Brexit, climate change and electric cars feature in Queen’s speech

22nd June 2017

Transform web

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Business & Industry ,
  • Agriculture ,
  • Energy ,
  • Mitigation


Ijaz Ashraf

Legislation to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act and give Parliament the power to make changes to EU-derived laws has been tabled by the government.

The Queen’s speech, which outlines the legislative agenda for the next Parliament, contained a pledge to continue to support international action against climate change, including the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

The speech also introduced the following bills related to energy and the environment:

  • Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill. This will introduce a requirement to install charge points for electric vehicles at motorway service areas and large fuel retailers, and require common technical and operational standards.
  • High Speed 2 Phase 2A Bill. This will accelerate the building of a connection to Crewe on the high speed rail line; provide powers to compulsorily purchase the land needed to construct and operate the railway and deemed planning permission for the scheme.
  • Smart Meter Bill. This ensures smart meters will be offered to every household and business by the end of 2020.
  • Fisheries Bill. This enables the UK to control access to its waters and set UK fishing quotas once it has left the EU.
  • Agriculture Bill. This will implement a system to support UK farmers and protect the natural environment once the UK has left the EU.
  • Nuclear Safeguards Bill. This establishes a regime to ensure the UK continues to meet its international obligations for nuclear safeguards and protect UK electricity supplied by nuclear power once the UK leaves Euratom as part of leaving the EU.

The government has dropped several policies from the Conservative manifesto, including means-testing winter fuel payments and the energy price cap. There was no mention of legislation to ban microbeads, a consultation on which closed in February.

Reactions to the speech were mixed. James Thornton, chief executive of legal campaign group ClientEarth, welcomed the announcement on electric cars, saying that greater use of the technology will help solve challenges with both air pollution and energy.

‘Investors and consumers have been waiting for a clear policy signal guaranteeing new infrastructure for electric transport and this may be it. More electric vehicles on the roads opens the door for innovative use of the grid and it will also give confidence to the emerging storage market.

‘The devil will be in the detail - but this is a positive step. These could be exciting times if ministers see this through,’ he said.

Nick Molho, executive director of the Aldersgate Group, said: ‘The government is right to seek the “broadest consensus possible” in determining the UK’s negotiating terms on Brexit. In order to deliver the UK’s climate and energy policy ambitions in the most efficient and cost-effective way, the UK must maintain close collaboration with the EU after Brexit in key areas of mutual benefit, such as through continued participation in the internal energy market.’

Greenpeace UK chief scientist Doug Parr said that it was positive that climate change featured in the speech but added that the government must not stop its work on air pollution and plastic waste because of Brexit.

But Green party co-leader Caroline Lucas said that legislation outlined in the speech was ‘stunningly unambitious’, and the lack of meaningful plans to tackle climate change was ‘a near-criminal act of political vandalism’.

She has tabled an amendment to the Queen’s speech to call for an Environmental Protection Act to strengthen environmental protection in the process of leaving the EU. This was one of the recommendations of the parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee following its inquiry into the impact of Brexit on the environment.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

Majority of environmental professionals fear green skills gap

Almost three-fifths of UK environmental professionals feel there is a green skills gap across the country’s workforce, or that there will be, a new survey has uncovered.

4th July 2024

Read more

Climate hazards such as flooding, droughts and extreme heat are threatening eight in 10 of the world’s cities, new research from CDP has uncovered.

3rd July 2024

Read more

Ahead of the UK general election next month, IEMA has analysed the Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, and Green Party manifestos in relation to the sustainability agenda.

19th June 2024

Read more

Nine in 10 UK adults do not fully trust brands to accurately portray their climate commitments or follow the science all the time, a new survey has uncovered.

19th June 2024

Read more

Just one in 20 workers aged 27 and under have the skills needed to help drive the net-zero transition, compared with one in eight of the workforce as a whole, new LinkedIn data suggests.

18th June 2024

Read more

With a Taskforce on Inequality and Social-related Financial Disclosures in the pipeline, Beth Knight talks to Chris Seekings about increased recognition of social sustainability

6th June 2024

Read more

Disinformation about the impossibility of averting the climate crisis is part of an alarming turn in denialist tactics, writes David Burrows

6th June 2024

Read more

David Symons, FIEMA, director of sustainability at WSP, and IEMA’s Lesley Wilson, tell Chris Seekings why a growing number of organisations are turning to nature-based solutions to meet their climate goals

6th June 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close