects on health.”

3

B. What should happen – Retrofit

The first topic assembly members looked at was retrofit. This means making improvements to homes to reduce energy use, such as insulating lofts and walls and reducing drafts from windows. Speakers at weekend two of the assembly told assembly members that significant energy efficiency improvements need to be made to most of our homes over the next few years.

Assembly members discussed whether it would work best to:

Assembly members discussed these options in small groups, before voting by secret ballot.

We start by presenting the rationale for their views, taking each scenario in turn.

B.1 Upgrading each home all in one go

Assembly members felt that this option had both pros and cons, and expressed these in their discussions and on their ballot papers. Some assembly members also suggested 'conditions' that should be met if this option went ahead.

Pros

Cons

Conditions

B.2 Upgrading each home gradually

Assembly members felt upgrading each home gradually had both pros and cons, and expressed these in their discussions and on their ballot papers. Some assembly members also suggested 'conditions' that should be met if this option went ahead.

Pros

Cons

Conditions

A few assembly members who voted for 'upgrading each home gradually' used their ballot papers to expand on some of the points above. Comments included:

"Everything needs a starting point. I think getting started with basic things i.e. loft, insulation, draft proofing, and expand from that."

"From an environmental stand-point upgrading all in one go would be great, but I have chosen the option to upgrade each home gradually as I see this as being more realistic economically and technologically. Improvements over time may result in cost decreases."

"This has to be an affordable choice. Consideration must be given to the fact that the average UK resident is in huge debt to begin with so cost is a question. In my case I would not be able to afford to do this at once, so a gradual programme would be satisfactory."

Vote results

Assembly members voted on the two retrofit options by secret ballot, ranking them in order of preference.

Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Upgrading each home all in one go 56%

Upgrading each home gradually 44%

Figure 1: Retrofits: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Assembly members showed a slight preference for 'upgrading each home all in one go' (56%), over 'upgrading each home gradually' (44%). For a number of assembly members, their backing for all-in-one retrofits was however conditional on what financial support and arrangements would be available. Conversely, only one assembly member said their support for 'upgrading each home gradually' was conditional on a particular measure.

Some assembly members emphasised on their ballot paper that both options should be available or that each is good for different purposes:

"As a homeowner, I would need to do things gradually, due to cost, so that would be my preference. If the government or housing association were responsible I would go for option 1 as they have the ability to do several houses at once."

"Gradually [for a] homeowner (cost and inconvenience, normal on-going renovations). All in one [for]…social housing should be the best approach."

"I do think though that it shouldn't be a 'one size fits all' situation and both methods should be considered."

"[I support Option 2 because] it would not prevent households upgrading in one go whereas 'all in one go' prevents [people upgrading] gradually."

"I do not believe we should force people into a decision one way or the other. Different people have different circumstances. What is better for one is not better for the other."

The assembly member who made the last comment above abstained from the vote.

Retrofit – conclusions

Taken together, assembly members' votes and comments paint a nuanced picture of their views on retrofits. They suggest that assembly members saw three areas as particularly important:

Assembly members also raised points around impacts on CO2 emissions, work quality, and the availability of improved technology, among other issues.

When it came to the vote, assembly members had mixed views about whether gradual or all-in-one retrofits would be best. In pure percentage terms, their votes showed a slight preference for 'upgrading each home all in one go' (56%), over 'upgrading each home gradually' (44%). However, some assembly members attached conditions to their backing for the all-in-one-go option around what financial support and arrangements would be available. Others were clear that they felt both gradual and all-in-one retrofits should be possible: for some this was about the ability of households to choose what is right for them; for others, the best option depended on the type of housing in question.

C. What should happen – Zero carbon heating

Assembly members discussed two different areas in relation to zero carbon heating:

At present most homes in the UK are heated with natural gas, which is a fossil fuel.

This section takes each of the above areas in turn, firstly presenting assembly members' rationale and then the results of the relevant votes.

C.1 Heat pumps

Assembly members discussed electric heat pumps in small groups. They identified the following pros and cons.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members suggested conditions they would want to be in place for heat pumps to be used. Some said that "solar panels need to be part of the mix and windmills at home." Others talked about the "role of surveyors – need to be proactive."

Assembly members' votes showed considerable support for heat pumps. Please see below for the vote results.

C.2 Hydrogen

The second technology that assembly members discussed was hydrogen. Assembly members identified the following pros and cons.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members suggested conditions they would want to be in place for hydrogen to be used. Some wondered whether "smaller networks [could] be created to make it more available." Others suggested that it "might be viable in [the] long term [only] – due to [the] costs of electrolysis."

Assembly members' votes showed considerable support for hydrogen, although this support was slightly less strong than for heat pumps and heat networks. Please see below for the vote results.

C.3 Heat networks

Assembly members discussed heat networks in small groups. They identified the following pros and cons.

Pros

Cons

Vote results

Assembly members voted on heat pumps, hydrogen and heat networks by secret ballot.

How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

Heat pumps

34% Strongly Agree

46% Agree

9% Don’t mind or unsure

11% Disagree

0% Strongly disagree

Hydrogen

20% Strongly Agree

63% Agree

6% Don’t mind or unsure

9% Disagree

3% Strongly disagree

Heat networks

31% Strongly Agree

49% Agree

14% Don’t mind or unsure

0% Disagree

6% Strongly disagree

Figure 2: Zero carbon heating: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero?(%)

At least 80% of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that each technology should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. Variations between the results for the different technologies were minimal: slightly more assembly members supported the use of hydrogen (83%, compared to 80% for the two other technologies), but fewer 'strongly agreed' with its use (20%, as opposed to 31% and 34%).

C.4 Different solutions for different local areas

After considering the three types of technology, assembly members moved on to look at whether people in different parts of the country should be offered different solutions to zero carbon heating. They identified the following pros and cons.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members suggested measures they would want to see in place if different areas are offered different solutions:

"I believe that central government funding to local authorities should be based on the options they have at their disposal to avoid any unfair disadvantages to areas that are not rich in natural resources, so [that] each LHA [can] have a consistent fair approach and all energy consumers pay the same price."

"Needs good joined up / partnership working"

"Transparency should be used to explain why different options are available to different people."

Assembly members voted overwhelmingly in favour of offering people in different parts of the country different solutions. Please see below for the voting results.

Figure 3: Zero carbon heating: "People in different parts of the country should be offered different solutions to zero carbon heating" (%)

68% Strongly Agree

26% Agree

% Don’t mind or unsure

3% Disagree

3% Strongly disagree

Figure 3: Zero carbon heating: "People in different parts of the country should be offered different solutions to zero carbon heating" (%)

Vote results

Assembly members voted by secret ballot on how much they agreed or disagreed with the statement: "People in different parts of the country should be offered different solutions to zero carbon heating".

94% of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' with the statement. A large majority (68%) 'strongly agreed'.

Zero carbon heating – conclusions

The best technology to use for zero carbon heating is a matter of significant policy debate. However assembly members were clear that, in general, they would be comfortable for any of the technologies to be used. At least 80% of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that each technology of heat pumps, hydrogen and heat networks should be part of how the UK gets to net zero.

Assembly members also had clear views about whether people in different parts of the country should be offered different solutions to zero carbon heating. 94% of assembly members 'agreed' or 'strongly agreed' with this statement, with 68% strongly agreeing. For many assembly members, local areas have different geographies, resources, infrastructures, restrictions and costs; they felt that areas should be able to choose the technologies best suited to their needs.

D. Futures

Having considered what the future should look like in terms of home retrofits and zero carbon heating, assembly members moved on to look at how change should happen.

To aid them in this process, the Expert Leads presented assembly members with four scenarios:

  1. Individuals take responsibility;
  2. Market innovation;
  3. Government investment;
  4. Local solutions.

Together the scenarios cover a broad range of views about how change might work. They were not mutually exclusive.

D.1 Individuals take responsibility

In this possible future, individual householders or landlords would have responsibility to upgrade their properties. This would include installing energy efficiency measures and zero carbon heating. It would involve:

Assembly members discussed this possible future at their tables. They identified the following pros and cons.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members made additional points about this future. They suggested that consideration should be given to:

Assembly members showed considerable support for this future in their votes, although slightly less than for some of the other futures. Please below for the vote results.

D.2 Market innovation

In this possible future, it would be easier for any company, not just energy companies, to sell 'energy services' (like 'heat as a service')85. It would involve:

Assembly members discussed this possible future at their tables. They identified the following pros and cons.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members made additional points about this future. They suggested that consideration should be given to:

Assembly members showed considerable support for this future in their votes, although less than for some of the other futures. Please below for the vote results.

D.3 Government investment

In this possible future, central government would invest public money in a nationwide retrofit scheme. It would involve:

Assembly members discussed this possible future at their tables. They identified the following pros and cons.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members made additional points about this future. They suggested that:

Assembly members showed considerable support for this future in their votes. Please see below for the vote results.

D.4 Local solutions

In this possible future, local government (e.g. a city or a county) would have overall responsibility for getting homes to zero carbon. It would involve:

Assembly members discussed this possible future at their tables. They identified the following pros and cons.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members made additional points about this future:

"Need for informal forward looking, efficient, innovative local councils"

"How would local authorities prioritise where gets changes first?"

"Local citizen assemblies deciding which tech is best for local environment"

"Must be options for choice [for] individuals"

"Central government will need to work with local authorities to meet local needs"

"Individuals should be trusted to chose what is best for them but they should be supported by government"

Assembly members showed considerable support for this future in their votes.

Vote results

Assembly members voted on the futures by secret ballot. There were two different ballot papers. The first ballot paper asked assembly members how much they agreed or disagreed that each future should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. The second ballot paper asked them to rank the futures in their order of preference.

The votes from this second ballot paper were counted in two ways:

How much do you agree or disagree that each of the possible futures should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

Individuals take responsibility

31% Strongly Agree

49% Agree

9% Don’t mind or unsure

11% Disagree

0% Strongly disagree

Market innovation

26% Strongly Agree

54% Agree

9% Don’t mind or unsure

11% Disagree

0% Strongly disagree

Government investment

37% Strongly Agree

43% Agree

9% Don’t mind or unsure

11% Disagree

0% Strongly disagree

Local solutions

40% Strongly Agree

40% Agree

9% Don’t mind or unsure

9% Disagree

3% Strongly disagree

Figure 4: Possible futures: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the possible futures should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

The results of the first vote suggest that assembly members would be happy for all four of these ways of making change happen to play a role in helping the UK get to net zero. 80% of assembly members 'agreed' or 'strongly agreed' that each of the futures should play a part. There were slightly higher levels of strong support ("strongly agree") for 'local solutions' and 'government investment', with 'market innovation' receiving the lowest levels of strong support.

Please rank the possible futures in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Individuals take responsibility 26%

Market innovation 14%

Government investment 29%

Local solutions 31%

Figure 5: Possible futures: Please rank the possible futures in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Please rank the possible futures in order of preference (Borda count)

Individuals take responsibility 47%

Market innovation 43%

Government investment 59%

Local solutions 61%

Figure 6: Possible futures: Please rank the possible futures in order of preference (Borda count)

The second vote confirmed these preferences. 'Local solutions' and 'government investment' received the most first preference votes and highest Borda count scores, followed by 'individuals take responsibility'. 'Market innovation' was a little way behind the other options, particularly in terms of first preference votes.

One assembly member commented:

"I think that the best solution is actually a combination of them all. We need government investment and regulations to force the change and make it available. The solutions need to be considered on a local level to incorporate the different needs/resources there. Then the individual can make a decision on what is available to them. Market innovation alongside this could allow for a wider range of options and collaboration."

Futures – conclusions

Assembly members backed a combination of ways to create change in heat and energy use in the home. 80% of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that each of individual responsibility, market innovation, government investment and local solutions should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. Assembly members were particularly positive about 'government investment' and 'local solutions'. They suggested that government investment would mean a co-ordinated plan, with quicker change and clear standards, among other benefits. They felt that local solutions would result in plans tailored to local needs, and that they would benefit the local economy and facilitate better engagement with local communities.

'Market innovation' tended to receive slightly less support across the votes, with assembly members expressing concerns about potential company behaviour.

E. Policy options

After considering how to make change happen in general terms, assembly members moved on to consider what specific policies that might involve. They looked at policy options in five areas:

For each of these areas, the Expert Leads recapped and explained potential policy ideas. Assembly members discussed these options in their groups before voting by secret ballot. They were also able to note suggestions for additional measures.

We start by presenting the rationale for their views, taking each policy option in turn.

E.1 Information

Assembly members looked at four options around information:

Carbon MOTs for houses

This would involve each home having a test every few years to see what improvements could be made to reduce its energy use (e.g. draught proofing, better insulation, heating upgrade). It would be carried out by independent assessors.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about carbon MOTs for houses.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members said they would only support this policy if it was a "single MOT once [and] only advisory!" Others said it would need to "tailor results to personal situations. Not everyone should be forced to take the fastest option to reach net zero." Similarly others said there would need to be an "allowance for special situations" or queried "are required improvements compulsory, especially in rented accommodation." Some assembly members said it would need to combined with "government funding." Others said work would need to go into ensuring that MOT assessments are "genuine and honest."

Information and support provided by government

This would involve the government running an information campaign to tell householders and landlords how they could make their homes zero-carbon and who can help them.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about this policy option.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members said that they would want to see a "consistent campaign" or that they would want the information provided to include details of agencies that could provide advice on the work to be done.

Information and support funded by government

This would involve information and support funded by government, but run by an independent organisation such as Citizens' Advice. The government would pay this organisation to run an information campaign that tells householders and landlords how they could make their homes zero carbon and who can help them.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about information and support funded by government.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members said they would want it to be an "equal service for everyone", with "information provided regularly." Some said that "all information needs to direct to support – funds / loans may not be clear." Others said their support was conditional on "funding [for] Citizens' Advice", or a "mix of funding (companies and government)." Some commented that "legislation for private housing is generally efficient…."

Information and support funded by private companies

This would involve information and support funded by private companies through energy bills and run by an independent organisation such as Citizens' Advice.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about this policy option.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members asked "can the higher energy bills be paid for by companies (profits) rather than the consumer."

Vote results

Assembly members voted by secret ballot on policy options around information. There were two ballot papers. The first ballot paper asked assembly members how much they agreed or disagreed that each policy option should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. The second ballot paper asked them to rank the options in their order of preference. The votes from this second ballot paper were counted both in terms of first preference votes and via Borda count.

A clear majority of assembly of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that three of the policies should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. In order of overall levels of agreement, these were:

More assembly members 'strongly agreed' with carbon MOTs for houses (37%) than with the other two options they viewed favourably (29% and 23% respectively).

Only 37% of assembly members supported the idea of 'information and support funded by private companies.' A greater percentage (40%) 'strongly disagreed' or 'disagreed' that it should be introduced.

How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

Carbon MOTs for houses

37% Strongly Agree

26% Agree

9% Don’t mind or unsure

20% Disagree

9% Strongly disagree

Information and support provided by government

29% Strongly Agree

49% Agree

14% Don’t mind or unsure

9% Disagree

0% Strongly disagree

Information and support funded by government

23% Strongly Agree

60% Agree

11% Don’t mind or unsure

6% Disagree

0% Strongly disagree

Information and support funded by private companies

11% Strongly Agree

26% Agree

23% Don’t mind or unsure

31% Disagree

9% Strongly disagree

Figure 7: Information: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

The ranking votes largely reinforced the results of the first vote. Carbon MOTs for houses was the most popular policy in terms of first preference votes, possibly reflecting the higher levels of 'strong support' for it in vote one. In the Borda count all three options supported by a majority of assembly members in the first vote scored well. 'Information and support funded by private companies' remained the least popular option by some distance.

Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Carbon MOTs for houses 40%

Information and support provided by government 29%

Information and support funded by government 26%

Information and support funded by private companies 6%

Figure 8: Information: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (Borda count)

Carbon MOTs for houses 60

Information and support provided by government 60

Information and support funded by government 62

Information and support funded by private companies 28

Figure 9: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (Borda count)

E.2 Fairness and consumer protection

Assembly members looked at two pairs of policy options and one standalone policy idea around 'fairness and consumer protection.'

Assembly members started by considering whether they preferred to 'raise money through adding to all householders' energy bills' or to 'raise money through taxation and government borrowing.' They then looked at whether there should be 'government help for everyone' or only 'government help for poorer households.' Finally they examined whether or not there should be 'simpler consumer protection measures.'

Raise money through adding to all householders' energy bills

This would involve raising some funding for energy efficiency improvements through adding an additional charge to gas and electricity bills.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about this policy option.

Pros

Cons

Raise money through taxation and government borrowing

This would involve the government using public money, raised through taxation, to fund some energy efficiency improvements. The government could also borrow money.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about this policy option.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted 'conditions' that they would want to see in place for this policy to be implemented:

Government help for everyone

This would mean that everyone could get help to fund improvements to their home, regardless of income.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about this policy option.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted 'conditions' that they would want to see in place for this policy to be implemented:

Government help for poorer households

This would mean households on a lower income and/or who have high energy costs ('fuel poor') getting help to fund improvements to their home.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about this policy option.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted 'conditions' that they would want to see in place for this policy to be implemented:

Simpler consumer protection measures

This would involve the government reviewing current rules on consumer protection to make them simpler and more effective. There are currently lots of separate sets of rules, covering different aspects of energy (such as supplying gas and electricity, or fitting boilers), as well as products and services linked to energy (like building regulations). This can make it difficult for people to know who to turn to if something goes wrong.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about simpler consumer protection measures.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members suggested that consumer protection measures "nee[d] clarification rather than simplification for consumers." Others noted a need to think about any "funding implication."

Vote results

Assembly members voted by secret ballot on policy options around fairness and consumer protection. There were two ballot papers. The first ballot paper asked assembly members how much they agreed or disagreed that each policy option should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. The second ballot paper asked them to rank two pairs of options:

How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

Raise money through adding to all householders’ energy bills

23% Strongly Agree

31% Agree

11% Don’t mind or unsure

17% Disagree

17% Strongly disagree

Raise money through taxation and government borrowing

14% Strongly Agree

51% Agree

17% Don’t mind or unsure

9% Disagree

9% Strongly disagree

Government help for everyone

43% Strongly Agree

26% Agree

11% Don’t mind or unsure

17% Disagree

3% Strongly disagree

Government help for poorer households

34% Strongly Agree

34% Agree

9% Don’t mind or unsure

17% Disagree

6 % Strongly disagree

Simpler consumer protection measures

46% Strongly Agree

46% Agree

6% Don’t mind or unsure

3% Disagree

0% Strongly disagree

Figure 10: Fairness and consumer protection: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero?(%)

A majority of assembly members supported all five policy options. However the extent of their support varied:

The preference voting shed additional light on assembly members' views:

Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Raise money through adding to all householders’ energy bills 53%

Raise money through taxation and government borrowing 47%

Figure 11: Fairness and consumer protection: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Government help for everyone 53%

Government help for poorer households 47%

Figure 12: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

E.3 Standard setting

Assembly members looked at three options around standard setting:

We start by presenting the rationale for their views, taking each policy option in turn.

Ban sales of new gas boilers

This would involve the government announcing a ban on the sale of new fossil fuel gas boilers. The ban would come into effect in 10 or 15 years time (2030 or 2035).

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about this policy option.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted 'conditions' that they would want to see in place for this policy to be implemented:

Changes to product standards

There are legal standards applied to energy-using products. This policy option would involve the government strengthening these standards to make sure products are more efficient and also 'smart'. 'Smart' products are connected to the internet and the electricity grid, so that they can respond to demand on the grid. For example, a fridge might turn off if there is a short period of high demand for electricity.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about changes to product standards.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted 'conditions' that they would want to see in place for this policy to be implemented:

Requirements for selling and renting

This would involve a requirement for each home to reach a certain level of energy efficiency. You couldn't sell or rent a home that did not reach this level.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about this policy option.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted 'conditions' that they would want to see in place for this policy to be implemented:

Vote results

Assembly members voted by secret ballot on policy options around standard setting. There were two ballot papers. The first ballot paper asked assembly members how much they agreed or disagreed that each policy option should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. The second ballot paper asked them to rank the options in their order of preference. The votes from this second ballot paper were counted both in terms of first preference votes and via Borda count.

