Asim Ali, IEMA’s Public Affairs Officer, examines the UK Government's policy announcements from September and how they affect the goals of decarbonisation and environmental sustainability. This blog post is part of a monthly series that also reflects on the activity of relevant select committees and all-party parliamentary groups.

Prime Minister’s office

The Prime Minister has extended the deadline to phase out the sale of petrol and diesel cars to 2035. Furthermore, policy interventions requiring landlords to enhance the energy efficiency of properties have been rolled back.

Sarah Mukherjee MBE, IEMA’s CEO, has responded to these announcements saying that "the transition to a net zero economy by 2050 requires consistent policy if businesses are to have the confidence to invest in emissions reduction measures". More information is provided here.

IEMA has also signed a joint letter with the Royal Society of Chemistry, IOM3 (Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining), Society for the Environment (SocEnv), and others to the Professional Bodies Climate Action Charter published in the Times in response to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s net zero announcement.

Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

Defra has unveiled a national policy statement focused on water resource infrastructure. This aims to simplify the planning approval process for key water projects, paving the way for new water supply infrastructure and potentially offering clear planning guidelines for applicants. The policy statement will serve as a reference for the Secretary of State when reviewing development consent requests for pivotal water resource infrastructure undertakings.

In related updates, efforts to rejuvenate nature within England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) are set to receive a boost. A series of measures, including new provisions under the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, are in the pipeline to expedite this process. Furthermore, the revamped Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) is now open for applications. This initiative is designed to financially support English farmers who adopt practices that concurrently bolster food production, enhance profitability and resilience, and contribute positively to the environment.

On the international front, the UK has been advocating for enhanced measures to preserve global marine biodiversity at the UN General Assembly. The assembly discussed an array of urgent issues ranging from biodiversity conservation, marine safeguarding, and climate change challenges, to combating illegal fishing practices.

The government has set out a revised timeline for the introduction of new Biodiversity Net Gain measures in England, which will now come into force in January 2024. Developers in England undertaking residential, commercial, or industrial projects will be legally bound to achieve a 10 percent Biodiversity Net Gain.

IEMA has also responded to this delay, with Martin Baxter, IEMA's deputy CEO, setting out how the delay risks compromising the government's Environmental Improvement Plan interim targets, and longer-term biodiversity targets set through the Environment Act.

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ)

According to the latest figures, a record number of renewable energy projects have secured funding through the government's renewable energy scheme. However, no new offshore wind project contracts have been bought by developers at a recent government auction. More information is provided here.

Internationally, at the UN Climate Ambitions Summit in New York, the UK Government pledged £160 million to aid developing nations in their climate endeavours. This is a segment of the UK's overarching £11.6 billion International Climate Finance commitment. The allocated £160 million will be used for research, development, and adoption of innovative green technologies in these countries, aiming to slash emissions and bring down costs.

Lastly, the government has released a slew of training opportunities in retrofitting, heat network maintenance, and heat pump installations. This initiative seeks to foster a new generation of professionals specialising in low-carbon heating and insulation, with numerous training spots up for grabs. More information is provided here.

Select committees

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee

The EFRA Committee has launched an inquiry that will focus on the ecological, environmental, and human benefits of green space, and will explore the most effective solutions to making cities greener and nature-rich. More information is provided here.

Environment Audit Committee

In July 2023 the Environmental Audit Committee launched an enquiry into ‘the current and potential future role of natural capital in the green economy, and the Government’s proposals to increase private investment in measures to support nature recovery’.

IEMA has responded to the enquiry, and recognised several benefits that private investments can make; the opportunity to not only mitigate biodiversity impacts but to create net gain; and the potential to help to fund infrastructure around nature markets such as training and creating jobs for measurement and monitoring. More information is provided here.


Environment APPG

The Environment APPG has released a statement urging the Prime Minister to stick with net zero policies to cut bills and support business.

Chair of the APPG, Chris Skidmore MP, has stated that “any delay to our net zero commitments will be at the detriment of the UK’s jobs, investment and economic growth. We risk destabilising business confidence in the UK that would have created thousands of jobs across the country. People will pay the price through higher bills and prices, leaving the UK stranded with the industries of the past rather than the future.”

Photo of Asim 2
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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