Asim Ali, IEMA’s Public Affairs Officer, examines the UK Government's policy announcements from October 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.

IEMA at Party Conferences

IEMA representatives attended both the Conservative Party Conference and the Labour Party Conference in October where we were able to put across the asks from our key recommendations for UK policy makers.

Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Participants in the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) have recently received their inaugural payments, totaling 25 percent of their annual agreement values. These payments aim to enhance cash flow and support the integration of SFI into farmers' business operations.

In alignment with the resources and waste strategy for England, the department has published a policy paper detailing the digital waste tracking service's vision, mission and key strategies. The government is also holding an inquiry on additional policies to facilitate more straightforward recycling services. The consultation ends on 20 November, with further details available here.

Furthermore, the government has issued a response to the Climate Change Committee's 2023 adaptation progress report. This response offers feedback on each of the CCC's 94 recommendations, emphasising priority recommendations and highlighting advancements made over the past two years in adapting to climate-related risks.

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero

Some social housing are due to receive enhanced energy efficiency upgrades within their homes, because of an additional £80 million injection into the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund.

This investment will benefit an additional 9,500 social housing tenants who will receive grants to enhance the warmth and energy efficiency of their residences.

The augmented funding allocated to the government's Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund is poised to result in an average annual bill reduction of £240 for households, while concurrently supporting over 2,000 job opportunities.

In a bid to tighten emission limits and bolster the transition away from fossil fuels, the government has released the 2024 carbon allowance auction calendar. This calendar is expected to encourage industries operating under the UK Emissions Trading Scheme, particularly in sectors such as power, aviation, and energy-intensive industries, to streamline their efforts towards emissions reduction.

The government has also earmarked £230 million for public sector organisations to facilitate low-carbon energy improvements to key infrastructure. This funding will offer support to institutions such as schools, hospitals, and public buildings in their quest to reduce energy consumption, curtail carbon emissions, and lower overall utility expenses.

As part of the 'It All Adds Up' campaign, a new initiative has been launched to provide families with energy-saving tips and offer £150 in Warm Home Discount support to the most vulnerable. This campaign seeks to provide individuals with practical suggestions to save money on energy bills and aims to extend financial relief to over three million households during the winter season.

The government has released a comprehensive policy paper outlining its fusion strategy, which aims to position the UK as a global leader in the commercialisation of fusion energy. Additional details can be found here.

Lastly, the government is holding a consultation on the costs, benefits, and feasibility of Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions reporting within the UK. This consultation will remain open until 14 December, offering stakeholders an opportunity to shape the future of emissions reporting in the country.

Select Committees

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

On 24 October, the Efra committee questioned the Secretary of State, Dr. Thérèse Coffey MP, and the Department's Permanent Secretary, Tamara Finkelstein. This session involved a thorough examination of the most critical subjects within DEFRA's jurisdiction.

Topics under scrutiny included food security and inflation, preparedness for floods and coastal erosion, biodiversity, border control, biosecurity, and the UK’s trade agreements.

Built Environment Committee

The Built Environment Committee has launched an inquiry into the future of modern methods of construction (MMC). In order to augment housing provision and help deliver the government’s housebuilding aspirations, it has been emphasised that a diverse housing market, fostering innovation like MMC, is necessary.

This inquiry seeks to understand the barriers to the increased delivery of MMC homes and to what extent the government’s approach to supporting MMC development is effectively overcoming and resolving these barriers.

Environmental Audit Committee

The Environmental Audit Committee has launched an inquiry to assess the factors hindering small modular reactor (SMR) deployment in the UK and the ways in which SMRs can be utilised to meet net zero targets and the 24GW nuclear power target by 2050.

The inquiry will examine why there has been slow progress in the deployment of SMRs in the UK, how best to deploy SMRs using existing best practise and experience, and the potential public benefits of adopting SMRs as part of the UK’s energy mix.

All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG’s)

Environment APPG

IEMA is scheduled to participate in the Environment APPG COP 28 reception set for 15 November.

Speakers at this event will include Chris Skidmore MP and Claire Coutinho MP, Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero.

Additionally, the Environment APPG, in collaboration with RSPB and Zurich Insurance Group, is set to host an event on 22 November focused on elevating the UK's role as a significant player in climate adaptation on the global stage.

Sustainable Resource APPG

The secretariat of the Sustainable Resource APPG, Policy Connect, is organising a parliamentary event to mark the release of their latest report on behalf of the APPG.

The report, titled ‘Unpacking the Circular Economy: Unlocking reuse at scale’ outlines five significant policy proposals aimed at enabling the UK to harness the full potential of reusable packaging products and systems to achieve the nation's circular economy goals.

Policy Connect in collaboration with Carbon Connect will be hosting a roundtable focussing on protecting vulnerable households from high energy bills this Winter. The roundtable will be chaired by Alan Brown MP.

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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