How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

Ban sales of new gas boilers

40% Strongly Agree

46% Agree

6% Don’t mind or unsure

6% Disagree

3% Strongly disagree

Changes to product standards

51% Strongly Agree

40% Agree

6% Don’t mind or unsure

3% Disagree

0% Strongly disagree

Requirements for selling and renting

34% Strongly Agree

31% Agree

17% Don’t mind or unsure

17% Disagree

3% Strongly disagree

Figure 13: Standard setting: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

A clear majority of assembly members supported all three policy measures, with two options securing over 80% support. The percentage who 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that each option should be part of how the UK gets to net zero was:

Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes )

Ban sales of new gas boilers 29%

Changes to product standards 49%

Requirements for selling and renting 23%

Figure 14: Standard setting: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes )

Levels of 'strong disagreement' or 'disagreement' with 'ban sales of new gas boilers' and 'changes to product standards' were low – just 3% and 9% respectively. 17% of assembly members opposed 'requirements for selling and renting"; another 17% were unsure.

Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (Borda count)

Ban sales of new gas boilers 36

Changes to product standards 41

Requirements for selling and renting 27

Figure 15: Standard setting: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (Borda count)

The ranking vote confirmed the results of the first vote. 'Changes to product standards' remained assembly members' preferred option, followed by 'ban sales of new gas boilers'. 'Requirements for selling and renting' brought up the rear.

E.4 Incentives

Assembly members looked at four options around incentives:

We start by presenting the rationale for their views, taking each policy option in turn.

Changing council tax or stamp duty

Council tax is a regular payment, while stamp duty is paid when you buy a house. The levels of either could be adjusted so that you pay less tax for a home that has lower emissions.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about changing council tax or stamp duty.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted 'conditions' that they would want to see in place for this policy to be implemented:

Green mortgages

This would involve government encouraging or requiring mortgage providers to offer 'green mortgages' at cheaper rates to people in lower carbon homes.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about this policy option.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted 'conditions' that they would want to see in place for this policy to be implemented:

Others assembly members asked "who decides on qualifying homes" or suggested "a lump sum one-off payment off the mortgage because of concern about government involvement: poor experience of dealing with government."

Government-backed loans

This would involve government working with banks or other lenders to offer loans with low or no interest. This would spread the cost of home improvements, including for energy efficiency measures and zero carbon heating.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about government-backed loans.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted 'conditions' that they would want to see in place for this policy to be implemented:

Changes to VAT

VAT is currently paid on some energy efficiency and zero carbon heating products, including efficient window glazing, some boilers, and DIY insulation measures. Rates are between 5% and 20% and are added to the cost of the products. Removing or reducing this VAT would make these products cheaper.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about changes to VAT.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted 'conditions' that they would want to see in place for this policy to be implemented:

Some assembly members suggested that "the devil will be in the detail with all of these options."

Vote results

Assembly members voted by secret ballot on policy options around incentives. There were two ballot papers. The first ballot paper asked assembly members how much they agreed or disagreed that each policy option should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. The second ballot paper asked them to rank the options in their order of preference. The votes from this second ballot paper were counted both in terms of first preference votes and via Borda count.

How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

Changing council tax or stamp duty

20% Strongly Agree

43% Agree

11% Don’t mind or unsure

14% Disagree

11% Strongly disagree

Green mortgages

17% Strongly Agree

46% Agree

20% Don’t mind or unsure

3% Disagree

14% Strongly disagree

Government-backed loans

17% Strongly Agree

37% Agree

31% Don’t mind or unsure

1% Disagree

3% Strongly disagree

Changes to VAT

46% Strongly Agree

37% Agree

6% Don’t mind or unsure

9% Disagree

3% Strongly disagree

Figure 16: Incentives: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero?(%)

A majority of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that all four policy measures should be part of how the UK gets to net zero:

Levels of disagreement were highest for 'changing council tax or stamp duty' (25%) and 'green mortgages' (17%).

Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Changing council tax or stamp duty 23%

Green mortgages 17%

Government-backed loans 26%

Changes to VAT 34%

Figure 17: Incentives: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (Borda count)

Changing council tax or stamp duty 47

Green mortgages 44

Government-backed loans 54

Changes to VAT 65

Figure 18: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (Borda count)

The ranking vote confirmed 'changes to VAT' as the most popular option amongst assembly members. It also suggested that 'government-backed loans' were more supported – and more strongly supported – by more assembly members than might have been assumed from the first vote. 26% of assembly members said these loans were their preferred option and it came second in the Borda count.

E.5 Roles and powers

Assembly members looked at four options around roles and powers:

We start by presenting the rationale for their views, taking each policy option in turn.

Changing energy market rules

This would involve changing the rules governing energy markets to allow more companies to compete. This could, for example, enable companies to sell energy services like 'heat as a service'.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about changing energy market rules.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted 'conditions' that they would want to see in place for this policy to be implemented:

Support for smaller organisations

This would involve providing support for smaller organisations to offer energy services. Organisations impacted would include small companies, co-operatives and non-profit organisations. Examples of the support they might receive include reduced tax rates, less regulation, or obligations for big companies to work with co-operatives and community organisations.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about support for smaller organisations.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted 'conditions' that they would want to see in place for this policy to be implemented:

Local plans for zero carbon homes

This would involve central government giving local authorities the powers and resources to develop an area-wide plan for moving to zero carbon homes.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about this policy option.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted 'conditions' that they would want to see in place for this policy to be implemented:

Enforcing district heating networks

This would involve local authorities requiring developers – and possibly individual buildings and homes – to connect to heat networks.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about this policy option.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted 'conditions' that they would want to see in place for this policy to be implemented:

Vote results

Assembly members voted by secret ballot on policy options around roles and powers. There were two ballot papers. The first ballot paper asked assembly members how much they agreed or disagreed that each policy option should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. The second ballot paper asked them to rank the options in their order of preference. The votes from this second ballot paper were counted both in terms of first preference votes and via Borda count.

How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

Changing energy market rules

26% Strongly Agree

60% Agree

9% Don’t mind or unsure

6% Disagree

0% Strongly disagree

Support for smaller organisations

34% Strongly Agree

60% Agree

6% Don’t mind or unsure

0% Disagree

0% Strongly disagree

Local plans for zero carbon homes

46% Strongly Agree

43% Agree

9% Don’t mind or unsure

3% Disagree

% Strongly disagree

Enforcing district heating networks

29% Strongly Agree

37% Agree

17% Don’t mind or unsure

9% Disagree

9% Strongly disagree

Figure 19: Roles and powers: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero?(%)

A clear majority of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that all four options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero, with three options securing over 80% support:

Levels of disagreement were very low. No assembly members disagreed with 'support for smaller organisations'. Only 'enforcing district heating networks' saw disagreement levels reach higher than 6% (18% of assembly members 'strongly disagreed' or 'disagreed' with this option).

Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Changing energy market rules 26%

Support for smaller organisations 17%

Local plans for zero carbon homes 40%

Enforcing district heating networks 17%

Figure 20: Roles and powers: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (Borda count)

Changing energy market rules 51

Support for smaller organisations 55

Local plans for zero carbon homes 70

Enforcing district heating networks 34

Figure 21: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (Borda count)

The ranking vote suggested that the option assembly members most want to see implemented is 'local plans for zero carbon homes.'

Policy options – conclusions

Assembly members examined policy options in five areas:

Under 'information', a majority of assembly members backed proposals for carbon MOTs for houses and information and support either provided or funded by government. Assembly members did not back the idea of information and support provided and funded by private companies, citing concerns including potential bias.

In terms of 'fairness and consumer protection', assembly members strongly supported the idea of simpler consumer protection measures, suggesting for example that they would make rules easier to understand, help ensure problems are fixed quickly and protect the vulnerable. A majority of assembly members also supported both government help for everyone and government help for poorer households, with a small majority preferring help for everyone. Their rationale for this preference included that help for everyone would incentivise more people to make changes.

Again under the 'fairness' theme, assembly members were divided about whether it was better to raise money through adding to all householders' energy bills or through taxation and government borrowing. A small majority of assembly members preferred 'adding to all householders' energy bills' when faced with a straight choice between the two options. However this idea was also more controversial with more assembly members overall saying that they agreed with taxation and government borrowing.

Under 'standard setting', large majorities of assembly members backed a ban on sales of new gas boilers (from 2030 or 2035) and changes to product standards to make products more energy efficient and 'smart'. Their rationale for supporting the ban on new gas boilers included that it would encourage innovation and better technology, and allow people time to plan. They felt that changes to product standards would make products more energy efficient and save people money in the long-run, among other benefits. A majority of assembly members, albeit a smaller one, also supported requirements for selling and renting.

In terms of 'incentives', a large majority of assembly members backed changes to VAT on energy efficiency and zero carbon heating products, commenting for example that it would encourage and promote retrofitting by making prices lower. A majority of assembly members also supported changing council tax or stamp duty so that people pay less for homes that have lower emissions and green mortgages. A small majority backed government-backed loans for energy efficiency measures and zero carbon heating.

Under roles and powers, large majorities of assembly members backed supporting smaller organisations to offer energy services, local plans for zero carbon homes and changing energy market rules to allow more companies to compete. A smaller majority also backed enforcing district heating networks.

The following table shows all 19 policy measures backed by a majority of assembly members.

PolicyPolicy area% assembly members who ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that it should be part of how the UK gets to net zero

Supporting smaller organisations to offer energy services

Roles and powers

94%

Simpler consumer protection measures

Fairness and consumer protection

92%

Changes to product standards to make products more energy efficient and ‘smart’

Standard setting

91%

Local plans for zero carbon homes

Roles and powers

89%

Ban sales of new gas boilers

Standard setting

86%

Changing energy market rules to allow more companies to compete

Roles and powers

86%

Changes to VAT on energy efficiency and zero carbon heating products

Incentives

83%

Information and support funded by government

Information

83%

Information and support provided by government

Information

72%

Government help for everyone

Fairness and consumer protection

69%

Government help for poorer households

Fairness and consumer protection

68%

Enforcing district heating networks

Roles and powers

66%

Requirements for selling and renting

Standard setting

65%

Raise money through taxation and government borrowing

Fairness and consumer protection

65%

Changing council tax or stamp duty so that people pay less for homes that have lower emissions

Incentives

63%

Carbon MOTs for houses

Information

63%

Green mortgages

Incentives

63%

Raise money through adding to all householders’ energy bills

Fairness and consumer protection

54%

Government-backed loans for energy efficiency measures and zero carbon heating

Incentives

54%

Assembly members' consideration of the pros and cons of all the policies above – and the conditions they suggested for their use – provide detailed insights for policy-makers.

F. Anything else to tell government and Parliament

At the end of weekend three, assembly members had the opportunity to add any further thoughts on heat and energy use in the home and the path to net zero. We have divided comments into nine themes to make them easier to navigate.

UK-wide leadership

The role of local authorities
Transparency, information and education
Public mood
Planned transition
Cost and tax
Urgency and getting started
Global
Other

Conclusions

Assembly members' recommendations on heat and energy use in the home show a strong push for action.

Assembly members emphasised the need for a long-term strategy with a wide range of actors taking steps to move the sector towards net zero; assembly members strongly supported roles for government investment (80%), local solutions ( 80%), individual responsibility (80%) and market innovation (80%).

They also gave strong backing to a wide range of specific measures to create change. A majority of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that 19 policy measures on heat and energy use in the home should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. Policies supported by at least two-thirds of assembly members were:

  1. Support for smaller organisations to offer energy services (94%);
  2. Simpler consumer protection measures (92%);
  3. Changes to product standards to make products more energy efficient and 'smart' (91%);
  4. Local plans for zero carbon homes (89%);
  5. A ban on sales of new gas boilers from 2030 or 2035 (86%);
  6. Changes to energy market rules to allow more companies to compete (86%);
  7. Changes to VAT on energy efficiency and zero carbon heating products (83%);
  8. Information and support funded by government (83%);
  9. Information and support provided by government (72%);
  10. Government help for everyone (69%);
  11. Government help for poorer households (68%);
  12. Enforcing district heating networks (66%).

Assembly members' discussions on the above measures and on the 'in the home' theme more broadly showed a number of consistent themes :

Assembly members' discussions on home retrofits and zero carbon heating picked up on many of these themes:

The 23 considerations for government and Parliament that assembly members identified at the start of their discussions – along with the rationale and conditions assembly members noted throughout – provide a valuable guide for policy-makers working on heat and energy use in the home and the path to net zero.

What we eat and how we use the land

Summary of recommendations

  1. Assembly members put forward eight considerations for government and Parliament to bear in mind when making decisions about food, farming, land use and the path to net zero. These focussed on:
    1. Providing support to farmers;
    2. Information and education;
    3. Using land efficiently;
    4. Rules for large retailers and supermarkets;
    5. More local and seasonal food;
    6. Making low carbon food more affordable;
    7. Some, just less, meat;
    8. Considering net zero as part of planning policy and new developments, including support for allotments.
  2. Assembly members' preferred future for food, farming and land use in the UK centred around:
    • Local produce and local food production – for a wide range of reasons including community benefits, fairer prices for farmers, a 'feel good factor' and reduced environmental impacts;
    • A change in diet to reduce meat and dairy consumption by between 20% and 40% – the assembly stressed the significance of education, saying these changes should be voluntary rather than compulsory;
    • A "managed diversity" of land use, including steps such as restoring woodlands, peatlands and gorselands.
  3. Assembly members highlighted the need for the above to be combined with support for farmers to make the transition, and policies to ensure changes do not disproportionality affect the less well off. Assembly members said changes should not compromise animal welfare, and expressed strong concerns about GM and lab grown food. They asked for policy-makers to take into account the implications for smaller farms, the suitability of different land for different uses, and differences in impact between UK regions.
  4. Assembly members showed strong support for policies to change both farming, food production and land use, and retail and individuals' behaviour. At least two-thirds 'agreed' or 'strongly agreed' that nine policies should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. These included:
    • Emissions labelling for food and drink products;
    • Information and skills training for those who manage the land;
    • Low carbon farming regulations;
    • Paying farmers and other landowners to use their land to absorb and store carbon;
    • Amending the procedure for awarding government contracts to give preference to low carbon food producers and carbon storing products;
    • Changing planning rules so that food can be produced sustainably in a wider range of areas.

What we eat and how we use the land

Assembly members looked at food, farming and land use together because of the impact they have on one another. In total, about a tenth of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions come from farming and others ways we use the land.

Land in the UK is mainly used for farming.87 This means it is used for purposes such as growing crops and grazing animals. Only a small amount of land is left natural or used to plant trees. To get to net zero emissions this needs to change. The UK will need to reduce the amount of land used for food production, while still producing enough food. It will need to use more land to help remove carbon dioxide from the air (see chapter nine) or grow crops to burn for energy (this is called bioenergy – please see chapter eight). This will affect what we can eat.

What we eat also affects greenhouse gas emissions in other ways. How much we eat and waste, how food is produced, and how far it is transported, can all have an impact on emissions.

What did the assembly consider?

Thirty-five assembly members considered the topic of what we eat and how we use the land. We selected these assembly members from the assembly as a whole using random stratified sampling. This ensured that they remained reflective of the wider UK population in terms of both demographics88 and their level of concern about climate change.

These assembly members heard a wide range of views on the future of food, farming and land use for the UK, and how we might move towards that future. They had the opportunity to question each speaker89 in detail. These evidence sessions took place at weekend two of the assembly.

Assembly members spent weekend three of the assembly discussing the evidence they had heard and their own views in-depth, before reaching conclusions on three separate areas:

  1. Considerations: the overarching considerations that government and Parliament should bear in mind when making decisions about food, farming and land use and the path to net zero;
  2. Futures : what the future of food, farming and land use should look like;
  3. Policy options: how the UK should move toward this future.

Assembly members also had the opportunity to discuss and add anything else they wanted to say to government and Parliament about food, farming, land use and the path to net zero. Assembly members' views on the implications of Covid-19 for this topic are touched on in Chapter 10.

A. Considerations

Assembly members reached their first decisions on food, farming and land use by discussing their answers to the following question:

What considerations should government and Parliament bear in mind when making decisions about food, farming and land use and the path to net zero?

Assembly members thought about their answers to this question individually. They then discussed their views in small groups at their tables, with each table agreeing their five top considerations. These top considerations had to, between them, represent the range of views at the table.

Facilitators took the top considerations from each table and grouped similar options together to create a list on which assembly members could vote. They checked this list back with assembly members to make sure they had accurately reflected their views. This included making any necessary adjustments. Each assembly member could vote for the four options that they felt to be most important.

The results were as follows. The wording of the considerations in the table is either word for word what assembly members wrote on their option cards or, where facilitators combined similar options from several tables, how they described the options to assembly members prior to the vote.

RankConsideration% assembly members who chose it as a priority

1

Provide support to farmers – including financial and professional/skills focussed support. Some assembly members noted that any schemes needed to “consider the respective impacts of arable and livestock farming.”

89

2

Information and education– from an early age about “greener and healthiereating habits”. This category also included suggestions for “carbon footprint labelling”.

86

3

Use land efficiently– including:

  • “Use the land differently to absorb more carbon” (e.g. “planting forests not trees”, restoring peatlands);
  • “Increased support for and collaboration between farming, forestry, land management and land owners to balance the need for sustainable food production with biodiversity and reduction of harmful emissions”, and other considerations such as flood prevention.

66

4

Rules for large retailers / supermarkets– including:

  • Addressing pricing structures and the low prices imposed on farmers;
  • Reducing food waste and packaging.

46

5

More local and seasonal food– including:

  • Active promotion, encouragement and support of local, seasonal and home-grown food options, including allotments;
  • Support for people on low incomes to be able to access and cook/use healthy local foods;
  • The UK becoming more self-sufficient;
  • Cheaper, local food.

40

6

Make low carbon food affordable– including:

  • “Mak[ing] low carbon, healthy and home cooked food affordable (and vice versa)”. Some assembly members suggested “meat and dairy subsidies [should be put] towards making vegetarian and vegan alternatives more affordable”

34

7

Some, just less, meat

29

8

Part of planning policy and new developments, including allotments

14

B. Futures

After deciding their most important considerations, assembly members moved on to look at the future of food, farming and land use for the UK.

To aid them in this process, the Expert Leads presented assembly members with three scenarios for possible futures:

Together these scenarios cover a broad range of views about what could happen to food, farming and land use to help the UK meet its 2050 net zero target.

Assembly members discussed each of the scenarios or 'possible futures' in turn, before voting on them by secret ballot.

We start by presenting the rationale for their views, taking each possible future in turn.

B.1 Smarter farming

This scenario would involve making farming more efficient and using more land to store carbon. It would feature changes for businesses but not individuals.

What business would do:

What individuals would do:

Assembly members discussed this possible future at their tables. They identified the following pros and cons.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly noted conditions to their support for this scenario or points they would want taken into account around its implementation. These included suggestions around:

Some assembly members also suggested that the "transition can only happen on land that is suitable (e.g. Yorkshire sheep farming won't be able to convert)" or wondered whether "we [can] look outside of the UK for solutions to land restriction challenges."

When we asked assembly members to rank the possible futures in their order of preference, this scenario received limited support from assembly members. Please see below for the results of the vote.

B.2 Eating differently

This possible future would involve farmers, retailers and individuals taking steps to reduce food waste and choose lower-carbon foods. It would feature changes for businesses and individuals.

