IEMA members were delighted to welcome The Rt Hon Chris Skidmore MP to the latest installment in a series of roundtable discussions that the Institute has been hosting with senior figures in parliament. The focus this time was to discuss the government’s updated plans for net zero delivery. Ben Goodwin, IEMA’s Head of Policy, reflects on the main talking points.

Against the backdrop of the legal challenge to the government’s original plans for delivering net zero emissions in the UK by 2050, Chris Skidmore was asked to examine how delivery could work most effectively within a business context i.e. how could it support economic growth.

The proposals set out in his review, which was published in January, included the need to:

  • review how incentives work for low-carbon investment
  • amend the planning system to support net zero
  • legislate for the Future Homes Standard
  • develop a cross-sectoral infrastructure strategy by 2025 to support the delivery of new green energy sources.

Since its publication, the government has put forward its updated delivery plans, and attendees at this roundtable had a variety of insights on their suitability. Before these were shared, Chris spent some time reflecting on the extent to which he thought the new plans had adopted the recommendations he had put forward.

In his view, a good portion of the 129 proposals had been adopted, which includes for example a government commitment to outlining a clear approach to gas vs. electricity ‘rebalancing’ by the end of 2023/4 and the establishment of a co-ordinating forum for all regulators working on net zero.

However, Chris also pointed to clear omissions on proposals including that for a net zero delivery body to be created, a methane flaring ban by 2025, and a long-term investment roadmap for onshore wind.

With the Energy Bill currently navigating its way through parliament, there are opportunities for amendments to the draft legislation that could strengthen the legal and regulatory framework for net zero delivery. For example, we have already seen amendments for updating Ofgem’s remit to incorporate the Government’s net zero target tabled, albeit unsuccessfully.

IEMA members at the roundtable had a variety of insights on where the government now is on reaching net zero. There was a general feeling that the new plans don’t go far enough on industrial decarbonisation with limited new investment announced.

There was also concern that the government isn’t taking a strategic approach to tackling scope 3 emissions and that measures for transition planning are inadequate given that they are only really focused on larger organisations.

Other contributions centered on what more government can do to engage business and investors on the net zero transition; helping to unearth where the opportunities are.

To its credit, the government has this week launched a new Net Zero Council with the support of the Broadway Initiative. The aim is to get government and industry collaborating more effectively on net zero delivery by providing a platform for the investment community, energy companies, and wider industry to share knowledge and identify new ways of working with one another.

This most recent roundtable followed our session with the Shadow Climate Change and Net Zero Minister, Kerry McCarthy MP who set out the opposition’s plans on net zero. Read more about that here.

If you would like to find out more about future roundtables, then please get in touch at [email protected].

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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