National Engineering Policy Centre to provide advice to government on reaching net zero emissions

National Engineering Policy Centre to provide advice to government on reaching net zero emissions

6th May 2020

A group of industry experts mobilised through the UK National Engineering Policy Centre, including a representative from the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), has convened to provide advice to the UK government to help address the long-term global threat posed by climate change. To support the UK government in reaching its goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the group will include recommendations for a recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that puts the UK on track for achieving net zero.

Engineering has a vital role to play in creating systems and solutions to address the climate crisis. The UK government faces urgent and difficult decision-making across engineering-driven economic sectors such as energy, construction, manufacturing and transport. Engineers from every discipline are the people who will design, build, retrofit, operate and make safe the infrastructure and technologies that will enable a decarbonised UK to become a reality.

The UK engineering community benefits from world-leading expertise in planning and designing these services and can apply systems thinking, creativity and problem-solving to provide advice on how to decarbonise them.

The National Engineering Policy Centre, led by the Royal Academy of Engineering, assembled the working group which includes experts from organisations including IChemE, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the Institution of Engineering and Technology, the Energy Institute, the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining and the British Academy. The group forms a forum for debate and will draw heavily on insights and perspectives from an even wider range of expertise from engineering and other disciplines, such as social and system sciences, as needed.

The Centre has produced a net zero paper of topic areas they will cover, which include:

  • Rebuilding after COVID-19: recommendations for a recovery that puts us on track for net zero;
  • Net zero explained: how the UK’s climate target fits into the global sustainability challenge;
  • Priority actions and upcoming decision points: understanding which policies are ‘low regrets’ solutions; and
  • Decarbonising construction: tackling the operation and supply chain of one of the most challenging sectors.

IChemE’s representative on the working group, Mark Apsey, Chair of the IChemE Energy Centre, said:

“Chemical engineers work across industries where there is a great responsibility to tackle many of the world’s grand challenges, including the need to protect the earth from the threats of climate change. Working alongside other professional engineering institutions in the National Engineering Policy Centre, I believe we all have a critical role to play in developing sustainable systems and processes which enable us to thrive and achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.”

Sir Jim McDonald, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering said:

“Engineers have a responsibility to actively support the reduction of greenhouse gases to protect our planet from adverse climate change. The National Engineering Policy Centre is uniquely placed to galvanise and lead the engineering community to focus on activities that can deliver practical, deployable solutions in response to the scientific evidence.

“As engineers we can capitalise on our experience and use of systems approaches in bringing together different elements – from technological to financial, from regulatory to ethical – to create practical solutions and help the government to make tough and lasting decisions that will reduce harmful emissions whilst creating jobs and benefitting people’s lives.”

More information

The working group members are:

  • Dervilla Mitchell, Chair
  • Professor Nilay Shah, Vice-Chair
  • Mark Apsey, Chair, Institution of Chemical Engineers Energy Centre
  • Dr Jenifer Baxter, Chief Engineer, Institution of Mechanical Engineers
  • Professor Harriet Bulkeley, Durham University
  • Dr Mike Cook, Partner, BuroHappold; Institution of Structural Engineers Sustainability Lead
  • Ian Gardner, Global Energy Leader, Arup
  • Dr Simon Harrison, Vice-President, Institution of Engineering and Technology
  • Steve Holliday, President, Energy Institute
  • Professor Roger Kemp, Lancaster University
  • Professor Rebecca Lunn, University of Strathclyde
  • Professor Susan Owens, University of Cambridge
  • Dr Sophie Parsons, University of Bath; Strategic Advisor, Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining
  • Nick Winser, Chair, Energy Systems Catapult

The National Engineering Policy Centre connects policy makers with critical engineering expertise to inform and respond to policy issues of national importance, giving policymakers a route to advice from across the whole profession, and the profession a unified voice on shared challenges. 

The centre is an ambitious partnership, led by the Royal Academy of Engineering, between 39 different UK engineering organisations representing 450,000 engineers. 


National Engineering Policy Centre

National Engineering Policy Centre Net Zero Paper


For more information please contact:

Lucy Cook, Communications Manager, IChemE
 t: +44 (0) 1788 534454

Rachael Fraser, Communications Executive, IChemE
 t: +44 (0) 1788 534435

Ketna Mistry, Communications Executive, IChemE
 t: +44 (0) 1788 534484

What is chemical engineering?

Chemical, biochemical and process engineering is the application of science, mathematics and economics in the process of turning raw materials into everyday, and more specialist, products. Professional chemical engineers design, construct and manage process operations all over the world. Oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, food and drink, synthetic fibres and clean drinking water are just some of the products where chemical engineering plays a central role.


The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) advances chemical engineering's contribution worldwide for the benefit of society. We support the development of chemical engineering professionals and provide connections to a powerful network of around 35,000 members in 100 countries.

We support our members in applying their expertise and experience to make an influential contribution to solving major global challenges, and are the only organisation to award Chartered Chemical Engineer status and Professional Process Safety Engineer registration.

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