What business would do:

What individuals would do:

Assembly members discussed this possible future at their tables. They identified the following pros and cons.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions to their support for this possible future, or points they would want taken into account if it is implemented:

One assembly member commented that they would want to see more technological change added to this possible future to reduce carbon emissions further.

When we asked assembly members to rank the possible futures in their order of preference, this scenario received considerable support from assembly members.

B.3 Local food and rewilding

This possible future would involve fundamental change in food systems and landscapes, towards local production and more space for biodiversity. It would feature changes for businesses and individuals.

What business would do:

What individuals would do:

Assembly members discussed this possible future at their tables. Assembly members tended to be consistent in what they saw as the main pros of this option, with strong support for the idea of local produce and food production. Assembly members were more divided about the cons, with smaller numbers of assembly members picking up a number of different points.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions to their support for this possible future, or points they would want taken into account if it is implemented:

When we asked assembly members to rank the possible futures in their order of preference, this scenario received considerable support from assembly members.

Cross-cutting comments

A small number of assembly members made cross-cutting comments about the possible futures. Some highlighted the "differences in farming in rural areas vs urban areas – very different problems and solutions required." Others noted again the need to consider the impact and suitability of different land uses, such as forestry, for different parts of the country and types of land.

Some assembly members suggested that all three possible futures "need to be combined when developing policy" or that the "scenarios include lots of proposals but only some of them are agreed with." These two points are picked up in more detail in the next two sections.

Some assembly member re-emphasised their concern about GM and lab grown food, noting the "risks" of these types of food and the fact they had "triggered lots of concerns" at the assembly. Some also highlighted that these foods "could be received with lots of opposition" by the wider public. Conversely a smaller number of assembly members felt that the assembly did not hear enough information about genetically modified food and expressed concerns that "our response was therefore based on preconceptions not evidence."

Vote results

Assembly members voted on the possible futures by secret ballot. The ballot paper asked them to rank the possible futures in their order of preference.

The votes were counted in two ways:

Please rank the possible futures in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Smarter farming 26%

Eating differently 35%

Local food and rewilding 38%

Figure 1: Possible futures: Please rank the possible futures in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Please rank the possible futures in order of preference (Borda count)

Smarter farming 25%

Eating differently 41%

Local food and rewilding 38%

Figure 2: Possible futures: Please rank the possible futures in order of preference (Borda count)

The results of the votes consistently show greatest support amongst assembly members for 'eating differently' and 'local food and rewilding'. 'Local food and rewilding' received slightly more first preference votes. 'Eating differently' scored slightly better in the Borda count. In both votes the difference is minimal.

Assembly members who chose 'local food and rewilding' as their first preference wrote positive reasons for their choices on their ballot papers, focussing on why they liked this future. Their explanations always mentioned a range of reasons, not just one. Points that came up frequently included those around:

Smaller numbers of assembly members suggested that this future would result in better pricing and food quality for consumers, or that it would reduce the likelihood of intensified farming for livestock, thus promoting animal welfare.

Some assembly members who supported this future noted caveats to their support. These touched on concerns around GM and lab grown foods, animal welfare and the need for changes in land use to take account of regional differences:

"The decrease and reuse of land for livestock is a good thing as long as that is practical for that region (some areas are no good for anything but sheep)."

One assembly member said that they would want the change in meat and diary to be 20% not 40%.

Assembly members who chose 'eating differently' as their first preference gave a range of reasons for their choice on their ballot papers. Two themes that recurred several times amongst their answers were the ideas of:

Several of the rationales talked about this future in relation to the other two. For example:

"I think all of the options are good but smarter farming wouldn't be enough on its own and I can see issues with the 3rd option that would need to be addressed first, e.g. teaching people how to change their diets and cook healthy, nutritional meals from scratch. Also 40% less livestock land may be too big a jump. [….] So option 2 was my favourite on balance but I do still support the other options and believe we will need to use a combination of all of them over a number of years to eventually work towards the best option (somewhere between 2 and 3)."

"I don't like any of the scenarios, this is the best of a bad lot. I don't encourage GM crops in any way, or lab grown meat. However, I do acknowledge the need to change. I worry though that a drop in meat production and dairy will always affect the poorer and families more than the rich…."

These last two quotes raise themes noted by a number of assembly members. They are addressed more fully directly below.

Futures – conclusions

Assembly members' discussions on the possible futures presented a nuanced but clear picture of their views on food, farming and land use.

A number of assembly members made comments in group discussions and on their ballot papers about either: (1) liking all of the futures and feeling that they needed to be combined; or (2) not liking any of the futures because they disagreed with some elements of each of them. Some assembly members said they "wanted the good bits" of all of them.

These comments fit with some clear themes emerging from assembly members' discussions. In general, assembly members tended to express support for:

Assembly members noted strongly on several occasions the need for the above to be combined with support for farmers to make the transition. This was also their top consideration (please see Section A above).

Areas where some assembly members expressed strong concerns were:

Some assembly members also spoke at various points about the need to ensure that any changes and related measures took account of smaller farms, the suitability of different land for different uses, and differences in impact between UK regions .

C. Policy options

After considering the future of food, farming and land use in the UK, assembly members moved on to consider how we might get there. Specifically they looked at policy options in two areas:

For each of these areas, the Expert Leads recapped and explained potential policy options. Assembly members discussed these ideas in their groups before voting by secret ballot. They were also able to note additional suggestions.

C.1 Changing farming, food production and land use

Assembly members looked at six options for changing farming, food production and land use:

We start by presenting the rationale for their views, taking each policy option in turn.

Low carbon farming regulations

This would involve:

This could involve extending existing rules that make it illegal for farmers to use artificial fertiliser where it is likely to run-off into water sources.

Assembly members identified a number of pros and cons about low carbon farming regulations.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions to their support for this policy option, or points they would want taken into account if it was implemented. They suggested a need for:

Others said their support for the policy would depend on the detail of how it worked, for example: "What percentage of land would farmers be required to keep as that? Which farmers would receive payments?" Others commented that "regulations [would] have to be fair for farmers" or that "although it is more expensive at first, in the long run it is cheaper as it has higher efficiency for farmers."

Payments for carbon storage

This would involve farmers and other landowners earning money for using their land to absorb and store carbon, for example by restoring peatland or planting trees. Payments or incentives could also be provided for food producers who increase productivity or efficiency – in other words, who produce as much or more food using less land.

Assembly members identified a number of pros and cons about payments for carbon storage.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions to their support for this policy option, or points they would want taken into account if it was implemented:

Some assembly members suggested "use the land that can't be used for arable."

Grants for research and development

This would involve grants for food producers to support research and technology development. The research and development could focus on making agricultural practices more sustainable, and/or on reducing the costs of meat and dairy made in labs.

There could also be a dedicated fund providing loans to help food and farming businesses shift to lower-carbon practices.

Assembly members identified a number of pros and cons about grants for research and development

Pros

Cons

A small number of assembly members noted conditions to their support for this policy option, or points they would want taken into account if it was implemented. Some suggested that "impact evaluation [would be] needed to ensure that pilot schemes are actually making a real difference." Others said that "all [policy] options need to be combined " or suggested linking grants for research and development with low carbon farming regulations.

Government contracts for bioenergy and forestry products

This would involve amending the procedure for awarding government contracts to give preference to carbon-storing products. It would mean government contracts around energy or construction giving preference to bioenergy crops and forestry products (like wood for buildings or furniture). It could also include setting minimum purchase levels – guaranteeing that government will buy a certain amount of these products per year.

Providing a long-term customer base for bioenergy crops and timber would give farmers certainty that they can make money from them.

Assembly members identified a number of pros and cons about government contracts for bioenergy and forestry products.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions to their support for this policy option, or points they would want taken into account if it was implemented. Some suggested the policy should be expanded in scope:

"These shouldn't be limited to the farming industry – how about building industry using low carbon materials."

"A lot of contracts with farmers are from the private sector (e.g. supermarkets, restaurants). Need to think more widely with procurement contracts, not just government."

Others queried "will new governments honour previous contracts for bioenergy etc?"

As with previous policy options, some assembly members noted their preference for "all options need to be combined" or for those responsible to "think of farmers who can't change land use."

Changing planning rules

This would involve changing planning rules so that healthy food can be produced sustainably in a wider range of areas, including in urban areas and buildings. This could include requiring new developments to set aside space for residents or communities to grow their own food. The changes could also make it easier to locate renewables, such as wind turbines or solar panels, on farmland or elsewhere.

Assembly members identified a number of pros and cons about changing planning rules.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions to their support for this policy option, or points they would want taken into account if it was implemented. They suggested:

Information and skills training

This would involve providing information and skills training to those who manage the land in order to encourage low-carbon farming practices and other ways of reducing emissions (e.g. restoring peatlands, planting trees, growing different crops).

Assembly members identified a number of pros and cons about information and skills training.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members said their support for this option would depend on how it is implemented, asking "who gets trained – farmer, labourer, staff?" Others noted the need to "think of farmers who can't change land use." Some said this policy "needs to be in tandem with retailer change " or again stressed that "all [policy] options need to be combined."

Vote results

Assembly members voted by secret ballot on policy options for changing farming, food production and land use. There were two ballot papers. The first ballot paper asked assembly members how much they agreed or disagreed that each policy option should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. The second ballot paper asked them to rank the options in their order of preference. The votes from this second ballot paper were counted both in terms of first preference votes and via Borda count.

Assembly members were in general very supportive of the policy options: a clear majority of assembly members 'agreed' or 'strongly agreed' that all six policies should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. For five of the six policy options, the percentage of assembly members backing their implementation was over 80%. A comparatively smaller 60% of assembly members supported the remaining option of 'grants for research and development.'

There was also a difference in how much 'strong' support policies received. Assembly members were most likely to 'strongly agree' with 'information and skills training', 'changing planning rules' and 'low carbon farming regulations', followed by 'payments for carbon storage'.

In the ranking vote 'grants for research and development' remained assembly members' least preferred option by some distance. The main difference was that information and skills training received less support in terms of first preference votes in particular than might have been expected given the earlier result. This difference may be explained by the fact that, while assembly members generally felt it should happen, they were uncertain about how much change it would create by itself.

Figure 3 : Changing farming, food production and land use: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

Low carbon farming regulations

43% Strongly Agree

46% Agree

0% Don’t mind or unsure

9% Disagree

0% Strongly disagree

Payments for carbon storage

34% Strongly Agree

54% Agree

9% Don’t mind or unsure

3% Disagree

0% Strongly disagree

Grants for research and development

14% Strongly Agree

46% Agree

29% Don’t mind or unsure

9% Disagree

3% Strongly disagree

Government contracts for bioenergy and forestry products

26% Strongly Agree

57% Agree

14% Don’t mind or unsure

3% Disagree

0% Strongly disagree

Changing planning rules

49% Strongly Agree

34% Agree

11% Don’t mind or unsure

3% Disagree

3% Strongly disagree

Information and skills training

54% Strongly Agree

37% Agree

3% Don’t mind or unsure

6% Disagree

0% Strongly disagree

Figure 3 : Changing farming, food production and land use: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero?(%)

Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Low carbon farming regulations 26%

Payments for carbon storage 12%

Grants for research and development 9%

Government contracts for bioenergy and forestry products 12%

Changing planning rules 24%

Information and skills training 15%

Figure 4: Changing farming, food production and land use: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (Borda count)

Low carbon farming regulations 104

Payments for carbon storage 96

Grants for research and development 49

Government contracts for bioenergy and forestry products 79

Changing planning rules 89

Information and skills training 92

Figure 5: Changing farming, food production and land use: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (Borda count)

C.2 Changing retail and individuals' behaviour

Assembly members looked at five options for changing retail and individuals' behaviour:

We start by presenting the rationale for their views, taking each policy option in turn.

Bans and restrictions

This would involve applying bans or restrictions to the most carbon-emitting food-types (e.g. red meat, processed foods, foods transported by aeroplanes). The rules could start by reducing the use of these foods in the public sector, for example in schools and hospitals.

Adverts for high-carbon foods could also be regulated. This could mean forcing adverts to include information about the relevant food's emissions, or banning the adverts altogether.

Other regulations could focus on food retail (restaurants, cafes, takeaways, shops/supermarkets, caterers), perhaps limiting high-carbon foods on menus, or reducing portion sizes.

Assembly members identified a number of pros and cons about bans and restrictions.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions to their support for this policy option, or points they would want taken into account if it was implemented. Many were about advertising, with most, but not all, favouring restrictions over bans:

"Allow advert[s] but [they] must have [a] message about carbon footprint"

"Ads with information about food emissions is a great way to educate people."

"Restricting high carbon advertising is great as it'll be very effective"

"[I would like to see] no adverts for high carbon foods."

Some assembly members suggested that "schools and hospitals [will] need to ensure [people are] … still getting enough nutrients." Others called for "greater scrutiny and regulation of unhealthy ingredients, mainly highly processed ingredients such as sweeteners." Some said in general that we should "not ban just restrict."

Taxes and incentives for low carbon foods

Additional taxes could be brought in for:

These charges could be targeted at producers, retailers, or consumers.

Incentives could help make low carbon food cheaper. They could include subsidies for local food suppliers (e.g. food cooperatives) if they are lower carbon. Additional discounts could be given to people on low incomes.

Assembly members identified a number of pros and cons about taxes and incentives for low carbon foods.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions to their support for this policy option, or points they would want taken into account if it was implemented:

One assembly commented that "I like the idea that adverts for high carbon foods could be targeted for regulation/banning altogether."

Taxes and incentives for reducing food waste

Taxes or incentives could:

Assembly members identified a number of pros and cons about taxes and incentives for reducing food waste.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions to their support for this policy option, or points they would want taken into account if it was implemented. These tended to fall into two themes.

Some assembly members highlighted that "provision would have to be there for food waste" or commented "what other alternative is there for disposal of black bin bags of waste food." Others suggested there "needs to be national solutions, e.g. composting that already exists locally."

Approaching the issue from a different angle, some assembly members identified a "need to review best before policies, currently causing waste – use same policy as France, if waste food is left at the end of the day, give it to the homeless." Others suggested a need to get firms to "reduce 2 for 1 deals."

Slightly overlapping with the above, another set of comments looked at who should and shouldn't take responsibility and pay for any changes :

"Consider impact of penalising small business e.g. café owners"

"Supermarkets need to take responsibility"

"Incentives only, not taxes as it comes back to the individual"

"Mostly focus on firms as this will reduce their waste and reduce 2 for 1 deals which will lead to decreased consumer waste as well."

Government contracts for low carbon food

This would involve amending the procedure for awarding government contracts to give preference to food producers that are low carbon. Food producers are people or companies that make, process and supply food (e.g. farmers, food factories, caterers). It could also involve all public sector catering (e.g. hospital cafes, school canteens) offering plant-based alternatives at every meal.

Assembly members identified a number of pros and cons about government contracts for low carbon food.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members commented that "contracts should include reducing food waste as well."

Labelling and information

This would involve labelling on food and drink products showing the amount of emissions that come from different foods. This could help individuals choose what they wanted to buy.

Education could also raise awareness of issues around food and food waste. This could include teaching skills like cooking and meal planning in schools.

Assembly members identified a number of pros and cons about labelling and information.

Pros

Cons

A significant number of assembly members noted conditions to their support for this policy option, or points they would want taken into account if it was implemented.

Some talked about how to make labelling effective. Assembly members consistently emphasised that it "must be clear" and "has to be easy to understand." Some said a "traffic light system [is] needed and [should be] highly visible – simple fuel gauge traffic light labelling." Others recommended a similar idea, suggesting "labelling on food and drink to show emissions i.e. green sticker for green products. It's a way of educating people and being transparent."

Others noted that labelling "has to be available when doing online shopping as well." Others suggested a need for "independent oversight to make sure information is true and properly represents carbon footprint." Some commented "what about imports? – if you have a choice with one carbon scoring labelled, and the other without, you will probably get the product with the carbon scoring."

Another group of comments focussed on the power of peer influence. Some assembly members said "information and peer pressure on choice of food is as effective as wealth. Need more notice taken of peer pressure to change behaviour." Others said they "believe in the power of peer influence" or that we "need key influencers for all sorts of audiences, not just young people influencers."

Some assembly members said that "teaching could also cover [the] big picture – life skills, cooking."

Additional ideas

Some assembly members suggested additional policy ideas that could help to change retail and individuals' behaviour:

"New policy idea: a carbon card to reward low-carbon lifestyles"

"Include rules about where products can be placed in supermarkets to encourage low carbon choices"

"Can someone invent/distribute recyclable carrier bags"

"High carbon/low carbon menu"

"High/low carbon information on menu"

"Have a small, medium and large portion size serving at restaurants"

Vote results

Assembly members voted by secret ballot on policy options for changing retail and individuals' behaviours. There were two ballot papers. The first ballot paper asked assembly members how much they agreed or disagreed that each policy option should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. The second ballot paper asked them to rank the options in their order of preference. The votes from this second ballot paper were counted both in terms of first preference votes and via Borda count.

How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

Bans and restrictions

20% Strongly Agree

34% Agree

11% Don’t mind or unsure

14% Disagree

20% Strongly disagree

Taxes and incentives for low-carbon foods

37% Strongly Agree

29% Agree

14% Don’t mind or unsure

11% Disagree

9% Strongly disagree

Taxes and incentives for reducing food waste

23% Strongly Agree

49% Agree

14% Don’t mind or unsure

11% Disagree

3% Strongly disagree

Government contracts for low carbon food

31% Strongly Agree

46% Agree

20% Don’t mind or unsure

3% Disagree

0% Strongly disagree

Labelling and information

77% Strongly Agree

12% Agree

6% Don’t mind or unsure

0% Disagree

0% Strongly disagree

Figure 6: Changing retail and individuals' behaviour: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero?(%)

Assembly members were in general supportive of the policy options: a majority of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that all of the policies should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. The size of the majorities was however lower in general than for policies to change farming, food production and land use.

The exception was 'labelling and information' which was more popular than all the policies for changing farming, food production and land use. 77% of assembly members 'strongly agreed' that it should be introduced, with a total of 94% 'strongly agreeing' or 'agreeing'.

The most controversial policy was 'bans and restrictions'. A small majority (54%) of assembly members supported this option, while 34% 'strongly disagreed' or 'disagreed' that it should be introduced.

For the other options, 77% of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' with 'government contracts for low carbon food', 72% with 'taxes and incentives for reducing food waste' and 66% with 'taxes and incentives for low carbon foods.'

How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

Bans and restrictions 15%

Taxes and incentives for low-carbon foods 21%

Taxes and incentives for reducing food waste 3%

Government contracts for low carbon food 9%

Labelling and information 53%

Figure 7: Changing retail and individuals' behaviour: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero?(%)

Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (Borda count)

Bans and restrictions 51

Taxes and incentives for low-carbon foods 76

Taxes and incentives for reducing food waste 58

Government contracts for low carbon food 61

Labelling and information 103

Figure 8: Changing retail and individuals' behaviour: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (Borda count)

The results of the ranking vote re-emphasised assembly members' strong support for 'labelling and information.' The second most popular policy in terms of both first preference votes and the Borda count was 'taxes and incentives for low carbon foods.' Whilst it received slightly lower support than some of the other options in the first vote, these results suggest that those who did support it felt comparatively strongly about it.

Bans and restrictions secured a reasonable number of first preference votes, but was again the least popular option in the Borda count.

Policy options – conclusions

Assembly members showed strong support for a wide range of policies.

Their support was particularly pronounced for policies to change farming, food production and land use :

Assembly members noted positives about the policies including effectiveness, feasibility, and co-benefits such as helping nature. They suggested 'information and skills training' was a "no brainer" and should be "available no matter what." They showed comparatively less support for 'grants for research and development' (60%). There was also strong support, albeit slightly more measured, for policies to change retail and individuals' behaviour:

Assembly members' preferred policy option in this category was 'labelling and information' (94% supported implementation). Assembly members suggested that steps in this area would allow individuals to make an informed choice, with some clearly feeling that this would have a "big effect." Assembly members put forward a range of ideas about how to implement this policy effectively.

