Public Affairs
environment news: 4th December

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Greenhouse Public Affairs provides a weekly public affairs environment news round-up across sectors including agriculture, finance and the environment. Sign up to our public affairs weekly round-up here.

Climate & COP26

Clare O’Neill, former COP26 President, appeared before the BEIS Select Committee to give evidence on how a successful COP26 could be accelerated. O’Neill said that with less than a year until COP26 last year, the government COP unit had still not been finalised, nor had the action plan or communication strategy. She noted however that COVID-19 has provided “breathing space” for diplomacy, and recent movements with China and the election of Biden would most likely benefit these preparations. You can watch the full evidence session here.

The Environmental Audit Committee has scrutinised climate ambitions outlined in Spending Review and National Infrastructure Strategy last week. Within the evidence session, members considered the government’s recent announcements within the Spending Review and National Infrastructure Strategy, and also whether they are compatible with the UK’s green ambitions as we emerge from COVID-19. The Committee will publish its report on greening the COVID-19 recovery ahead of the 2021 Spring Budget. You can watch the full evidence session here.

Energy

A new IPPR report has urged UK and Scottish governments to keep North Sea oil & gas in the ground in order to reach net-zero. As the oil and gas industry reels from the impact of Covid-19 on oil prices, the think tank calls for the UK to move less fossil fuel-dependent economy. Such a move is essential if the UK is to lead by the ‘power of our example’ as host of the COP26 climate summit next year, and also leverage greater action on fossil fuels by other countries around the world. Read the full report here.

The BEIS Department has published a notice on the offshore wind manufacturing investment support scheme. The scheme aims to accelerate the development of large scale manufacturing portside hubs, which could also see financial support to strengthen the UK’s offshore wind manufacturing capability. Coastal landowners and developers of potential large scale manufacturing portside hubs have been invited to submit formal applications to the scheme. Read more details here.

Transport

The Zero Emission Vehicle Transition Council has published a joint statement after their first meeting to accelerate the pace of the global transition to zero emission vehicles. Hosted by COP26 President Alok Sharma, the Council agreed to address some of the key challenges in the transition to ZEVs, enabling the transition to be faster, cheaper, and also easier for all. Amongst other goals, it sought to ‘align the future of the road transport sector with Paris Agreement goals, focusing on the role of zero emission technologies’. Read the Council’s full statement here.

The Competition and Markets Authority is launching a market study into electric vehicle charging, to make sure that the sector works well for UK drivers. The CMA’s work will centre on developing a competitive sector whilst also attracting private investment, and ensuring consumers have confidence that they can get the best out of the service. Traditional cars are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, and the government has brought forward the ban of new petrol and diesel vehicles to 2030. Read the full announcement here.

Agriculture

The government has laid out its path to sustainable farming from 2021. The plans seek to help farmers sustainably produce healthy food profitably without subsidy, whilst also taking steps to improve the environment, improve animal health and welfare and reduce carbon emissions. A major change will be the introduction of the Environmental Land Management scheme, to create habitats for nature recovery and establish new woodland to help tackle climate change. Read more about the plans here.

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