The UK to go further and faster to tackle climate change

Andrea Leadsom, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) yesterday established measures for the UK “to go further and faster to tackle climate change”, in response to a critical progress report released earlier this year by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

In a day of many announcements regarding the environment, the government has suggested the following main headlines:

  • A new Environment Bill
  • A new package of energy efficiency measures for businesses which could save them £1bn a year in energy bills by 2030
  • Plans to accelerate decarbonisation across the transport sector
  • Stronger governance to drive further climate action across all of Government.

BEIS are fully aware that the UK will be hosting the UN Climate talks next autumn in Glasgow, which is why it is important for the UK to continue to lead the world in tackling climate change. The government admitted yesterday that the Clean Growth Strategy will remain central to the pathway to deliver the goals, but admitted that more urgent action was needed which would require the strategy to be updated.

Ms Leadsom also stressed that the government fully intend to deliver net zero emissions by 2050, and acknowledged that lots of work had already been done, but that much more was needed.

In direct response to the criticism in the CCC report the Government have stated the following:

  • A consultation on improving the energy performance of commercial buildings to band B by 2030.
  • A consultation on introducing mandatory ‘in-use’ energy performance ratings for business buildings
  • A consultation on proposals to make it simpler to obtain planning permission for large scale energy storage facilities
  • A backing of proposals to unlock the potential of energy data sharing to support decarbonisation and reduce consumer energy bills

A statement that provides some further clarity on how the UK will make progress towards the 2050 net zero target is expected in the National Infrastructure Strategy this autumn with  a new energy white paper following this in the first quarter of next year.

Stuart Fairlie, Technical and Operations Director at Elmhurst, welcomed the report:

“We welcome this report and the fact that it recognises the importance of the Clean Growth Strategy.  It is also good to see the report highlighting/addressing the constructive criticism of the CCC as well as the actions taken by goverment since 2017. The report features plenty of policy intent and direction, which we welcome. However, we believe more is needed to begin to deliver the energy efficiency drive in buildings that this country really needs. The goverment is already delivering in some areas with new building regulations expected next year, the tightening of MEES for all rented buildings (homes and businesses) and a progressive National Infrastructure. However, 'The Elephant in the room' remains the lack of planning and policy for owner occupied homes where the vast majority of people in the UK would benefit most from the low energy and carbon transition. Overall, It looks like more consultations and intent, but what we need now is a clear plan.”

Full copy of the report and other documents are available here:

Article published 16th October 2019

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