Liz Truss has been confirmed as the new leader of the Conservative Party and therefore the UK’s new Prime Minister. In this blog IEMA’s Head of Policy, Ben Goodwin, considers where the new PM should prioritise efforts during her first few weeks in power.

The cost of energy has surged over the summer with Ofgem’s most recent price cap having been set at £3,549. Tackling this will require the new PM to act on three fronts. Firstly, urgent financial support for bill payers. Secondly, a renewed focus on ensuring that the UK has access to secure energy supplies and finally, a fresh approach to improving the energy efficiency of our building stock.

The PM has already said that her plans for dealing with the cost of energy crisis will be set out in the coming days, with much of the attention likely to be directed at helping bill payers through the winter. This is right, but we must also see detail on the second and third points outlined above i.e. a long-term strategy for energy security and efficiency that fully recognises the geopolitics of the day and the current fragility of the UK’s economy.

Beyond the immediacy of the cost of energy crisis it is also incumbent on the new PM to ensure that momentum on wider environmental and sustainability goals isn’t lost.

The 2050 net zero emissions target is a case in point. It might be nearly three decades off, but action continues to be required now if we are to meet it. A strategy for doing so was published in October of last year and although it is not perfect (as demonstrated by the High Court’s summer ruling) it does provide a framework for the PM and her new government to work from. Arguably the worst thing to do now would be to rip this up and start again.

Instead, doing more to understand how the transition to net zero will be funded and working on the phasing of policy interventions to ensure that the strategy can be effectively implemented is where resources should be directed.

The need to maintain momentum and policy continuity is not restricted to the net zero agenda either. There is much policy development spilling out of the Environment Act that also requires attention from the Truss government.

This includes the setting of new targets for improving air quality, biodiversity, water and resource efficiency. All at ambitious levels. Plus the rollout of a suite of environmental principles to enable Ministers across all Whitehall departments to better integrate environmental considerations into decisions, which needs to be done with speed and care.

Collectively, addressing these challenges is a tall order and not something that the new PM and her government can be expected to do by themselves. Help, early on, is required from industry.

IEMA is at the forefront of work in all of these areas and with government personnel changes likely, we will be reaching out to new Ministers and their staff in the coming days and months to offer our insights and support.

Photo of Ben goodwin
Ben Goodwin

Director of Policy and Public Affairs, IEMA, IEMA

Ben is Director of Policy and Public Affairs at IEMA. In this capacity he looks after the delivery of IEMAs core policy, practice and public affairs activities across a range of environmental and sustainability issues. Prior to joining the organisation Ben worked in several similar policy roles at organisations including the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Renewable Energy Association.


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