Beyond 'labelling and information', assembly members also showed substantial levels of support for 'government contracts for low carbon food' (77%), 'taxes and incentives for reducing food waste' (72%) and 'taxes and incentives for low carbon foods' (66%). They showed comparatively less support for 'bans and restrictions' (54%). 34% of assembly members 'strongly disagreed' or 'disagreed' that these should be implemented.

Assembly members also put forward a number of additional ideas for policies that could help to change retail and individuals' behaviour.

D. Anything else to tell government and Parliament

At the end of weekend three, assembly members had the opportunity to add any final thoughts on food, farming, land use and the path to net zero. A large number of assembly members chose to add additional points. All of the comments came from small group discussions – and were well-supported by the assembly members in those discussions – unless otherwise stated.

About farming and farmers

Another group also commented that they wanted an "emphasis on supporting farming."

About the UK's relationship with the rest of the world
About land use and biodiversity
About education, communication and wider involvement
About a fair and managed transition
About business and waste

Conclusions

Assembly members put forward eight considerations for government and Parliament to bear in mind when making decisions about food, farming, land use and the path to net zero. These focussed on:

Assembly members' preferred future for food, farming and land use in the UK centred around:

Assembly members noted strongly the need for the above to be combined with support for farmers to make the transition, also saying that changes should take account of smaller farms, the suitability of different land for different uses, and variations in impact between UK regions. They backed measures to make sure changes do not disproportionality affect the less well off, said that animal welfare should not be compromised, and expressed strong concerns about GM and lab grown food.

Assembly members showed strong support for policies to change both farming, food production and land use, and retail and individuals' behaviour. While the former received slightly more support on average, a majority of assembly members 'agreed' or 'strongly agreed' that all eleven policies they considered should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. In assembly members' order of preference, these policies were:

Policy optionPolicy objective% strongly agree or agree

Labelling and information about emissions from food and drink products

Changing retail and individuals’ behaviour

94%

Information and skills training

Changing farming, food production and land use

91%

Low carbon farming regulations

Changing farming, food production and land use

89%

Payments for carbon storage

Changing farming, food production and land use

87%

Government contracts for bioenergy and forestry products

Changing farming, food production and land use

84%

Changing planning rules

Changing farming, food production and land use

83%

Government contracts for low carbon food

Changing retail and individuals’ behaviour

77%

Taxes and incentives for reducing food waste

Changing retail and individuals’ behaviour

72%

Taxes and incentives for low carbon foods

Changing retail and individuals’ behaviour

66%

Grants for research and development

Changing farming, food production and land use

60%

Bans and restrictions

Changing retail and individuals’ behaviour

54%

Assembly members put forward a number of ideas about how to best implement 'labelling and information' about emissions from food and drink products. They also suggested a number of additional ideas for policies that could help to change retail and individuals' behaviour.

What we buy

Summary of recommendations

  1. Assembly members envisaged a future for 'what we buy' with five key elements:
    • Assembly members strongly supported businesses making products using less – and lower carbon – energy and materials. They backed a range of specific policies to further this aim, including 'resource efficiency targets and standards' (91%), an 'amended procedure for awarding government contracts that gives preference to low carbon companies and products' (83%), taxes on producers, products and services (83%), and 'extended producer responsibility' (79%).
    • Assembly members supported the idea of individuals repairing and sharing more, with less purchasing of new products. They backed 'measures to enable product sharing' (77%) including technical and financial support to businesses who offer sharing or renting services.
    • Assembly members' felt strongly about the need for better information to promote informed choice and changes in individual behaviour. They supported 'labelling and information about the carbon emissions caused by different products and services' (92%) and 'product labelling and information campaigns about what can be recycled and why it's important' (92%). They also backed 'advertising bans and restrictions' on high emissions products or sectors (74%).
    • Assembly members supported a range of measures aimed at increasing recycling, including ' deposit return schemes' (86%), 'increased doorstep recycling' (85%), and 'grants and incentives for businesses' to improve recycling, develop new materials and make goods from recycled materials (77%). Their preferred future included businesses doing more to turn old products into new ones.
    • Assembly members called for long-term commitment from government and Parliament. They emphasised the importance of cross-party support to prevent policies changing when governments change, as well as the need to look at both quick wins and long-term solutions.
  2. Some assembly members raised additional points for government and Parliament to consider around a need to take account of imports, ring-fence any tax revenue generated by the above policies, and protect consumers from increased costs. Some also highlighted trust and compliance issues relating to business, asking for transparency, honesty, strong enforcement, and reliable and independent information and schemes. Assembly members welcomed measures that would create additional job opportunities and stressed the need for a Just Transition.
  3. Assembly members were also clear about what they did not support. They did not back voluntary agreements, changes to income tax or working hours, personal carbon allowances, recycling requirements or pay-as-you-throw schemes. Their concerns included that measures would be ineffective or impractical, that they would penalise the less well-off, or that they would have unwanted side-effects such as an increase in fly-tipping.

What we buy

The things we buy are linked to climate change because they use energy, and some of that energy comes from fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas.

They use energy:

Throwing away products has implications for climate change too. The UK has traditionally sent most of its waste to landfill sites. Some of this waste generates potent greenhouse gases as it rots.

Most of the emissions linked to the goods and services we purchase are produced in the UK. Some, however, are produced in other countries. For example, a lot of the electronic products we buy, such as televisions and computers, are made abroad,97 meaning that the factories that make these products release their greenhouse gas emissions overseas. This still causes climate change: the greenhouse gases end up in the atmosphere whichever country they come from. However these overseas emissions are not included in the UK's net zero target.98

What did the assembly consider?

Thirty-five assembly members considered the topic of 'what we buy' in-depth. We selected these assembly members from the assembly as a whole using random stratified sampling. This ensured that they remained reflective of the wider UK population in terms of both demographics99 and their level of concern about climate change.

These assembly members heard a wide range of views on the future of 'what we buy' for the UK, and how we might move towards that future. They had the opportunity to question each speaker100 in detail. These evidence sessions took place at weekend two of the assembly.

Assembly members spent weekend three of the assembly discussing the evidence they had heard and their own views in-depth, before reaching conclusions on three separate areas:

  1. Considerations: the overarching considerations that government and Parliament should bear in mind when making decisions about 'what we buy' and the path to net zero;
  2. Futures : what the future of 'what we buy' in the UK should look like;
  3. Policy options: how the UK should move toward this future.

Assembly members also had the opportunity to discuss and add anything else they wanted to say to government and Parliament about 'what we buy' and the path to net zero. Assembly members' views on the implications of Covid-19 for this topic are touched on in Chapter 10.

A. Considerations

Assembly members reached their first decisions on 'what we buy' by discussing their answers to the following question:

What considerations should government and Parliament bear in mind when making decisions about what we buy and the path to net zero?

Assembly members thought about their answers to this question individually. They then discussed their views in small groups at their tables, with each table agreeing their five top considerations. These top considerations had to, between them, represent the range of views at the table.

Facilitators took these top considerations from each table and grouped similar options together to create a list on which assembly members could vote. They checked this list back with assembly members to make sure they had accurately reflected their views. This included making any necessary adjustments. Each assembly member could then vote for the four options that they felt to be most important.

The results were as follows. The wording of the considerations in the table is either word for word what assembly members wrote on their option cards or, where facilitators combined similar options from several tables, how we described the options to assembly members prior to the vote.

RankConsideration% assembly members who chose it as a priority

1

Education and information for consumers– including:

  • Good, clear, accessible and understandable information, so people understand what’s going on and the impact of their choices;
  • Education and awareness to help consumers understand their choices;
  • Labelling of products (e.g. carbon scoring system – red/amber/green)

74

2

Long-term commitment from government and Parliament– including:

  • Long-term cross-party commitment from Parliament;
  • Long-term commitment from government, with no backsliding;
  • A permanent citizens’ assembly to oversee the work of Government.

69

3

Regulate and incentivise companies to produce things that last longer – including:

  • Incentivise companies to produce things that last longer;
  • Make the cost of producing high emissions products high/prohibitive;
  • Clear labelling of products to provide information (and choice) to consumers;
  • Make items more efficient and easier to repair and incentivise individuals and companies to do so.

60

4

Benefit research, manufacturing and development in UK

46

5

Place controls and restrictions on advertising of environmentally damaging products, and label them clearly as such

34

6

Include quick-wins and long-term solutions – including:

  • Scaling up things that are already working (e.g. charity shops);
  • Doing things that can be done immediately that will have the biggest impact for carbon reduction;
  • Planning and piloting longer term initiatives.

31

7

Create a culture through education to encourage minimising waste and to help establish community repair, re-use and recycle initiatives (e.g. better use of/access to dormant high street shops etc)

23

8

Take a nationwide, standard approach that makes it easy and possible for people to make changes

14

9

The polluter should pay (e.g. carbon allowance)

14

10

Be financially and geographically fair– including:

  • Not penalising the poor;
  • Measures working for urban and rural areas.

11

11

Legislation for firms to reduce packaging

0

12

Create an overall differentiated strategy to ensure those who pollute and are super rich pay more than those who are less responsible and/or are less able to pay

0

13

Maintain and promote a healthy standard of living for everyone

0

14

Incentivise consumers to make the right choices through cost/tax (i.e. higher carbon = higher cost)

0

B. Futures

After deciding their most important considerations, assembly members moved on to look at the future of 'what we buy' for the UK. To aid them in this process, the Expert Leads presented assembly members with three scenarios for possible futures:

Together these scenarios or 'possible futures' cover a broad range of views about what could happen to help the UK meet its 2050 net zero target in terms of what we buy.

Assembly members discussed each 'possible future' in turn, before voting on them by secret ballot.

We start by presenting the rationale for their views, taking each possible future in turn.

B.1 Efficiency and old-into-new

This possible future would involve businesses making products using less energy and materials, and turning old products into new ones. Individuals wouldn't necessarily buy fewer things, but the things they buy would be less polluting. This scenario would feature changes for businesses and individuals.

What business would do:

What individuals would do:

Assembly members discussed this possible future at their tables. They identified the following pros and cons.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions to their support for this possible future, or points that they felt would help its implementation:

When we asked assembly members to vote on the three possible futures, this future received strong support from assembly members. Please see below for the results of the vote.

B.2 Repairing and sharing

This possible future would involve making products that last longer, and people renting/sharing more and owning less. It would feature changes for businesses and individuals.

What business would do:

What individuals would do:

Assembly members discussed this possible future at their tables. They identified the following pros and cons.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions to their support for this possible future, or points that they felt would help its implementation:

When we asked assembly members to vote on the three possible futures, this future received some support from assembly members.

B.3 Less stuff, more equality

This possible future would involve people earning less and buying less, with them spending more time fixing and making things. It would feature changes for businesses and individuals:

What business would do:

What individuals would do:

Assembly members discussed this possible future at their tables. They identified the following pros and cons.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions to their support for this possible future, or points that they felt would help its implementation

When we asked assembly members to vote on the three possible futures, this future received limited support from assembly members.

Vote results

Assembly members voted on the futures by secret ballot. There were two different ballot papers. The first ballot paper asked assembly members how much they agreed or disagreed that each future should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. The second ballot paper asked them to rank the futures in their order of preference.

How much do you agree or disagree that each of the possible futures should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

Efficiency and old-into-new

39% Strongly Agree

58% Agree

0% Don’t mind or unsure

3% Disagree

0% Strongly disagree

Repairing and sharing

42% Strongly Agree

30% Agree

12% Don’t mind or unsure

15% Disagree

0% Strongly disagree

Less stuff, more equality

18% Strongly Agree

30% Agree

18% Don’t mind or unsure

24% Disagree

9% Strongly disagree

Figure 1: Possible futures: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the possible futures should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

The votes from this second ballot paper were counted in two ways:

Assembly members showed significant support for two futures :

Assembly members were less supportive of 'less stuff, more equality.' 48% of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that it should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. 24% 'disagreed' and 9% 'strongly disagreed'. 18% were unsure.

Please rank the possible futures in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Efficiency and old-into-new 52%

Repairing and sharing 33%

Less stuff, more equality 15%

Figure 2: Possible futures: Please rank the possible futures in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Please rank the possible futures in order of preference (Borda count)

Efficiency and old-into-new 44

Repairing and sharing 40

Less stuff, more equality 15

Figure 3: Possible futures: Please rank the possible futures in order of preference (Borda count)

The ranking votes reinforced these results. 'Efficiency and old-into-new' remained the most popular future, with 52% of first preference votes. 'Repairing and sharing' came second with 33% of votes, followed by 'less stuff, more equality' with 15%. The Borda count scores followed the same pattern, although with a smaller difference in popularity between 'efficiency and old-into-new' and 'repairing and sharing'.

Futures – conclusions

Overall, assembly members backed a future in which both businesses and individuals would need to change some aspects of their current practices and behaviours.

For businesses, assembly members strongly supported a future in which they would:

They also supported steps that businesses could take to help people buy less, including making longer lasting products, and offering repair services and sharing systems.

For individuals, assembly members backed a move towards greater sharing and repairing, as opposed to buying new goods. They did not, overall support bigger shifts in how society works aimed at reducing the amount we buy, for example changes to how much people work and earn.

Assembly members consistently welcomed opportunities for job creation, reduced waste and increased recycling. They noted that sharing would work well for specific items such children's shoes, and felt it had potential benefits for communities and wellbeing.

Assembly members tended to see potential increased costs for consumers and negative impacts on specific economic sectors as concerns. They emphasised the importance of a Just Transition for those adversely affected by the changes. They also highlighted the need for plans to be realistic, suggesting for example changes to product design and information to make items easier to care for and repair.

C. Policy options

After considering the future of 'what we buy', assembly members moved on to consider how we might get there. Specifically, they looked at policy options in three areas:

  1. Reducing emissions from products and services;
  2. Buying less;
  3. Increasing recycling.

For each of these areas, the Expert Leads recapped and explained potential policy options. Assembly members discussed these ideas in their groups before voting by secret ballot. They were also able to note additional suggestions for policy measures.

C.1 Reducing emissions from products and services

Assembly members looked at six policy options for reducing emissions from products and services:

We start by presenting the rationale for their views, taking each policy option in turn.

Resource efficiency targets and standards

This policy option would involve industry ensuring that it met certain levels of resource and/or energy efficiency. For example, it might mean that products could only be sold if they met rules for how long they last, whether they can be repaired or reused, and/or how much energy or materials went into making them. The targets and standards could apply to all industry or only to high-emitting sectors, such as construction and fashion.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about resource efficiency targets and standards.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions that they would want to see in order to support this policy option, or that they felt would help its implementation:

Taxes on producers, products and services

This policy option would involve (a) reducing or scrapping taxes on greener products or services to make them cheaper; and/or (b) raising taxes on more polluting products and services to make them more expensive. It could include taxes on advertising that go up according to the carbon content of the product or service being advertised.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about taxes on producers, products and services.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions that they would want to see in order to support this policy option, or that they felt would help its implementation:

Extended producer responsibility

Extended producer responsibility would mean that producers pay for the impact of their products and packaging on climate change. It could also include either or both of:

The UK government is already planning to introduce extended producer responsibility for packaging and may do so for other products.107

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about extended producer responsibility.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions that they would want to see in order to support this policy option, or that they felt would help its implementation:

Amended procedure for awarding government contracts

This policy option would amend the procedure for awarding government contracts, so that it giving preference to low carbon companies and products. It could involve creating an approved list of low carbon technologies, products or materials (e.g. renewable energy, the use of wood in building construction, recycled materials) for use by public sector bodies.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about amending government contracts in this way.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions that they would want to see in order to support this policy option, or that they felt would help its implementation:

Voluntary agreements

Voluntary agreements mean trade organisations, producers and/or retailers adopting voluntary commitments. They would commit to reducing carbon emissions from the production or use of products, and/or to only selling low carbon products. There could be rankings and awards, so that product manufacturers and sellers are publicly celebrated for low carbon performance.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about voluntary agreements

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions that they would want to see in order to support this policy option, or that they felt would help its implementation:

Labelling and information

Labelling would show the carbon emissions caused by different products and services. Labels could also show which products are more durable and designed for reuse. This could be accompanied by information campaigns. These would educate individuals about the emissions caused by different products and services, and how to reduce them.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about labelling and information

Pros

Cons

No assembly members noted conditions for this policy option.

General comments

Some assembly members made general comments about policies to reduce emissions from products and services. Many of these comments touched on the idea of trust. Some mentioned it directly. Others expressed concerns about company behaviour and compliance, emphasised the need for regulation, or called for transparency:

"What a total nightmare! i.e. a minefield of complexity and avoidance, and 'gentlemen's agreements' between companies – transnational and international."

"How to regulate?"

"Penalties, charges or taxes against those who create polluting products should be made public and transparent. [There] [s]hould be real and significant fines and consequences that act as a real deterrent."

"Important for [the] 'ordinary person' to be able to trust labelling and marketing messages. Can Government reward 'honesty' and punish dishonesty."

"Like honesty and transparency … but how to be confident of [it]? Independent scrutiny body? Outside and independent of government."

Other assembly members said that "government should set standards", that we should look for "quick wins", or that they liked measures that "encourag[e] better design." Some said they "like [the] suggestion of [a] Carbon Tax that applies to all companies regardless of where they're based ifthey trade/operate in [the] UK."

Vote results

Assembly members voted by secret ballot on policy options for reducing emissions from products and services. There were two ballot papers. The first ballot paper asked assembly members how much they agreed or disagreed that each policy option should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. The second ballot paper asked them to rank the options in their order of preference. The votes from this second ballot paper were counted both in terms of first preference votes and via Borda count.

How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

Resource and efficiency targets and standards

54% Strongly Agree

37% Agree

3% Don’t mind or unsure

6% Disagree

0% Strongly disagree

Taxes on producers, products and services

34% Strongly Agree

49% Agree

11% Don’t mind or unsure

3% Disagree

3% Strongly disagree

Extended producer responsibility

49% Strongly Agree

34% Agree

14% Don’t mind or unsure

3% Disagree

0% Strongly disagree

Amended procedure for awarding government contracts

34% Strongly Agree

49% Agree

11% Don’t mind or unsure

6% Disagree

0% Strongly disagree

Voluntary agreements

11% Strongly Agree

31% Agree

20% Don’t mind or unsure

31% Disagree

6% Strongly disagree

Labelling and information

11% Strongly Agree

31% Agree

20% Don’t mind or unsure

31% Disagree

6% Strongly disagree

Figure 4: Reducing emissions from products and services: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

A large majority of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that five of the six policy ideas should be part of how the UK gets to net zero:

Only a small number of assembly members 'strongly disagreed' or 'disagreed' with any of these proposals. No one disagreed with 'labelling and information'.

In contrast, only a minority of assembly members (42%) backed voluntary agreements, with 37% 'strongly disagreeing' or 'disagreeing' that they should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. 20% of assembly members said they were 'unsure' or 'didn't mind'.

Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Resource and efficiency targets and standards 32%

Taxes on producers, products and services 9%

Extended producer responsibility 9%

Amended procedure for awarding government contracts 9%

Voluntary agreements 6%

Labelling and information 35%

Figure 5: Reducing emissions from products and services: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (Borda count)

Resource and efficiency targets and standards 118

Taxes on producers, products and services 84

Extended producer responsibility 89

Amended procedure for awarding government contracts 83

Voluntary agreements 33

Labelling and information 117

Figure 6: Reducing emissions from products and services: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (Borda count)

The ranking vote largely reinforced these results. 'Labelling and information' and 'resource and efficiency targets and standards' strengthened their position as the two most popular policy options. They were followed by the three other proposals that received strong support in the first vote. Voluntary agreements remained the least popular option.

