IEMA reacts to Queen's speech

10th May 2022

IEMA has urged the UK government to focus on delivering sustainable growth for the country after 38 bills were unveiled in the Queen's speech today.

The proposed laws include an Energy Security Bill, which will extend the energy price cap beyond 2023, allow Ofgem to regulate heat networks, and support the ambitions of the Energy Security Strategy.

It will also enable the first ever large-scale hydrogen heating trial, introduce new “state-of-the-art” business models for carbon capture, and establish a Future System Operator to provide strategic oversight across electricity and gas systems.

Controversially, a Public Order Bill has been introduced to make it illegal for environmental protestors to intentionally attach themselves to others, objects, or buildings, or to obstruct major transport works, such as HS2.

Furthermore, a Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill will force the government to set 'levelling up missions' and report on these annually, introduce a new approach to environmental assessment in the planning system, and allow local leaders to join up services through a County Deal.

Commenting on today's proposals, IEMA CEO Sarah Mukherjee MBE, said: “The Queen's speech included a number of parliamentary bills that will have a huge impact on the natural environment over the long term.

“The levelling up bill, which will include the government’s long-proposed planning reforms, is particularly relevant and needs to set ambitions for growth in the context of a sustainable future.

“For example, IEMA has consistently championed the critical role of high-quality impact assessment, including its role in the planning system, and it is imperative that this legislation does not result in the simplification and speeding up of consents at the cost of our biodiversity and natural capital.”

The Queen's speech, which was delivered by the Prince of Wales, also includes measures to help with the cost-of-living crisis, although these are not legislative.

However, a UK Infrastructure Bank Bill will establish the creation of the UK Infrastructure Bank in law with clear objectives to support regional and local economic growth and deliver net zero.

“The government says it is committed to delivering economic growth,” Mukherjee continued.

“IEMA believes that any growth must be delivered in an environmentally sensitive manner, through green jobs and up-skilling the entire workforce, working, like our 18,000+ members are right now, in sustainable and environmentally conscientious roles.”

Image credit: State Opening December 2019, Copyright House of Lords 2019 / Photography by Roger Harris is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

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