With the dust beginning to settle following the PM’s cabinet appointments, IEMA’s Public Affairs Officer, Asim Ali, looks at the environmental credentials of the new Secretaries of State for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy & the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

There have been concerns that net zero and other climate change initiatives will fall down the pecking order for the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss. The government have lifted the ban on fracking and have been bullish around their plans on North Sea oil.

Ranil Jayawardena has been named the Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs. Despite concerns over Jayawardena because of his past voting record, his wider parliamentary career does show promise.

Jayawardena has demonstrated his commitment to the environment during his tenure in the "Hazardous Substances Advisory Committee." A law prohibiting the use of microbeads in products was passed in 2018 during his time here. He also established the APPG on endangered species in his first year as an MP and continues to serve as its president today.

Following the adoption of the Environment Act last year, the Secretary of State will need to ensure the efficient delivery of a new environmental governance structure, including the long-term environmental targets framework and the rollout of the environmental principles policy statement across Whitehall. The targets framework was expected to be agreed by October 31st. It covers targets for air and water quality, biodiversity and resource efficiency.

Jacob Rees-Mogg has been named as the Secretary of State for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, replacing the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kwasi Kwarteng.

Some are concerned about Rees- Mogg’s appointment and believe that the UK's commitment to net zero will be compromised. He has this week commissioned a review, to be led by Chris Skidmore, into the delivery of the 2050 net zero emissions target.

The review will focus on maximising economic growth, enhancing energy security and affordability for consumers and businesses. Skidmore, a former energy minister and chair of the net zero support group will deliver his report before the end of 2022.

The review's findings will be eagerly anticipated, but regardless of what conclusions are reached, it is crucial for the health of our natural environment that we continue to concentrate on a rapid transition to a "greener" economy. This will, in any case, provide confidence for businesses, their investors and consumers around the direction of economic travel for this government.

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Asim Ali

Public Affairs Officer

Asim joined IEMA in May 2022 as a Public Affairs Officer. Prior to joining IEMA, Asim worked in a variety of roles for three Members of Parliament and interned for the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. He also holds an MA in Human Rights, Globalisation & Justice


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