C.2 Buying less

Assembly members looked at six policy options around 'buying less':

We start by presenting the rationale for their views, taking each policy option in turn.

Advertising bans or restrictions

An advertising ban would stop polluting products or sectors, like fast fashion, being allowed to advertise. Advertising restrictions could limit advertising around towns or in other public spaces.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about advertising bans or restrictions.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions that they would want to see in order to support this policy option, or that they felt would help its implementation:

Changes to income tax or working hours

This policy option could involve people on higher incomes being taxed at an increased rate (e.g. 60%+ rather than 45%). Alternatively, it could mean a limit on working hours, such as the introduction of a four-day week.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about changes to income tax or working hours.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions that they would want to see in order to support this policy option, or that they felt would help its implementation:

Personal carbon allowances

Personal carbon allowances involve individuals having annual 'budgets' to 'spend' depending on the impact of their purchases. Everyone would have the same number of credits to start with, but schemes could include permission for credits to be traded or owed, like money.

Assembly members identified a number of pros and cons about personal carbon allowances.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions that they would want to see in order to support this policy option, or that they felt would help its implementation:

Some assembly members noted conditions that they would want to see in order to support this policy option, or that they felt would help its implementation. Some said they would "prefer [an] award / reward system" as opposed to one that penalises people. Others suggested that those responsible would need to be "strict with fines ", or that it "feels like a last resort – like rationing."

Measures to enable product sharing

This policy option would involve creating systems for more shared ownership. It might include:

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about measures to enable product sharing.

Pros

Cons

No assembly members noted conditions about this policy idea.

Figure 7: Encouraging people to buy less: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

Advertising bans and restrictions

40% Strongly Agree

34% Agree

9% Don’t mind or unsure

9% Disagree

9% Strongly disagree

Changes to income tax or working hours

6% Strongly Agree

11% Agree

9% Don’t mind or unsure

26% Disagree

49% Strongly disagree

Personal carbon allowances

11% Strongly Agree

14% Agree

17% Don’t mind or unsure

40% Disagree

17% Strongly disagree

Measures to enable product sharing

17% Strongly Agree

60% Agree

9% Don’t mind or unsure

11% Disagree

3% Strongly disagree

Taxes on producers, products and services

37% Strongly Agree

46% Agree

6% Don’t mind or unsure

11% Disagree

0% Strongly disagree

Extended producer responsibility

40% Strongly Agree

34% Agree

23% Don’t mind or unsure

3% Disagree

0% Strongly disagree

Figure 7: Encouraging people to buy less: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

Taxes on producers, products and services

The final two policy options that assembly members considered in this category were 'taxes on producers, products and services' and 'extended producer responsibility'. Assembly members had already discussed these policy measures as ways to reduce emissions from products and services. Here they considered whether or not to encourage people to buy less. Assembly members' views on the pros and cons of these options are included on pages 326 and 327 above.

General comments

A small number of assembly members made general comments about policies to reduce the amount we buy. Some suggested that measures in this area "will increase employment in certain roles or job types" or that "we need to learn from others." Some commented that an "increase in tax will be unlikely to change behaviours."

Vote results

Assembly members voted by secret ballot on policy options to encourage people to buy less. There were two ballot papers. The first ballot paper asked assembly members how much they agreed or disagreed that each policy option should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. The second ballot paper asked them to rank the options in their order of preference. The votes from this second ballot paper were counted both in terms of first preference votes and via Borda count.

A clear majority of assembly members' 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that four out of the six policy measures should be part of how the UK gets to net zero:

Few assembly members supported 'changes to income tax or working hours' (17%) or 'personal carbon allowances' (25%). A majority of assembly members 'strongly disagreed' or 'disagreed' with both these policies, with levels of disagreement reaching 75% for 'changes to income tax or working hours'.

Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Advertising bans and restrictions 35%

Changes to income tax or working hours 3%

Personal carbon allowances 6%

Measures to enable product sharing 15%

Taxes on producers, products and services 26%

Extended producer responsibility 15%

Figure 8: Encouraging people to buy less: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (Borda count)

Advertising bans and restrictions 120

Changes to income tax or working hours 27

Personal carbon allowances 62

Measures to enable product sharing 94

Taxes on producers, products and services 119

Extended producer responsibility 102

Figure 9: Encouraging people to buy less: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (Borda count)

The ranking vote largely reinforced these results. 'Advertising restrictions and bans' and 'taxes on producers, products and services' emerged as the most popular policy options. These were followed by the two other policies that had scored well in the first vote. 'Personal carbon allowances' and 'changes to income tax or working hours' remained the least popular options.

C.3 Increasing recycling

Assembly members looked at six options for increasing recycling:

We start by presenting the rationale for their views, taking each policy option in turn.

Recycling requirements

Recycling requirements would involve retailers and/or consumers being responsible for recycling products, with a ban on landfilling. It could eventually mean that councils do not collect 'black bin' rubbish. The requirements could be phased in over many years to allow individuals and businesses time to adapt.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about recycling requirements.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions that they would want to see in order to support this policy option, or that they felt would help its implementation:

Pay-as-you-throw schemes

Pay-as-you-throw schemes involve individuals and businesses paying for waste that is not recycled (i.e. the amount of waste in their 'black bin'), but not for recycled or composted waste. The schemes could be introduced with exemptions or to reflect household occupancy (e.g. more bins for more people).

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about pay-as-you-throw schemes.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions that they would want to see in order to support this policy option, or that they felt would help its implementation:

Deposit return schemes

Deposit return schemes encourage the collection of used containers, so that they can be recycled or reused. The customer pays a small sum on top of the retail price when they buy a product (e.g. a bottled or canned drink), which is refunded when the container is returned to a collection point. The bottle or can is then either refilled or sent for recycling. Deposit return schemes could be extended to incentivise individuals to sort other unwanted goods they own (e.g. clothes, furniture) for reuse, remanufacture or recycling.

The UK government has promised a deposit-return scheme for plastic, glass and possibly metal by 2023.109

Assembly members identified a number of pros and cons about deposit return schemes.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions that they would want to see in order to support this policy option, or that they felt would help its implementation:

Increased doorstep recycling

Increased doorstep recycling would involve local councils providing doorstep recycling for all recyclable materials. The UK Government has said it will expect all councils to collect at least the same 'core' list of recyclable materials from householders, although the exact details / dates are to be confirmed.110

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about increased doorstep recycling.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions that they would want to see in order to support this policy option, or that they felt would help its implementation:

Grants and incentives for business

This policy option would involve government providing grants to businesses to:

It could also include financial support for businesses wanting to move away from manufacturing to providing more sharing services, such as repairs or rentals.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about grants and incentives for business.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions that they would want to see in order to support this policy option, or that they felt would help its implementation:

Product labelling and information campaigns

Product labelling would show more clearly and consistently which products and materials can be recycled. Labelling could be accompanied by information campaigns. These would encourage recycling and composting, and educate people about why they are important. They could also include information about which materials can be recycled.

Assembly members identified the following pros and cons about product labelling and information campaigns.

Pros

Cons

Some assembly members noted conditions that they would want to see in order to support this policy option, or that they felt would help its implementation:

Vote results

Assembly members voted by secret ballot on policy options around increasing recycling. There were two ballot papers. The first ballot paper asked assembly members how much they agreed or disagreed that each policy option should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. The second ballot paper asked them to rank the options in their order of preference. The votes from this second ballot paper were counted both in terms of first preference votes and via Borda count.

A clear majority of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that four of the policy ideas should be part of how the UK gets to net zero:

Only a minority of assembly members supported 'recycling requirements (46%, compared to 40% who 'strongly disagreed' or 'disagreed') or 'pay-as-you-throw schemes' (28%, compared to 49% who 'strongly disagreed' or 'disagreed').

Increasing recycling: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following policy options should be part of how the UK gets to net zero? (%)

Figure 11: Increasing recycling: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (% 1st preference votes)

Assembly members voted by secret ballot on policy options around increasing recycling.

Recycling requirements 51

Pay-as-you-throw schemes 37

Deposit return schemes 102

Increased doorstep recycling 125

Grants and incentives for businesses 79

Product labelling and information campaigns 131

Figure 12: Increasing recycling: Please rank the following policy options in order of preference (Borda count)

The ranking votes largely reinforced these results. 'Increased doorstep recycling' and 'product labelling and information campaigns' emerged as the most popular options, followed by 'deposit return schemes.' 'Grants and incentives for business' scored reasonably well in the Borda count, although less well in terms of first preference votes. 'Recycling requirements' and 'pay-as-you-throw' schemes again brought up the rear.

Policy options – conclusions

Assembly members showed strong support for a wide range of measures to:

They were also clear about what they did not support.

In total, clear majorities of assembly members backed thirteen policy measures.

Policy ideaAim% assembly members who ‘strongly agree’ or ‘agree’

Labelling and information about the carbon emissions caused by different products and services

Reducing emissions from products and services

92%

Product labelling and information campaigns about what can be recycled and why it’s important

Increasing recycling

92%

Resource efficiency targets and standards

Reducing emissions from products and services

91%

Deposit return schemes

Increasing recycling

86%

Increased doorstep recycling

Increasing recycling

85%

Amended procedure for awarding government contracts that gives preference to low carbon companies and products

Reducing emissions from products and services

83%

Taxes on producers, products and services

Reducing emissions from products and services

Buying less

83%[^15]

Extended producer responsibility

Reducing emissions from products and services

Buying less

79%15

Grants and incentives for business

Increasing recycling

77%

Measures to enable product sharing

Buying less

77%

Advertising bans and restrictions

Buying less

74%

Assembly members noted a wide range of positives about these ideas. They saw benefits in measures that are proven or that they felt would make a difference. They also favoured simplicity and practicality ; policies that retain individual choice and help make it more informed ; and co-benefits such as increasing competition or improving product quality.

Some assembly members noted conditions to their support for these policies or points that they felt would help implementation of the ideas. These included a need to take account of imports, ring-fence any tax revenue generated, and protect consumers from increased costs. Other recurring themes were issues around trust and compliance relating to business ; some assembly members stressed the need for transparency, honesty, and reliable / independent information and schemes. They also advocated strong enforcement.

Assembly members did not back voluntary agreements, changes to income tax or working hours, personal carbon allowances, recycling requirements or pay-as-you-throw schemes. Their concerns included that measures would be ineffective or impractical, that they would penalise the less well-off, or that they would have unwanted side-effects such as an increase in fly-tipping.

D. Anything else to tell government and Parliament

At the end of weekend three, assembly members had the opportunity to add any further thoughts on 'what we buy' and the path to net zero:

Conclusions

Throughout their discussions, assembly members expressed consistent views on how 'what we buy' should change to help the UK reach net zero by 2050. Their recommendations entail changes for businesses in particular, but also for individuals.

They envisaged a future with five key elements:

Some assembly members raised additional points for government and Parliament to consider around a need to take account of imports, ring-fence any tax revenue generated by the above policies, and protect consumers from increased costs. Some also highlighted trust and compliance issues relating to business, asking for transparency, honesty, strong enforcement, and reliable / independent information and schemes. Assembly members welcomed measures that would create additional job opportunities, and stressed the need for a Just Transition for people and sectors adversely affected by the path to net zero.

Assembly members were equally clear about what they did not support. Assembly members did not back voluntary agreements, changes to income tax or working hours, personal carbon allowances, recycling requirements or pay-as-you-throw schemes. Their concerns included that measures would be ineffective or impractical, that they would penalise the less well-off, or that they would have unwanted side-effects such as an increase in fly-tipping.

Where our electricity comes from

Summary of recommendations

  1. Large majorities of assembly members strongly agreed or agreed that three ways of generating electricity should be part of how the UK gets to net zero:
    • Offshore wind (95%);
    • Solar power (81%);
    • Onshore wind (78%).
  2. Assembly members tended to see these technologies as proven, clean and low cost, with wind-based options suitable for a "windy" UK. Offshore wind had key additional benefits, particularly being "out of the way". Solar power was viewed as flexible in terms of where it can be located, among other advantages. Some assembly members suggested a range of points to bear in mind when implementing all three technologies. These included their location and environmental impact, progress on electricity storage, ways to incentivise and facilitate uptake, visual design, and where they are manufactured.
  3. Assembly members were much less supportive of bioenergy, nuclear and fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage – although, particularly for bioenergy, significant numbers of assembly members were unsure about its use:
    • 40% of assembly members 'strongly agreed' or 'agreed' that bioenergy should be part of how the UK gets to net zero, 36% were 'unsure', and 24% 'strongly disagreed' or 'disagreed';
    • The equivalent figures for nuclear were 34%, 18% and 46%;
    • For fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage the results were 22%, 22% and 56%.
  4. For some assembly members, their view on bioenergy would depend on how bioenergy is produced, including what is being burnt, how production is regulated, and therefore what its environmental and CO2 impacts are. Assembly members' dislikes about bioenergy included concerns around burning trees and crops, land use and environmental effects, as well as a feeling that better alternatives exist.
  5. Assembly members' had three main concerns around nuclear : its cost, safety, and issues around waste storage and decommissioning. Their dislikes of fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage centred on safety risks (if carbon leaked during storage or transfer), the continued use of fossil fuels, and a feeling that it only provides a "short-term", expensive solution when better alternatives are available.
  6. Assembly members did not hear detailed evidence about tidal, wave, hydro and geothermal technologies. However assembly members were in principle supportive of the use of these final four ways of generating electricity, particularly for suitable local areas.

Where our electricity comes from

How the UK generates its electricity is a central question on the path to net zero. The UK still produces a significant amount of its electricity from fossil fuels, particularly gas. This emits carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming and climate change. All the UK's electricity generation will need to come from low carbon sources if its net zero target is to be met. The UK is also likely to need more electricity in future due to an increase in electric vehicles and electric heating.

What did the assembly consider?

All assembly members heard evidence, deliberated and voted on this topic. They heard about six main ways of generating electricity, before considering whether or not each of them should be part of how the UK gets to net zero:

The evidence session for this theme took place during the assembly's online weekends.111 It covered:

Assembly members had the opportunity to question each speaker114 in detail.

After the evidence session, assembly members discussed what they had heard. They then voted by secret ballot.

What's included in this chapter?

Assembly members had less time overall to discuss 'where our electricity comes from' than they had had for the themes covered in previous chapters. They therefore primarily focussed on just one question: which of the above six ways of generating electricity should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. Assembly members looked at this question in some depth.

This chapter presents their views in the following order:

  1. Vote results: the assembly's final recommendations on which of the six ways of generating electricity should be part of how the UK gets to net zero;
  2. Rationale and conditions: assembly members' rationale for their votes, as well as areas they would like to see considered around the implementation of each of the six options;
  3. Other technologies: assembly members' views on the technologies that they heard less evidence about – hydro, tidal, wave and geothermal;
  4. Cross-cutting considerations: points raised by assembly members that cut across all the ways of generating electricity.

The chapter ends by summarising the conclusions from across these sections.

A. Vote results

Assembly members voted on ways of generating electricity by secret ballot. There were two different ballot papers. The first ballot paper asked assembly members how much they agreed or disagreed that each method should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. The second ballot paper asked them to rank the methods in their order of preference.

The votes from this second ballot paper were counted in two ways:

A majority of assembly members strongly agreed or agreed that three ways of generating electricity should be part of how the UK gets to net zero. In their order of preference these were:

Figure 1: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following technologies should be part of how the UK generates electricity? (%) 5

Onshore wind

44% Strongly Agree

34% Agree

12% Don’t mind or unsure

7% Disagree

2% Strongly disagree

Offshore wind

80% Strongly Agree

15% Agree

5% Don’t mind or unsure

0% Disagree

0% Strongly disagree

Solar power

51% Strongly Agree

30% Agree

11% Don’t mind or unsure

5% Disagree

1% Strongly disagree

Bioenergy

10% Strongly Agree

30% Agree

36% Don’t mind or unsure

20% Disagree

4% Strongly disagree

Nuclear

12% Strongly Agree

22% Agree

18% Don’t mind or unsure

23% Disagree

23% Strongly disagree

Fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage

4% Strongly Agree

18% Agree

22% Don’t mind or unsure

29% Disagree

27% Strongly disagree

Figure 1: How much do you agree or disagree that each of the following technologies should be part of how the UK generates electricity? (%) 5

The other three methods saw much lower levels of support, and higher degrees of both uncertainty and disagreement. In assembly members' order of preference:

The results of the preference votes largely reinforce this picture. A majority of assembly members (65%) chose offshore wind as their first preference method, with all other options a long way behind. In the Borda count, offshore wind, onshore wind and solar were again more popular than the other methods – with onshore wind scoring slightly more highly than solar power in this vote. Assembly members' order of preference for the other methods was again bioenergy, followed by nuclear, with fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage bringing up the rear.

Please rank the following technologies in your order of preference

Please rank the following technologies in your order of preference

Onshore wind 7%

Offshore wind 65%

Solar power 12%

Bioenergy 4%

Nuclear 9%

Fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage 4%

Figure 2: (% first preference votes)

Please rank the following technologies in your order of preference

Please rank the following technologies in your order of preference (Borda count)

Onshore wind 431

Offshore wind 566

Solar power 414

Bioenergy 297

Nuclear 272

Fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage 198

Figure 3: (Borda count)

B. Rationale and conditions

This section contains:

Given the detailed nature of assembly members' comments, we have categorised the pros and cons for each of way of generating electricity under six headings:

The category titles are our words, not assembly members', and are just there to make assembly members' thoughts easier to navigate. All the content under the headings is assembly members' own.

We have kept in contradictory opinions in order to show the full range of views amongst assembly members. The results of the votes above tell you what conclusions assembly members reached having considered all these points, and the weight of feeling in support (or not) of each way of generating electricity.

B.1 Onshore wind

Onshore wind means wind turbines that are located on land. Assembly members discussed this technology in small groups, noting pros and cons.

Pros

Assembly members identified the following areas as points that they liked about onshore wind.

Environmental impacts and land use

Some assembly members liked that onshore wind is "sustainable ", "renewable ," "doesn't run out" and is "environmentally friendly." Others described it as "clean energy ", "cleaner", "low carbon" and "not dirty (i.e. does not use fossil fuels)." Some said they liked that "no CO2 [is] produced (except in construction)" or that it is a "non-polluting operation."

Some assembly members labelled onshore wind "a natural way of …[generating] electricity" or noted that it "uses natural resources to produce energy." Some highlighted that there is "no waste ", "no nuclear waste" or "no residue at the end."

A number of assembly members commented on wind turbines' appearance, expressing a range of views. Some were positive commenting that they are "majestic", "pretty in the right location", "pleasant to look at on the horizon" or that they like "seeing wind turbines…[and] think they look nice, even the modern ones." Others were more muted suggesting that "some don't mind the look of them", or that "turbines are more attractive than slag heaps." Some noted that "one or two turbines can be built on their own (i.e. in industrial areas)" and that these "are not huge farms, so that makes them quite attractive." Others commented "houses aren't attractive in the environment so why do we have a problem with wind turbines?" Some assembly members presented a different view, saying "they are an eye sore, but if the potential is there this outweighs the negatives…. Other things are eye sores (e.g. power stations, masts), we have had to get used to them, we'll get used to this."

Some assembly members talked about benefits for future generations. Comments included that "we are all responsible for what happens to the world, and this is one solution." Others noted a "lack of [negative] impact for future generations" or that "they are temporary and when they are done the landscape returns and the impact is gone."

One assembly member said "if placed where it's effective, you can have dual land use."

Practicality, efficiency, readiness and scale

Some assembly members said that onshore wind is a "proven technology, it works, we have it already up and running." Some suggested that "no testing [is] needed" and "we know if we build more it will be fine." Others described it as a "very well researched tech …[which is] gaining traction as a well established technology", is "available now" and "practical."

Some assembly members suggested that it is "easy to do – technically" and "easy to use," including being "low maintenance," "easy to fix and maintain" and "easy to set up." Some commented that it is "easier (than off-shore) to maintain – to access and upgrade as technology improves."

