UK Government to action industry wide behavioural change to meet net zero target


With the market now having had time to digest the Chancellor’s 2021 budget at the beginning of March, many people have argued that Mr. Sunak somewhat skirted around the ever present, existential threat of global warming and has neglected the seriousness of the topic compared to his position on it this time last year. 

With a seemingly purported narrative that the government has overlooked their climate commitments in favour of a speedy post pandemic economic recovery. From this, I thought it would be useful to offer some perspective on the government’s current commitments to net zero, by looking at the chancellor’s budget speech and the legislation that will dictate the direction for the UK for years to come.


What to expect

The NIB (UK National Infrastructure Bank) was announced with the purpose of providing visible access to government backed investment in green infrastructure and technology. Its aim is to promote private investment in methods to achieve the UK Government’s Net Zero by 2050 commitment. It is beginning life as a £22 billion fund, to act as a cornerstone investor, mitigating risk and incentivising private capitalists to invest in green projects and innovative technologies that will help turn the tide on climate change.

The bank will encourage private public partnerships, (PPPs) to bring about improvement of public infrastructure including clean energy, transport, water and waste. With more financial backing and support from the government, we should be able to break ground on more blue-green infrastructure projects and also encourage the birth of ambitious technology start-ups. This would give us the best fighting chance possible to develop the technologies we need to hit our net zero target.


What needs to be done?

We all know that to achieve our net zero ambition, we have to deploy as much of the renewable technology we currently have at our disposal as possible. It’s imperative to drive down the green premium on green electricity bills, so more consumers choose renewably sourced tariffs to supply our grid to power our homes, transport and businesses.

We also need to develop new tools to help us mitigate the impact of more challenging areas of our economy where there is no quick fix to achieve that utopian zero. The NIB’s presence and accessibility for new tech and green infrastructure will unlock more capital for beneficial projects as well as  accelerate our transition moving  us faster down the green path we are all quickly migrating to.

Another critical element to consider is biodiversity. As an environmental recruiter working and interacting daily with people mediating the relationship between the built and natural environment, I am in a fortunate position to hear first-hand about the trajectory of consultancy practice and new or emerging services that support the construction and infrastructure that shapes the future of how we live. 

It has become abundantly apparent in recent months that there has been a strong reaction to the incumbent Environment Bill currently being debated in parliament and that biodiversity net gain (BNG) is an emerging area that will become absolutely critical to future development projects.

The ambitious growth plans of leading environmental consultancies, development firms and government organisations in the UK are fast moving and ambitious. Engineering, environmental and urban design consultancies at all scales are scrambling for qualified candidates who have proven and demonstrable BNG strategy experience to add an extra layer of benefit to their consultancy service.

It is worth considering how you could integrate this into your current skillset, as having experience in this field will really add value to your CV and will make you an asset to your employer and a very attractive prospect to the market. 

While there is no escaping the fact the Environment Bill has faced challenges since its first introduction in 2019, it certainly is an important step to this government’s recognition of the importance of promoting natural capital alongside the transition to a zero carbon future. Without digressing into the details of the Bill too much, its introduction will invoke a mandatory responsibility for developers to deliver at least a 10 per cent net gain improvement to biodiversity on all built environment projects in the future. Hence the emergence of new specialist BNG focussed job roles have really taken off in recent months and only continue to grow. 

The NIB makes it clear that it also has ambition to broaden its focus in the future to encompass natural capital improvement and support BNG initiatives. It will undoubtedly provide funding to facilitate more habitat creation to support our terrestrial and marine ecosystems going forward. 

The UK government does have a good track record of implementing policy to incentivise private investment. It is my hope that the NIB and Environment Bill will have a similarly successful impact on bringing about change. Only time will tell how conducive these measures will be to achieving our goals, but I do believe that this is good news for our environment and net zero commitments.


Get in contact

As I mentioned, the ecology and environmental consultancy job market is particularly buoyant at the moment, with a high volume of vacancies as firms continue to expand their offering. If you are interested in new opportunities or would like to have a discussion about the market, please feel free to reach out and I would be happy to share my insight. Connect with me on LinkedIn or email me at

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London Wildlife Trust.

We are proud partners of The London Wildlife Trust, a charity dedicated to protecting the wildlife and wild spaces of London by driving environmental projects throughout the city. Our team often get involved at ground level in Wild Workdays by helping to maintain and restore treasured spaces and land… we love to get our hands dirty! We also run multiple interactive workshops, providing their conservation trainees with invaluable career advice and insights into the environmental sector to prepare them for employment. Most recently, we worked with young people taking part in their Keeping it Wild programme, which engages young people from backgrounds currently under-represented in nature conservation.

Royal Town Planning Institute.

The RTPI represents planning professionals in the UK and Ireland and aims to encourage the development of vibrant and prosperous places and communities. Our Senior Consultant Freddie enthusiastically attends the annual Planning Convention, and we host several events throughout the year to show our support, including drinks networking and a literal pub quiz. We also keep in close contact with our friends down under, at the Planning Institute Australia and New Zealand Planning Institute. In addition, we sponsor the London Planning Summit, an event designed to address the biggest challenges facing the industry. This is our opportunity to stay on top of the latest changes in town planning by meeting with other key professionals in the sector, while celebrating our achievements.

Land Securities Group Plc.

One of our clients, LandSec, are the clever people behind Girls Can Do It Too, an initiative designed to encourage girls to consider a career in construction. Currently, only 11% of the construction workforce are female, and LandSec are attempting to increase this number by providing education and engagement projects and workshops for girls aged 11-13. Featuring workshops on demolition and tower building, as well as challenging the girls to design a planning project of their own (with a focus on budgeting and environmental considerations), LandSec have proven their dedication to addressing the need for diversity in this very male dominated industry. Ruth assists the project by sharing her fascinating insights into the industry and is even on the project judging panel!

Urban Land Institute.

In partnership with Urban Land Institute we are able to play an imperative role in creating a larger and more diverse pool of candidates within the planning & property professions. Working in schools we take part in the Urban Plan Educational workshops programme, which has now reached more than 2,500 pupils in 100 schools since its launch. Alongside more than 200 industry volunteers engaged across the country, we provide invaluable industry & careers advice to students while guiding them through their workshops and helping judge their presentations.

Carbon Footprint.

Carbon FootprintTM works to help organisations offset their CO2 through tree planting and community projects worldwide. By partnering with Carbon FootprintTM, we have planted native trees and shrubs such as Whitebeam, Hazel, Field Maple, Silver Birch, Rowan, Beech, Blackthorn, Holly and Dog Rose to create a Mattinson Forest that spreads across South East England. Carbon FootprintTM work in conjunction with the Florestal Santa Maria Project (FSM-Redd Project), designed to reduce deforestation in the Amazonian Rainforest. So, for every tree we plant in the UK we guarantee a tonne of CO₂ offset in Brazil too. Carbon FootprintTM have allowed us to not only do our bit for the environment but also commemorate moments of growth for our clients and candidates.