The number of green jobs in the UK has fallen by as many as 30,000 since 2014, according to new research from the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
Using new figures from the Office for National Statistics, the TUC found that there were 202,100 green jobs in the UK in 2019, a significant drop from 235,900 in 2014.
The worst hit green sectors included energy efficient product manufacturing, where jobs fell by 37,900 or 32%. Carbon capture and storage saw jobs fall by 66%, while other renewable electricity jobs fell by two thirds as well.
Even booming sectors like offshore wind, which saw its capacity more than double in the five years to 2019, saw direct jobs growing at a slower than expected rate. The number of offshore wind jobs grew by 14%, up to 7,200 in 2019 from 6,300 in 2014.
The TUC commissioned research from Transition Economics, which identified 1,240,000 green jobs that could be created over the next two years in its report Rebuilding after recession: a plan for jobs, released in 2020.
If the government fast-tracks investment into green infrastructure, 290,000 jobs could be created through retrofitting buildings, 24,000 jobs in electric vehicle charging infrastructure installation and 35,000 jobs upgrading ports and factories for renewable energy, the report states.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said that climate action can “bring major benefits to us all”, in particular helping green industries recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“But progress is far too slow. Lots of towns and communities were promised the chance to level up with new jobs in green industries. But Boris Johnson’s government is not delivering.”
There was almost no new green investment in this year’s Budget and green homes funding has been cut, said the TUC. This caution comes just after the government announced it is shuttering its beleaguered Green Homes Grant, a move that Solar Energy UK said would “inevitably lead to job losses".
“We all know now this is the future we need,” added O’Grady. “The government must come forward with ambitious plans to show strong leadership when the UK chairs the COP26 global conference on climate change this year.”