A number of assembly highlighted the benefits of using onshore wind at a small scale and in strategic locations. Some assembly members suggested that "whilst 'wind farms' can be seen as a negative, for some farmers, having a single turbine to generate power can be vital." Others said that "there may be an opportunity to extend use beyond feeding into the grid to power specific factories or other sites" or that it "works on [a] smaller scale / homes as well as [a] larger scale." Some suggested that "there would be [an] opportunity to expand production in strategic locations to minimise energy lost in transmission."

Some assembly members said it is "scalable – 10 x more potential than currently so can produce lots of energy." Others noted that it can be done "at a large scale" or suggested that there is the "ability to produce a large amount of energy (even if storage [is] currently problematic)." Some assembly members commented that "it's an existing technology so can be more easily scaled up."

Some assembly members noted that "we are an island so there is always wind" or suggested that this is a "good source of energy for the UK ." One assembly member pointed out that it "can still be windy at night, unlike [the sun and] solar energy."

Other individual assembly members suggested that "you can store the energy in batteries", that "power can be moved easily" or that there's the "ability to build on existing infrastructure." One assembly member felt that it "could be used with geothermal well."

Costs, the economy and jobs

A sizeable number of assembly members described onshore wind as "low cost", "cheap", or "cheaper", with some suggesting specifically that it is "cheaper than off-shore to build, maintain and (mostly) to transmit the energy." Some labelled it "cost effective," suggesting that "production is virtually free once its built – represents good value." Some said that "costs are coming down" and that because of "economies of scale…[it] will only get cheaper." Others suggested that it is "becoming much more attractive for companies to build." Some assembly members described it as "free energy." Others said "we should be exploiting free energy, and it will be available for generations."

Some assembly members felt onshore wind would have benefits for the economy and jobs. They suggested it would be "economically good as [turbines] create a lot of on-going engineering jobs" or that "there could be a positive impact on industry in manufacturing them." Others said more generally that "we could exploit the opportunities of this technology as a country."

Some assembly talked about the potential to make and raise money. Some members suggested that there is a "possibility to make money as individuals from it", while others felt they are a "good investment for energy companies as [they] can have confidence." Some noted the "benefits from wind farms giving donations to local causes."

Public support

Some assembly members wondered whether public hostility had been "over-hyped " or was being "given too much attention":

"We were informed the Government stopped awarding contracts in 2015, when 80% of the public thought onshore wind was acceptable. Would public opinion have changed since then; would more people find it acceptable?"

More than one assembly member talked about a "local example of [a] wind farm near where I live – after initial resistance, people have accepted it." In one case they said this was because people "can see land is being used well (wasn't useful for much else, not fertile, etc.)." Some assembly members felt that "people are used to wind turbines so not so difficult to introduce" or suggested that concerns about public acceptability "should not be allowed to overly influence decision-making." Some assembly members said that onshore wind turbines may not be people's choice but they are "what people need."

Some assembly members suggested that people being able to see wind turbines is positive ; some commented that "when located in towns, it's good to make people realise where the energy comes from" or that "you can see it producing our energy and that there are no emissions."

One assembly member suggested it's "quiet."

Safety and risk

One assembly member said onshore wind is "safer compared to offshore wind."

Other

Some assembly members said that onshore wind has "very few negatives " or that "there are lots in my area – I have no problem with them. There's nothing to dislike about them." Other assembly members also expressed general support, saying they "like the idea of onshore wind", that it is "good and productive" or it's "good to see lots of it happening."

One assembly member suggested that "everyone benefits" from its use.

Cons

Assembly members identified the following areas as points that they disliked about onshore wind.

Environment impacts and land use

A sizeable number of assembly members expressed concerns about land use. They noted that turbines "take land that could be used for something else" or suggested that they are "probably not the best use of land, we're a very populated nation." Others felt that it would "hinder farming and food producers" or that the land "might be better used for growing local produce", for "housing", or "for trees." Some said that "there is room for onshore wind (land space available to increase the number of turbines) but not endlessly," while others felt we "would need lots of them for it to be worthwhile – need them to take up huge amounts of land." Some assembly members said that "there is lots of demand for land use in some parts of the UK we may not be able to find appropriate sites."

The sizeable number of assembly members who commented on wind turbines' appearance had a range of views. Some disliked the "visual impact" or "local visual impact", saying that turbines "don't look nice", ruin the landscape, and are "ugly", an "intrusion", an "eyesore" or "spoil the view and nature." Some said they were "particularly concerned [about the] impact on areas of natural beauty, such as mountains." Others described them as "not scenic" and suggested that they "need to be sited away from the beaten track/somewhere it doesn't look awful." Some lamented the fact you "would see it when you are walking about" or "wonder[ed]

what they will look like in 2050: will they be rusty and unclean?" Others' dislike was slightly more muted, with some assembly members suggesting that the "visual is a concern, but not too much, as benefits outweigh the negatives" or that they're "not good for resident's views, but [it's] just one of those things – a chance you take if you live in the countryside." Some said they didn't like the "visual impact…but not that bad." Others said "they are ugly" but that "this might improve as the technology improves."

Some assembly members voiced concerns about "negative impact on wildlife " or the "impact on migrating birds," with some asking "what about endangered species, peatland, birds." Others mentioned "bird strikes, bats" whilst noting we're "glad they are taking steps to try to reduce the impact on birds."

Some assembly members noted concerns about habitat loss or "environmental impact" more generally, with some picking out hedgerows and peatland as particular areas of concern. Others said turbines "destroy natural habitat" or suggested that "the 'changed' wind that comes off the turbines can be damaging to landscapes and eco-systems." Some queried whether there are "additional risks of damage to land used in this way, eg flooding or erosion?" Others said that "there could be an impact of manufacturing on the environment (especially if imported)." Some assembly members talked about "concrete bases", "non-recyclable materials" and "cradle to grave impact – consider where they are sited and impact – e.g peatlands, road building – need to assess lifetime cost."

Practicality, efficiency, readiness and scale

Some assembly members disliked that wind turbines are a "variable source of energy ", labelling them "unreliable if wind not blowing", or saying they are "intermittent", "unpredictable" or that you "can't rely on wind for electricity." Some suggested that a wind farm located on the West coast "might not produce its full capacity. Do you want to take up all that land space for 85 000 wind turbines?"

Some assembly members said that "on days where there's too much [electricity] produced, [we] haven't got the facilities to store it at the moment", with others simply noting "can't store it." Some felt this meant we "should use it to generate synthetic fuel from CO2 in [the] atmosphere – in this way [we] don't need batteries or H2. Synthetic fuel has longer lasting utility than batteries and H2 needs new infrastructure."

Some assembly members commented of the location of wind turbines :

"Windfarms need to be close to where the energy is used to be more effective. But we see lots of them far away from cities. The more the energy travels, the more you lose in the transfer, so that's a problem."

Others noted that the "best places to locate the turbines might not be the places where the most energy is needed, therefore transmission costs and losses increase." Some worried that turbines might be located "in places that might not continue to supply the energy to us (i.e. Scotland if they get independence)."

Some assembly members commented on efficiency and capacity. Some suggested that onshore turbines are "less efficient than offshore" or that they "produce small amounts of energy compared to their claims." Others suggested that the "tech could be improved if made smaller – there's inertia with the bigger turbines needing more wind." One assembly member noted "I have a local windfarm and power generation is listed in energy by household (it produces energy for 1000 homes) which is nothing compared to the amount of houses in the area."

Cost, the economy, and jobs

Some assembly members said they disliked the "cost " or "costs of manufacture." Others said that the "price for electricity generated should be lower" or that there was "some suggestion that maintenance costs are high." One assembly member disliked that "many [turbines] are made abroad ", although another countered that "there is a lot of production in Hull."

Public support

Some assembly members said that they "can result in local controversy " particularly because of the visual impact and suggested that "local communities should be more involved in deciding whether they are located near them or not – who makes the decisions." Others said "public acceptability is a limitation" and they are "not seen as popular with the public", with some noting "personally, I don't dislike them, but I understand that others don't want them in their area."

Some assembly members raised issues about living close to wind turbines. Some noted that "living close to them means you get reflections from them like mirrors" or that they "can be distracting to look at at times – maybe better away from roads." Others said there is "noise if close but not that bad" or "noisy – but you do get used to it." Some felt the "noise impact" and "noise pollution" were more serious particularly if "scaled up": "a friend lives close to a windfarm and it makes their life miserable. Constant humming sound which can drive you bonkers." Others said that "delivery of the turbines…[is] unsuitable for small roads – disruptive."

Safety and risk

Some assembly members said onshore wind turbines are "not capable of handling strong winds " or "can be damaged by high winds so need to be turned off above a certain wind speed." Others asked "can blades be dangerous if they come off?"

Other

Some assembly members worried that turbines are "unfair on rural communities who have them while urban dwellers benefit." Others said they were "concerned about the development of large-scale wind farms in Scotland, which benefit England…, but have a negative impact on the Scottish environment and landscape."

Some assembly members said onshore wind "is not as good an option as building off-shore ."

Conditions

Some assembly members noted conditions that they would want to be in place for onshore to be used, or that they felt would help its use. They highlighted a need to:

Think carefully about location

Some assembly members felt that "they have a place, but should not be located everywhere." What constituted a suitable or unsuitable place was different for different assembly members, for example:

"As long as it's in the right areas, so not on natural beauty areas, but better on useless land."

"Use land that cannot be used for other things e.g. agriculture."

"Onshore wind can also be built on marginal land without much other use, and can be integrated with other solutions for reducing our emissions (such as new forests) or placed next to other construction projects so the land required for onshore wind can be reduced even while it is massively scaled up."

"As long as not outside your house."

"…they need to be dispersed…. Don't have to be huge farms."

"There is plenty of sparsely populated land (e.g. in Northern Ireland) where you could site turbines."

"Put out of the way, e.g. motorways."

"Need to be placed in best places to ensure UK has access to the energy."

"Focus where maximum benefit and least damage."

Look at small scale uses and better visual design

Some assembly members stated a "preference for personal, small scale" as opposed to "large developments", while others suggested that there "would need to be measures put in place to minimise the size of on-land turbines as technology develops (i.e. not as big as off-shore ones)" or suggested "more focu[s] on the models without sails that have less visual impact on the landscape." Some noted that they "don't seem to have variations in the design – could it be miniaturised (i.e. on aircrafts don't have massive blades)." Some suggested that factories could "have their own windfarms to power their plants? e.g. Nissan plant has its own windfarm." Others asked whether they could "have these on our personal homes, i.e. wind trees?" or said "we could consider the use of household wind trees (aeroleaves) for household power generation. They are small and can work at low wind speeds."

Tackle public acceptability

Some assembly members felt there would be a "need to change public perception" and made suggestions about how to win round the public.

"If the public knew wind turbines are a low cost option, they might become more acceptable."

"If they were all over the place and people could see the cost benefit analysis that might help."

Consider land use

Some assembly members said that their support would "depend on how the land is used, i.e. farm around [them]" or suggested that you could "use the land for two different things" or that the UK should be "combining onshore wind turbines with other things e.g. tree cover."

Make them in the UK

Some said they would be "in favour if they were made in [the] UK – better for local jobs".

Sort out storage and infrastructure

Some assembly members said that "battery storage needs to be good and with infrastructure to support this." Others said we "need the infrastructure to get the energy to the grid and avoid wasted energy (sometimes more is available than can be used)". Some asked how we plan to dispose of the batteries.

Manage impact

Some assembly members suggested that "commercial businesses need to be managed to ensure that they don't damage the landscape" or that onshore wind needs "needs proper assessment of environmental impact."

Reinstate grants

Some assembly members said that "grants from government were stopped and need to be renewed" or that "Government support pulled for them and it needs to come back to then lower cost and give support for renewables."

Ensure security

Some assembly members suggested that we need to "protect against foreign ownership/outsourcing to ensure supply and protections."

Relax planning rules

Some assembly members suggested that "[l]ocal authorities need to be more flexible with regulations and rules relaxed."

As seen in Section A, assembly members expressed significant support for onshore wind in their votes.

B.2 Offshore wind

Offshore wind means wind turbines that are located at sea. Assembly members discussed this technology in small groups, noting pros and cons.

Pros

Assembly members identified the following areas as points that they liked about offshore wind.

Environment impacts and land use

A significant number of assembly members commented that offshore turbines are "out of the way ", "can go a long way out in the ocean" or are "out of sight, out of mind". Some assembly members suggested this had visual benefits in not "spoiling the landscape", with some saying you "don't have unsightly turbines on the land" or that you "get the benefits of onshore turbines without the disruption of [the] natural landscape." One said "this is the proper place for wind turbines" while another noted the "aesthetic – visually nicer and appealing [than alternatives]." Other assembly members suggested offshore wind "affects fewer people than onshore ", is "further away from people's houses", or "doesn't intrude in any way– away from people so no one will have issues with noise etc". Others said they are "not in people's back gardens / in the countryside."

Some assembly members suggested that there would be "minimal disruption to wildlife ", only "[l]ow impact (on the environment)" or that this the technology that is "least disruptive to nature." Some assembly members expanded on this theme stating:

"Despite some disruption to marine habitats during construction they could actually help preserve marine life by creating 'safe haven' areas eg no fishing, no shipping."

"Overall good for environment – may have disturbed marine life when built, but then keep ships away once installed. Mussels grow on the base etc."

Some assembly members described offshore wind as "clean ", "healthy," "green energy", "renewable ", or an "unlimited source of energy." Others said it creates "no pollution" and does not produce CO2.

Some assembly members suggested offshore wind is a "better use of our resources…which in turn frees up the land." Others felt it "saves the land for other uses" or that the "land management issues associated with onshore are gone."

Practicality, efficiency, readiness and scale

Some assembly members said that there is "more space at sea ", "lots of space around our coastline" or that we've "got lots of water [to put them in]." Others suggested that we "could power the whole country by using just a small percentage of the seabed", that it would be "easy to increase numbers" or that it "can be scaled up massively ."

Some assembly members said offshore wind produces a "great amount of power ", has "more potential than [we] realised," or has the "capacity to provide a lot of electricity – e.g. Woley Windfarm generates enough electricity for 600,000 homes." Some suggested that it "could meet most of … demand, it can play a big part, just need something for reliability when no wind." Others said turbines are "able to be a lot larger [at sea] and produce more electricity" or that offshore turbines are "more efficient " than onshore ones. Some assembly members suggested that "offshore ones [turbines] are a lot a bigger. …[fewer] offshore produce the same amount of energy…. Means that we want to put more offshore – and reduce the onshore."

Some assembly members commented that we "already use it, know it works" or that it is "reliable" or "more reliable than other technologies." Individual assembly members suggested that it could be "a good long term solution", is "manageable" or that "we have the technology to potentially install in [a] less disruptive way e.g. oil platforms."

Some assembly members felt we should "use a resource we have plenty of – wind !" while others said there are "stronger winds at sea" or "always wind at sea". Some liked the fact "they are floatable " with some noting that "they can be moved to where the wind is (we understand that some are on platforms and can be towed)."

Cost, the economy, and jobs

Some assembly members felt that offshore wind could "create a lot of jobs", including "well paid high skilled maintenance jobs" or jobs in "making them/ installing etc." Some suggested that there would be "job opportunities for people formerly working on oil and gas platforms in [the] north, [meaning a] negative becomes a positive, transition of the industry." Similarly, some noted that "we have many seaside towns supporting the oil industry and so can repurpose these which is good for jobs / economy ." Others suggested we "can start exporting once its built" or that it has "export potential."

Some assembly members said offshore wind is "cheap, and getting cheaper to install" or is "cheaper than fossil fuels." Others suggested that "strategically sited they could reduce transmission costs as very few parts of the country are very far from a coastline."

Public support

One assembly member commented that "people are used to them."

Safety and risk

No assembly members made comments in this area.

Other

Some assembly members said offshore wind has "no major negative", has "very, very few disadvantages", or has "fewer disadvantages (than onshore wind)." Some labelled it the "best option by miles" and a "brilliant idea", saying "I'm all for it." One assembly member commented that "we are doing it a lot in the South East of England. It is a variable source and best to generate electricity. All positive."

Cons

Assembly members identified the following areas as points that they disliked about offshore wind.

Environment impacts and land use

Some assembly members disliked the visual impact of offshore wind, saying it is "intrusive" or an "eye sore" and noting you "can see [them] from the land." A few members made comments about one particular wind farm:

"It can still be an eye sore offshore (e.g. just been built off [the] beach in Aberdeen), it's a massive change but you get used to it, it's not a huge problem for me but can see an issue for others."

"Donald Trump tried to stop them – he was the only one who complained! The problem was the views from his golf course. Locals didn't mind that."

"Trump didn't like it in Aberdeen. Complained to the Local Council. Did go ahead despite taking the Council to Court."

Some assembly members were concerned about the impact on "marine animals", "sea creatures", "sea life", "migratory birds" and of "drilling into the sea bed." Some noted particular concerns about the "cables and where they come onshore and impact on things like sand," or the "construction phase…but also possibly … the wind currents they produce." Some assembly members suggested that the "impact isn't well tested/understood" or that we "might want to see more assessment of that damage." Other assembly members caveated their concerns, for example:

"Going to have some impact on marine diversity but 'you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.'"

"Concern about affecting marine life (but like what was said about initial disturbance but overall good for marine life)."

"Potential impact on birds (but of limited concern because if sited off migration routes should have limited significant impact)."

"There are minimal ecological impacts. The wildlife comes back in 20 years. Not a huge downside for me."

Some assembly members highlighted issues around pollution and ethics, noting the "use of heavy metals in the development of the batteries [for storing electricity]" and asking "how can we ethically build them." Some assembly members highlighted "mining/metals and minerals and the negative impacts they create in building the turbines – local energy better." Some assembly members felt there is a "high pollution risk, which is harder to control offshore than onshore."

Individual assembly members said they "worry about drilling underground" or had concerns about the "human impact on people that live nearby, but research is needed."

Practicality, efficiency, readiness and scale

Some assembly members felt that offshore turbines are "harder to maintain " or "difficul[t] to build", noting issues with "accessibility to install and maintain. " Some assembly members suggested that "you need big infrastructure to get out and maintain them." Others said that "increased maintenance costs…[are] not just because of [the] location but also because of the harsher environment."

Some assembly members questioned turbines' durability, asking whether the turbines would be "affected by storms, eg strength of wind", whether they are "safe, strong and durable" or whether the turbines will "last as long" as onshore turbines.

Another concern for some assembly members was intermittent supply and issues around storage. Some said it was "not guaranteed energy" or commented on the "unreliability of the wind", suggesting that "with Britain's changeable weather it won't work all the time." Others said it is "only efficient when windy currently – need to develop battery storage or share it with other countries." Other assembly members mentioned "concern about the storage of electricity." One assembly member highlighted " the amount of backup generation, spare capacity we have to build…", suggesting "we need almost as much spare capacity as we need generating capacity, for when the wind drops. This needs to be also a green technology or we have to sacrifice 'greenness'."

Some assembly members wondered if there would be "difficulty transporting electricity from offshore to where it's needed?" or suggested there would be a "loss of power as it's transferred."

Cost, the economy, and jobs

Some assembly members said there is a "big upfront cost which would take a long time to recoup [and] means people are reluctant to do it." Others said there are "big expenses/costs associated with drilling into the seabed" or said they disliked the "cost to install and maintain, compared to onshore turbines." Some assembly members highlighted "maintenance costs ": "if they go wrong would have to send a boat out specifically for that windmill. Would be quite expensive." Others commented that we "would need a lot of them and therefore [it] would cost a lot."

Some assembly members said we "need to be careful we do not have too many...[i]mpacts on fishermen." Some assembly members worried about "shipping routes" or "danger to shipping". Others commented they were "worried about the adverse effect on shipping and fishing, but Chris [Stark] confirmed that [offshore wind] only uses 1% of space so now [we are] not worried."

One assembly member disliked "paying rent to the Queen (via the Crown Estate) – one of the richest people in the world."

Public support

No assembly members made comments in this area.

Safety and risk

Some assembly members voiced concerns about "safety during installation and maintenance – similar conditions to offshore oil and gas industry which is dangerous." Others said they "don't know the downsides, not a deep sea diver, don't know the risks of building offshore turbines" or asked more generally "[w]hat happens if something goes wrong?" Some assembly members said they were "concerned about security : vulnerability of the cable that brings the power to land being attacked."

Conditions

Assembly members also noted conditions that they would want to be in place for offshore wind to be used, or that they felt would help its use. They suggested a need to:

Consider environmental impacts

Some assembly members suggested we "need to factor in [the] impact of this on [the] natural environment still" or said they "would like reassurance that this is being considered", querying whether we "fully understand their environmental impact yet." Others said we "must choose sites that don't interrupt migration routes or breeding sites for marine/bird life" or that "siting must be properly assessed with regards to environmental impacts – birds etc." One assembly member commented:

"I…think offshore wind comes with its own environmental issues, such as habitat degradation of the sea bed. It affects bird populations, particularly juveniles. So, I do think it has to be implemented correctly and the effects to the natural world need to be strongly considered whenever sites are being selected."

Resolve issues with storage

Some assembly members said there needs to be "good research into energy storage" or that we "need storage or [an]other back-up solution."

Put them out of sight

Some assembly members asked to "keep them away from [the] coastal environment / resorts" or commented "why not put them all out of sight?"

Understand risks better

Some assembly members said we "need to find out more about the risks associated with installing offshore turbines."

Integrate offshore wind with other elements of the energy mix

Comments included:

"Need to integrate [offshore wind] with other elements of [the] energy mix – e.g. float barges making synthetic fuel by turbines, and then plug this into [the] existing fuel system which is better than having to build extensive cabling back to shore. Can also add in solar, wind and wave. By 2050 this would be cheaper."

Promote UK construction and ownership

Some assembly members said they "would like to see an emphasis on British construction and ownership to ensure they are making a wider contribution to the economy."

Use floating turbines

Some assembly members particularly liked the idea of floating turbines.

Individual assembly members said their support would "depend on [the] volume (of turbines) required", that it "would be good to keep perfecting them, make them better and better" or that "there could be trade deals done with France & Ireland to share offshore wind energy consumption."

As seen in Section A, assembly members expressed very strong support for offshore wind in their votes.

B.3 Solar

Solar refers to solar panels that are located on homes and other buildings, or at a larger scale on land (e.g. in fields). Assembly members discussed this technology in small groups, noting pros and cons.

Pros

Assembly members identified the following areas as points that they liked about solar.

Environment impacts and land use

Some assembly members said they liked that solar is a "natural source of energy" or that "we have what it uses already – sunlight!", with some commenting that "it's a good idea to use the sun." Others described it as an "infinite supply of energy" or a "regular source of energy, especially as [it] doesn't require full sun all the time, just light." Some said that "the UK has significant periods of daylight everyday", although they acknowledged differences between the north and south. Others suggested that "it's reliable and will last." Some assembly members said solar is "very clean " or a "clean form of energy." Others said there is "[n]o pollution during energy production."

Some assembly members said that it's "a simple method and a good use of land. I have experience of it and it's great!". Others suggested that you "can still use fields where solar panels are located – including for grazing. It allows a habitat to remain intact." Some said solar is "environmentally friendly" or that there is "no impact on wildlife."

Some assembly members suggested that solar panels are "not an eyesore ", are "clean looking" or "look okay." Others said that they are "less of an eyesore than turbines (particularly when located on buildings)." Some liked the fact solar is "silent" or "not in people's way", with some suggesting there is "no disruption to anyone. "

Practicality, efficiency, readiness and scale

A sizeable number of assembly members said that they liked the fact that solar is flexible – that it "can be put anywhere" and used for many things:

Other assembly members asked "why can't all roofs have solar panels" or suggested solar panels "could help if they were on everyone's houses." Some suggested that solar "can be done at scale" or is "scalable " because it "can be put anywhere." Others liked the fact that it "could go up to 10% (of our electricity needs)."

Some assembly members said that solar is proven – that it "is used a lot around the world already", "works" or is a technology which is "established and well developed." Others said it has "established efficiency." Some described it as a "simple technology " that is "easy to develop both at large and small scale." Others suggested that it is "easy to install and maintain and can be upgraded quite easily." Some assembly members approved of the fact it "can be local to you " or is "located near homes…[so] no power loss." Others suggested that a "localised direct supply… [would] remov[e] the need for transport."

Some assembly members felt that solar "works well in partnership with other existing technologies " or "could be a (smaller) part of future energy", with "variable demand covered if combined with wind." Others suggested that it "can be combined with storage." One assembly member said it "can be integrated with existing systems." Others commented that there "is always sun somewhere in the world so it lends itself to export/import." Some wondered if we should "outsource to the Sahara where there is lots of sun" or suggested that we "could power share with other countries."

Cost, the economy, and jobs

Some assembly members said that solar is "getting cheaper", "not too expensive" or that the "lifetime cost is low." Some suggested that the "decreased cost of manufacture compared to when the technology was originally developed (has dropped exponentially) makes this a feasible technology." Others noted the "low cost of installation" or said that it's "free once the technology is installed."

Some assembly members pointed out the potential to make and save money. Some commented that "people can use them to lower [their] own bills" or that some people generate "so much energy that [they] can sell it back to the grid." Others noted that it can "save people who have them on their houses a lot of money" or that in the "long term [it] can be a good investment for domestic bills." Some assembly members said that "there are schemes available to support it, you can sell back to the grid/energy provider." Others said that "loans are available from (some councils) for installation on households" and one assembly member noted that they "like the concept of renting roofs to the "Council" for solar generation." Another individual assembly member shared that "when I sold my house the solar panels definitely contributed to the sale of the house (it made it easier to sell)."

Some assembly members particularly liked the idea of solar farms, suggesting that they could involve bulk buying and therefore reduced costs. Others felt that solar panels are "expensive as [an] individual cost, but solar farms [are] ok as long as they are in the right place."

Public support

Some assembly members suggested that solar "gives people individual autonomy to generate power" or that you "can choose and manage your own power supply – sense of control ." Others said it "can be individual; on own property and you can control [the] energy coming in." Some noted that you can be "independent of the national grid."

Some suggested that solar is a "a recognised technology" or that "the public understands how solar works". Others said that it is "accepted by people."

Safety and risk

Some assembly members suggested there is "no risk " or said that that they "can't see serious side effects (other than the rare earth point...)."

Cons

Assembly members identified the following areas as points that they disliked about solar.

Environment impacts and land use

A significant number of assembly members expressed concerns about land use. Some said that solar panels can "take up space" or that "solar fields could be put to better use." Some suggested that they could have an impact on "land for food and on habitat." Others said that there is "no space below" so "you can't have sheep", or suggested that "we need our fields for trees and plants" or for "biofuels." Some assembly members commented that "it's not good to be covering hectares of land – "big solar farms can increase the risk of flooding in areas: stops water going in[to the] soil and increases run off. Can put pressure in certain areas. Can't be used on its own." Others commented that they "don't like fields of panels" or "don't like it so much on land."

Some assembly members felt that solar panels are "not very attractive /look ugly on houses" or are "not aesthetically pleasing." Some said that "on some modern houses they look fine, on others they look anachronistic/silly – can spoil the look of a street."

Some disliked "polluting PV manufacturing", noting the "reliance on lithium and cobalt for the battery technology" and the mining of them as their particular concern. Some said there were "ethical issues " in these area and that these "apply to other variable renewables too." For other assembly members concerns centred on the "impact on [the] local environment and biodiversity …primarily because of the surface heat produced."

Practicality, efficiency, readiness and scale

A sizeable number of assembly members suggested that "we're not a sunny country all of the time – shortens the timespan for being able to generate the electricity, particularly in winter which is when we need the most energy for heat/light." Others said that we're a "miserable overcast country", "power output [is] not when people use most electricity", or that solar is "not viable because of reliability." Some suggested that "solar does have a place in the Sahara desert…[c]ould put huge farms [there], but not so much a place for it in the UK." Others objected to the fact that solar only works "during daylight" or lamented the "lack of night-time generation, i.e. if no battery storage."

Some noted the potential for particular problems in the North, suggesting that "shortened daylight hours in the North may make it less viable to rely on / more subject to variance and may require substantial transmission of the energy generated (including loss and cost factors)."

Some said there "are limits to its scale in UK" or that "when productivity is low (e.g. winter) [we] would still need a baseline supply from another non variable source." Some assembly members caveated their dislike, suggesting that "if storage is possible in batteries for later use, then there is potential." One assembly member said it "can't be the only solution."

Relatedly, some assembly members said that there would need to be "investment in batteries/storage problems " or suggested that "questions remain about storing the excess – needs to be efficient in storing energy." One assembly member commented on "grid capacity – more energy being produced than can be used / stored and therefore creates wastage."

Examining suitability from a different angle, some assembly members suggested that solar panels wouldn't work for every building because they "cannot work for people in flats or high rises – so there is an equity issue". Others said that "not every house is suitable (don't have south facing roofs)." Some expressed doubts about how much electricity solar generates or its efficiency, suggesting that they "only generate a small amount", that "amount of electricity they generate is questionable", or that they are "not powerful enough to power the house." Others suggested that they are "less efficient than wind", or that people are "struggling to improve [them] and make [them] more efficient."

Some assembly members suggested that "installations only have a short life ", "need to be kept clean " or "need [to be] upgraded every few years."

Cost, the economy, and jobs

Some assembly members disliked the "cost of installations", suggesting the solar panels are "expensive to put in at the moment" or that "installation costs are something people have to pay up front which could be a barrier." Others suggested that solar panels represent "poor value for [the] average person in a house as there's a slow payback." Some assembly members said that they "can't afford the capital outlay to pay for them," noting that the price "has come down over the last ten years" but is still "£10k for the panels and then more for battery storage." Some reported that the "batteries to store the solar power are expensive – this is a disincentive". Other assembly members said that installing solar panels results in an "increase of business rates and [is] therefore not cost effective"; they suggested that "government needs to step up and change that."

Some assembly members noted a lack of incentives, saying that the "reduction in feed in tariffs has become a disincentive", that "government has stopped giving you money to have it on your house" or that "deals used to be available but aren't any more."

Some assembly members said there were "potential implications when selling houses " or talked about "problems with insurance/ selling houses", suggesting that "legislation needs to change on this."

Individual assembly members said solar is "underfunded and needs more research: or asked "how will it get paid for? Should not be only homeowners who need to pay." One assembly member suggested there is a "danger that developers who can't get planning permission to build on green belts are building solar farms to earn money."

Public support

No assembly members made comments in this area.

Safety and risk

One assembly member expressed "concern about outsourcing to areas (Sahara example) as we don't want to be dependent on others."

Conditions

Assembly members also noted conditions that they would want to be in place for this technology to be used, or that they felt would help its use. They suggested a need to:

Resolve issues around batteries and storage

Some assembly members said they "do not have to be chemical batteries, other methods are available and should be considered," or that "there needs to be suitable ways of managing batteries and the materials in them (concerns about hazardous materials and recycling)." Others said battery storage being available "is a condition" of their support for solar and that "battery research is needed." Some assembly members disagreed with points about batteries, saying that "our task is carbon emissions, so the battery concerns are a smaller issue."

Make it cheaper

Some assembly members said it needs to be cheaper: "if the price comes down, people will put them on their homes." Others suggested "incentivis[ing] the buildings that use electricity during the day to have solar panels (offices, factories etc)." On a similar theme, some assembly members commented that you "need to invest to make it cheaper" with some noting that there "should be government subsidies again as people were benefitting from them", or grants, or "interest free [government] loans." Conversely, some assembly members said they had "concerns about whether subsidies should be put here", querying "is it worth it" or suggesting it "should only be done where there is enough sun, i.e. in the South." Others suggested "mass production (if there were panels on every home) the cost would come down a lot."

Change regulations

Some assembly members said "at the minute you have to get approval to fit panels (we think from Building Control) – should be reversed so that it is a requirement (or at least incentivised)." Others said we should "chang[e] building regulations to ensure that every new build has to have solar panels fitted although 2016 legislation to have solar fitted to homes was rescinded because of pressure from developers." Some assembly members said that they "also like Tesla roof panels, which are cheaper and act as a roof."

Look at who pays

Some assembly members suggested that "power companies should pay for installation, not homeowners (rent a roof schemes)." Others agreed saying it "should not be only homeowners who need to pay."

Think about different types of building

Some assembly members commented on different types of building that could have solar panels. These included new builds with some suggesting that "…solar panels should be mandatorily installed on all new buildings to feed into the grid", that "new housing in the South should all have solar panels fitted when they are built as part of the planning permission", or that "solar panels should be made compulsory on all new house builds. Government can set a date and costs will tumble." Comments about other types of building included:

"Should be government guidance that suggests every public building should have it… [This] seems like a sensible, logical solution."

"Need to be putting them on commercial buildings in the south."

"Make it mandatory for commercial buildings to use roofs for solar capture."

"Any building that could have solar panels should have them on it and community and public buildings should have panels on them that can be shared with the local community."

"Solar panels should be installed on all possible roof areas, private homes & business. This should be installed & managed by the energy companies with a small roof rental fee paid to the owner of the building. No expense to home owner and all electricity uploaded to the national grid."

Target the right areas and houses

Some assembly members said that "solar is more variable than wind and therefore probably most suited to certain parts of the country. Therefore support would be conditional on it being developed in the right areas where the technology will work best, rather than [it being] a default option." Others said that whether it's a good idea "depends on orientation of [the] house (better when south-facing) – you can get solar panels with motors on them which move around to catch more of the sun as the day goes by."

Consider land use

Some assembly members had opposing views about land use. Some asked to "avoid farming land", with some saying they would "rather have wind if [we're] going to use farm land for electricity generation." Others said that we "should make better use of solar panels in fields, e.g. where sheep are already grazing" or that "solar farms should allow for crops or animals e.g. sheep to graze underneath and possibly more direct light to enable grass and quick growing crops to grow." Some assembly members asked "whether it would be possible for solar and wind power sites to be co-located (a layered array) as this could be a more efficient use of land." Other assembly members asked whether it is possible to "attach solar panels to windmills?"

Promote equality

Some assembly members said they "would like to see more equal availability, e.g. people who live in high-rise flats can't put up panels."

Improve visual design

Some assembly members said solar panels would "need to be visually good looking – more presentable as part of the building e.g. solar roof tiles." Others asked if there "are ways to make them look nicer" or wondered if there could "be better control of how they're administered so they fit in visually a bit more?" Conversely, some assembly members said we "have to accept that things aren't going to look nice to deal with climate change" or that we "need to take a holistic view on whole impact."

Improve efficiency and scale

Some assembly members said that "efficiencies need to be improved, ideally getting more energy out of smaller solar [panels]." Others said it "needs to be scaled up to meet demand and part of a combined solution with wind."

Conduct more research

Some assembly members said it's "underfunded and needs more research."

Two assembly members made further points:

"Our lifestyle behaviour would have to change to accommodate using renewables efficiently (which appliances get used at which time in the day etc)."

"Alternative solar – i.e. focusing sunlight onto a hotbox (i.e. a dark box to absorb heat). These are cheaper to construct and can be used to generate energy."

As seen in Section A, assembly members expressed significant support for solar in their votes.

B.4 Bioenergy

Bioenergy means burning wood or crops to generate electricity. Assembly members discussed this technology in small groups, noting pros and cons.

Pros

Assembly members identified the following areas as points that they liked about bioenergy.

Environment impacts and land use

Some assembly members liked "the cycle of carbon capture and release and the balance" or the "cyclical nature of the process." Others noted that it "takes CO2 out of the atmosphere, but then puts it back out, but this is a balanced system." Relatedly, some assembly members described bioenergy as "carbon neutral " or suggested it "can be carbon neutral if done right." Others said it "emits little to no net greenhouse gas emissions" because of the "cycle".

Some assembly members liked that bioenergy is "renewable ", suggesting that "with fertile soil we should always have a renewable source." Others said that "pellets are a straight replacement for coal and therefore [a] more reliable form of electricity. We know exactly what we can produce."

Some assembly members said that they "'love [the] idea of growing more crops " or "growing trees to absorb CO2 ." Some noted that "crops like willow are native/indigenous trees." One assembly members said it's "better for environmental health as no radiation …[unlike] nuclear."

Practicality, efficiency, readiness and scale

A sizeable number of assembly members liked when bioenergy "uses waste" saying it "makes sense when it's an off product" or "if it already exists and [we] need to get rid of it, that's great." Assembly members talked about different kinds of waste:

Some assembly members liked that bioenergy can produce useful by-products. Some said you can "use heat as a by-product" or "use waste as fertiliser at the end." Some suggested that producing heat "could be especially positive if developed in localised ways – providing both [heat and electricity] to communities." Others noted that you can also create "fuels (e.g. ethanol from sugar beet."

Some assembly members liked that "existing power stations can be converted to use biofuels ." Their reasons included that:

Some assembly members suggested that bioenergy "could be useful" in "some places …e.g. waste products, handling food waste BUT [is] not [the] main solution for energy." Others said it "has its place in aviation or other areas where we usually use fossil fuels" or that it "provides a good back-up supply." Some assembly members said that "because it's constant…it could partially fill a gap for when other renewables are being variable (e.g. wind and solar)."

Some assembly members suggested that it's "scalable ", "could produce a high percentage of our energy" or "generates lots of energy." Some said they liked its "efficiency " or noted that it "only takes two years ."

One assembly member said "when a tree decomposes it will release the carbon…, so when burning it you're making use of something that's going to happen anyway." Other points made by individual assembly members were that "it is doing well so keep doing it", that you "could use abandoned or derelict land e.g. former mines" or that "you can produce this in different ways." One commented "you are storing energy."

Cost, the economy, and jobs

Some assembly members suggested that bioenergy creates "income for farmers" or is "good for second generation farmers that don't want to be investing time in land management – can grow crops easily." Others said that it "could be beneficial for farmers looking to change land use as we move away from as much animal farming."

A number of assembly members said that it's "cheaper than extracting fossil fuels" or can be "stored with minimal energy costs." Some said that it "employs a lot of people ."

Public support

No assembly members had comments in this area.

Safety and risk

No assembly members had comments in this area.

Other

Some assembly members liked the fact you can do it "locally" or that it offers "local solutions ." Others said it is "a solution that works at a small scale" and gave an example of where bioenergy is already being used on an estate. One assembly member said the "overall impact is positive, despite potential for pollution."

Cons

Assembly members identified the following areas as points that they disliked about bioenergy.

Environment impacts and land use

Some assembly members suggested that it "could be worse for the environment if not done effectively, sustainably", that "in some circumstances it's worse for climate change, so it depends on what you're growing and where, and what you're burning", or that "getting people to stick to the sustainability criteria might be a challenge if the incentives aren't there." Some worried about the "impact on biodiversity " including querying whether there was a "risk of a monoculture possibly if planting lots of these crops?" Some talked about the "USA experience of growing corn for ethanol" suggesting that the "environmental impact was high" and that they had "similar concern about palm oil and associated deforestation."

Others felt there was a "danger that it incentivises farmers to overwork the land, apply fertilisers to promote growth for bigger yields and destroy the soil." Similarly some said there was a "danger that soil doesn't get a rest." One assembly member noted that "I don't like anything that is going to destroy the environment for animals (habitat destruction). When cutting down trees – this causes a lot of disruption to animals." On a similar theme, some assembly members suggested there are "too many incentives to cheat and for bad behaviour" or that "bio fuels seem too easily exploited."

Some assembly members suggested that bioenergy "doesn't so much reduce carbon as recycle it" or "putting CO2 back into the atmosphere is not good ." Others said that it is "not carbon neutral" or "do[es] not reduce the CO2 and potentially uses up a lot of land which could otherwise be capturing and storing carbon." Some assembly members queried what happens to the carbon footprint "when [you] factor in harvesting, shipping" or suggested that it can be "carbon intensive" because "some emit a lot of carbon e.g. wood pellets exported from US to Europe to burn." Others suggested it "produces more CO2 than coal and fossil fuels (produces in burning 5% more CO2 )" or that it's a "red herring to say that it was more carbon friendly." Others noted mixed messages, saying "wood [is a] common cooking fuel, but [we're] being told [we] shouldn't use wood and coal, seems a backward step, still emitting carbon."

Expanding on a point touched on above, some assembly members suggested that bioenergy "doesn't seem like the best use of land ":

Some assembly members said that they are "concerned that we will keep using more and more bioenergy and this will have a negative impact on land use."

Also developing points already mentioned, some assembly members said that they disliked "transporting things long distances " or that the "transportation and equipment needed for bioenergy leads to pollution." Some said specifically that "importing other waste products increases [the] carbon generated by transport." Some assembly members made more general comments about importing, saying they disliked that "wood chips are being imported rather than produced locally" or questioning "will it be done in [an] environmentally friendly way."

Some assembly members expressed concerns about burning waste, with one assembly member saying that a local incinerator that had been built for pellets subsequently started to burn household waste as well. Others said they "worry about the big chimneys from the plant… particularly when burning waste…." Relatedly, some assembly members suggested that there would be "pollution from the smoke" or that it's "not good for air quality or lungs." Others described it as "not clean", or said that it "releases carbon monoxide" or that there is a "risk of harmful toxins."

Some assembly members worried about the "chemicals used to grow the crops and also side effects of growing new crops ." Some assembly members said they had personal experience of "allergies from expansion in growth of oil seed rape" and asked "might miscanthus have a similar impact?"

Practicality, efficiency, readiness and scale

Some assembly members said that it's "strange to burn something you grow " or that it's a "shame to keep planting trees and chopping them down." Others asked "how many trees do you have to chop down to get enough energy" or suggested it would be "difficult to get the [right] balance of growing trees and burning [them]." Some said it was "strange to balance [it] with something that is so damaging e.g deforestation", or suggested it "could lead to deforestation" or that we would have to be "careful [we were] not contributing to deforestation – need replanting." Others said that "using forest by-products doesn't seem right" or that they disliked "crops being grown to burn." Some assembly members felt that burning trees "defeats the object" because "a young tree does take a lot of the carbon out of the atmosphere but by burning it we put it back in so we don't get away from the existing cycle." Others said "we should plant forests instead, to store carbon, and leave them where they are not burn them for electricity."

Some assembly members suggested that bioenergy "requires a lot of organic matter and water – have we got the resources ?" Others noted that it "requires space and water." Some suggested that "it's not efficient " or "doesn't contain a lot of energy compared to fossil fuels." Others questioned, "can we get all our needs from this?"

Some assembly members said they had questions about "scalability ", suggesting that the "capacity for development isn't clear." Others wondered if it was possible to do it at scale "without growing crops specifically to fuel a plant."

A number of assembly members suggested that other technologies are better. Some asked "why bother putting money into something that might not work?" when there are "already other established technology options (wind, etc…)." Others noted the need for "transportation for what is going to be burnt, which doesn't apply to wind/solar" or said that only "10% [is] used for electricity the rest for fuel – so is it worth using it for electricity? – think there are better options." Some commented simply that we "have better ways of producing the energy."

Individual assembly members commented that it's "complicated to do", that it "won't work in long term" or that you "need to wait some time before wood can be harvested." One assembly member said we "should use bioenergy for other things besides electricity, e.g. materials."

Cost, the economy, and jobs

Some assembly members said it is "expensive to set up bioenergy plants", "more expensive to generate energy in this way" or suggested that bioenergy is "expensive and makes a small contribution to energy supply." Some suggested that it's "a lot of money for something that could be worse for the climate." Other assembly members expressed concerns about "cost effectiveness for the farmers who will be growing the trees – will they get extra money for doing so?" One assembly member referenced the "…experience of NI government losing lots of money on subsidies."

Public support

No assembly members made comments in this area.

Safety and risk

Some assembly members said that they disliked the "need to capture the carbon " or expressed "concern that it might be storing up problems for the future."

Conditions

Assembly members also noted conditions that they would want to be in place for this technology to be used, or that they felt would help its use. They suggested a need to:

Look at what is being burnt

Assembly members made points including:

"Less keen on growing crops specifically to burn"

"Depends what is burnt, has to give carbon neutral effect"

"Must not burn natural trees/forests/woodland, but only burn waste or what is left"

"It's an advantage if reusing waste, not adding to it"

"Don't cut old growth forests for biomass, only use fuel from plantations"

"Got to plant a lot of trees, and forestry management to get to net zero. This forestry management will have bio side-products as they manage the woods. Can't let this decay and using this for small amounts of bio-generation makes sense."

"Could we also harvest kelp offshore? Why only think about this onshore?"

Make sure it's done sustainably

Some assembly members suggested that "strong regulation would be needed to ensure it's not more polluting than fossil fuels" or that it "needs strict rules to ensure that it is done sustainably." Others suggested that it "needs to be done correctly to make sure it works" or "needs to be managed." Some said you need to "balance…the 36 [sustainability] factors on the graph in the presentation [by Patricia Thornley]." Other comments included:

"There are a wide variety of forms of bioenergy and each must be considered carefully based on its overall carbon emissions at all points in the supply chain and consumption. Currently wood pellet energy production is causing mass clear cutting of old growth forests in the United States so this supposedly carbon neutral form of energy is actually causing more carbon emissions than fossil fuel. Any adoption of bioenergy needs to be carefully considered against its entire carbon picture."

"I disagree that biofuels should be used if the fuel sources are being transported from great distances – as they are now from North America."

Create a balance with other energy sources

Some assembly members suggested that bioenergy "needs to be balanced with other energy sources" or that we "need a little bit of everything."

Individual assembly members suggested a need to think about "where it's sited" or provide farmers with subsidies. One commented: "Native trees should be grown rather than non-native so that natural habitats are created which is far better for native wildlife and restoring our countryside."

Some assembly members suggested that "globally, people will need this."

As seen in Section A, assembly members expressed limited support for bioenergy in their votes.

B.5 Nuclear

Nuclear means using heat from nuclear reactions to make electricity. Assembly members discussed this technology in small groups, noting pros and cons.

Pros

Assembly members identified the following areas as points that they liked about nuclear.

Environment impacts and land use

Some assembly members felt that nuclear is "clean " or clean in terms of emissions, commenting that it is "currently one of cleanest in emissions so good as a short term solution." Others said it is "clean (if we can dispose of [the] end products)", or that it "doesn't produce any greenhouse gases at all." Some noted that there is a "low carbon footprint from production." Some assembly members said it creates "no pollution" or "less pollution than other technologies." Some assembly members described it as "sustainable ." One assembly member suggested that there is "no effect on water/land/ecosystems if [there are] no accidents."

Practicality, efficiency, readiness and scale

Some assembly members commented on scale, suggesting that "it could supply up to 75% of our electricity needs", "can generate a lot of electricity", has "massive potential" or is like "turning on a tap." Others talked about the "sheer volume that this technology can produce…", saying that the "scope is vast" or "at [the] levels we need in the future." Some suggested that "it would take 300 turbines of 10MW to produce the same amount of electricity as Hinkley Point C. In fact, three times that as a turbine only operates at 30% capacity." One assembly member said "if done correctly, [it] could be a total solution."

Some assembly members liked the fact it is a "constant source" that is "available all of the time" or is "not a variable source." Others described it as "reliable " or "consistent", or said that it produces a "stable supply" of "guaranteed energy." Some branded it the "only reliable (constant) source of carbon neutral electricity" or "an effective source of power." For some assembly members it "seem[ed] efficient " or is "extremely efficient." Others said it "gets more energy faster, compared to the other technologies." One assembly member commented that it "lasts a long time."

Making a somewhat related point, a number of assembly members suggested that nuclear could provide a "baseload " of "stable" energy "which works hand in hand with wind and solar, [and which we] can crank up to address peak times." Others commented on the "ability with a small number of sites to provide a good baseload that can be topped up with variable sources." Some liked the fact you can "control output."

Some assembly members suggested that nuclear "use[s] [the] existing infrastructure available" or uses "systems already in place." Others said it "could continue to use sites with existing connectivity infrastructure in place even when decommissioned."

Some assembly members liked the fact it is "proven " or an "existing technology ." Some approved of the fact it "doesn't use fossil fuels" or is "not reliant on fossil fuels." Others saw a "role for the nuclear plants that already exist to make up for that [fossil fuel] gap (so we don't have to use more oil and gas), but [said they were] not sure about building new ones."

Cost, the economy, and jobs

Some assembly members said it "can create jobs in remote areas" or "creates a lot of jobs in Cumbria." Others said there would be "jobs in the building and management of it" or "lots of high skilled jobs." Some assembly members suggested that "where nuclear power stations already exist, people want them because of the jobs."

For some assembly members nuclear was "cheap to run once built", "cheap to operate" or just "cheap." Others said "once it gets going it's cheap (although not cheap to build)."

Public support

Individual assembly members said there are "no complaints from locals near Sizewell" or that they "like idea of smaller plants, depending on local people and whether they want it and the waste from the smaller plants."

Safety and risk

Some assembly members said that they were not overly worried about safety for a variety of reasons:

"Safety is paramount even on the build. Checked and checked again. We have a good record, can't see building a new one being a source of concerns."

"Growing expertise in managing nuclear waste means risks should be able to be managed."

"I used to be anti-nuclear, but I've now changed my view. As a resource, it can be used in a safe way. The waste can be managed better than carbon capture and storage."

One assembly member said "when it goes it wrong it goes badly wrong, but equally we accept other risks in our daily lives, when statistically nuclear isn't as bad." Another assembly member gave the example of "air pollution from fossil fuels which cause[s] deaths and is accepted as normal."

Some assembly members made international comparisons, suggesting that "France is a good model of how it works safely" or that "Three Mile island or Fukushima used a different type of reactor." Others suggested that "if France can be confident in running nuclear sites safely surely we can (and given parts of France are closer to the UK than other parts of the UK then their risk is our risk anyway)." Other assembly members said more broadly that it can be "made safe" and that the risk of something "disastrous" is "low." One assembly member said "I appreciate the environmental dangers but on the other hand we need it."

Other

Some assembly members expressed varying views on imports, either seeing it as a plus that we "could import from other countries", or alternatively liking the fact of "not having to." One assembly member said it "uses brainpower and knowledge, employs intellectual thought."

Cons

Assembly members identified the following areas as points that they disliked about nuclear.

Environment impacts and land use

Some assembly members suggested nuclear is "not clean" or has a poor overall carbon footprint. Some said that there are "no greenhouse gases but it does produce nuclear waste which could be worse than a greenhouse gas. It's low carbon but not clean." Others said that "mining uranium uses a lot of energy" or that "there are huge amounts of embodied carbon in the concrete used to build a nuclear power station and to decommission it." Some assembly members said that nuclear is "not actually renewable."

Some assembly members worried about "half-life – what impact on wildlife ." Others said more generally that they were concerned about "environment impact" or whether it will be "harmful to [the] environment in the long term."

Practicality, efficiency, readiness and scale

Some assembly members said that the "timescales are too long compared to wind and solar", suggesting that it "takes 20 years to build…[and] wind can be cranked up much more easily." Others said it "takes a long time to develop" or that the "timescales for building are unknown and unpredictable".

Some assembly members raised practical issues around nuclear waste, suggesting we will "need new sites for storing waste" or asking whether it is "moral to store [waste] outside of this country." Some declared "doubts about …[the] efficiency of waste management."

Some assembly members suggested that nuclear is "outdated " or said they are "huge plants…the technology is backward thinking." One assembly member disliked that it "uses lots of space." Some asked "why use nuclear when we can generate power from wind?" For some assembly members, the "need to keep it going all the time" was a disadvantage, with others suggesting it "takes 3 days to start and 3 days to stop so isn't flexible ."

Cost, the economy, and jobs

A sizeable number of assembly members described nuclear as "expensive ", or "incredibly expensive", with some suggesting that the "costs are astronomical". Some specifically mentioned the "huge expense to build new plants", commenting it is "twice the costs of other plants" or "twice that for a wind farm." Others highlighted "expensive decommissioning", the "costs of management", the "very expensive steam train – very harmful by-product", or said that "safety makes it cost a lot." Others noted the "costs of waste management" suggesting that "waste needs managing over 100s of years" and that it's "not worth it when we have wind to use." Others labelled nuclear "the most expensive technology available", said that "the costs go up once you start to build" or that costs are "unknown and unpredictable."

Some assembly members said "wave isn't being pursued because of the cost, so why are we focusing on nuclear? I.e. there are so many other options." Some suggested that "the huge amounts of money needed for nuclear could be spent on renewables…."

One assembly member said nuclear "doesn't employ as many people at plants." Another said "unlike other options this is unlikely to bring down individual bills."

Public support

Location and public acceptability – some assembly members predicted "location issues" with some saying "they've got a bad reputation similar to Onshore Wind for example – build-it, but not near me!" Others talked about "not wanting to live next door to something like this, whether it's a plant and/or a waste site…" or said that "no-one wants one [a nuclear power station] nearby." Others said that the "risk of accidents means public acceptability might be low." Some assembly members said that "the smaller models described are still quite large industrial units and identifying appropriate sites might be difficult." Some assembly members said that the "small scale option is a nice idea but with NIMBYISM…."

Weapons connection – some assembly members talked about the "possible use for weapons – big danger" or said it is "seen to exist originally for nuclear bomb[s]."

Safety and risk

A sizeable number of some assembly members said there have been "too many disaster stories, and they are massive disasters." Others said nuclear is "really dangerous " or that it would be "incredibly scary, if something happened." Some noted that the "impact of a nuclear disaster (e.g. Chernobyl, Fukushima) can be terrible." Others used words including "cataclysmic" or "catastrophic." Some assembly members talked about the "risks" being "too large" of "unpredictability/ leak/ accident." Some assembly members said they "don't think they can make it safe", suggesting there's been "a disaster every 10 years." Others felt "climate change and rising water levels" bring new concerns, or said that "building them on the coast is ridiculous – especially in times of rising sea levels." Others said that nuclear was "not worth the costs and risks comparatively." One assembly member said that a "beach is radioactive in my area. The dangers are not appreciated. House prices have fallen." Another commented that "all the materials at the plant are irradiated."

Another sizeable number of assembly members raised a range of concerns about "nuclear decommissioning / waste storage":

For some assembly members there was "obviously no solution to the waste issue or it would have been found already." For others "UK designs for new builds are faulty." One assembly member said they had concerns about the "transport of nuclear fuels."

Some assembly members commented that "the generation process is more scientific and complicated compared to others, so can't completely understand how it works. Makes it harder for us to be confident that its use it OK."

Conditions

Assembly members also noted conditions that they would want to be in place for this technology to be used, or that they felt would help its use. They suggested a need to:

Phase out nuclear

Phase out nuclear "as their life span ends" in favour of renewables

Build a minimum amount

"Build a minimum amount to provide a baseline but focus on variable options in the main." Others said that nuclear "should only be a backup when needed."

Sort out the waste

Some assembly members said we "need to work a lot harder on nuclear waste management to ensure safe and secure storage to manage the public perception for what is an efficient technology."

Import it (possibly)

Some assembly members said that you could "build in other countries, where there's more support/acceptance with [the] public (e.g. France) and import energy BUT [there are then] worries then about security and international relations."

Reuse sites

Some assembly members suggested that "if we can repurpose the sites and reuse them that would be good."

Be self-reliant

Some assembly members said that we will "need to import energy if we cannot make out own, so nuclear may be needed."

Some assembly members added an additional thought:

"How much of a consideration, really, is the cost? We are told that we can't afford things as a country, but coronavirus has shown that we can spend money when we need to. The point is that the politics of these decisions is important and relevant."

As seen in Section A, assembly members expressed limited support for nuclear in their votes.

B.6 Fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage

Fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage means capturing and storing around 90% of the carbon dioxide released by burning fossil fuels like gas and coal. Assembly members discussed this technology in small groups, noting pros and cons.

Pros

Assembly members identified the following areas as points that they liked about fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage.

Environment impacts and land use

Some assembly members liked that you "can capture 90% of CO2 " or said it "seems to tackle head on the challenge of reducing the carbon in the atmosphere through storage." One assembly member commented that "we learned that the chemicals (amines) used to capture the carbon can be recycled and reused."

Practicality, efficiency, readiness and scale

For some assembly members, the potential to use existing markets, technology and infrastructure was a plus. Some noted that it "use[s] fossil fuels therefore [we] can use existing markets" or that "we know the technology [for fossil fuels]." Others said they liked that we can "use existing power stations," that the "facilities [are] already there" or that we "already have the power stations, all we need is to capture the carbon that's coming out of them." Some said we have "evidence that fossil fuels work." Relatedly, some assembly members suggested and that we are "not limited in supply [of fossil fuels]", that we "still have fossil fuels to use " or that this "uses fossil fuels while we still have them." Others were much more muted in their praise, suggesting that there are "no positives – except familiarity."

Some assembly members felt this option could be used short-term or as part of a transition. Some said if we are "still burning fossil fuels [it's] important to consider how can do that while still working out how to improve renewables." Others said there's a "possibility that it could be the least disruptive, as [we] could continue to use fossil fuels, at least in the transition phase." Some suggested that it could "be used…[in the] short-term where there's no other solution", or that this is the "same technology as we use currently so [it] can be adopted as an intermediate solution to give us time to work on other alternatives."

Some assembly members said that fossil fuels are "easily found " or that "we're doing it already and can access it easily (i.e. it's onshore I think)." Some assembly members said it "can be done" or "can be done quickly." Some commented that we "need to balance the grid – if [we] have sporadic wind/solar energy, [we] need something reliable like CCS to balance it with." Others described is as "more reliable (no seasonal/weather effects)."

Some assembly members focussed on the technology for carbon capture and storage, suggesting it is proven and viable:

"CCS has already taken place at industrial scale in America. It is a proven technology. It is not just being trialled."

"Norway has been doing that for 10–15 years. Not as scary as we think it is. Seems like a possible alternative."

"CCS is a valid technology for when making cement or things that we really need to use large amounts of electricity for and for which there is no alternative."

Others commented that "CCS [is] underway and oil wells [for storage are] a viable option…." Also in relation to on carbon capture and storage, some assembly members said that it's a "good idea to put carbon underground", that it's "easy to put away under the sea" or "quite safe once stored (we believe)."

Individual assembly members suggested that it could "generate lot of electricity from single location", or that the CO2 "doesn't take up much space (as it's converted to liquid)." Another said that they liked that it's a "switch on / switch off electricity source." One assembly member commented that I "wondered in the past – when not knowing so much about climate change – why it wasn't possible to get a giant space hoover to suck all the carbon out of the atmosphere, this technology sounds a little bit like that!"

Cost, the economy, and jobs

Some assembly members suggested it "could create jobs if it led to re-opening some coal mines" or that it would be "good for UK regions with coal mines." Some felt it would be "cost effective " or "cheaper ." One assembly member said "if we are well placed for geological storage sites we may be able to sell off storage space to supplement investment in other technologies in the short term."

Public support

Some assembly members suggested we could "carry on [our] lives as normal, able to burn coal/wood" or that there would be "little change to our way of life ." Some assembly members suggested that there "is a reason people are looking at it as it allows us to keep our way of life."

Safety and risk

Some assembly said they are "more favourable towards this than nuclear " or liked it more than nuclear "with regard to potential waste leaks as [it's