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

IEMA recently convened a roundtable session with Wera Hobhouse MP, the Liberal Democrat spokesperson for climate change. This gathering aimed to delve into the Liberal Democrats' approach to climate and energy policy, providing valuable insights as we head into what is likely to be a general election year. Ben Goodwin, IEMA’s Director of Policy and Public Affairs, reflects on the roundtable here.

Additionally, IEMA collaborated with Green Alliance and Business in the Community to organise a session at Portcullis House to discuss the approach of the Labour Party. Participants from Labour included Kerry McCarthy MP, the Shadow Minister for Climate Change, and Alan Whitehead MP, the Shadow Minister for Energy Security.

Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Leadership Transition

Therese Coffey MP has stepped down as the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, making way for Steve Barclay MP, who previously held the position of Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

Inaugural Speech and Farming Innovation

Steve Barclay, in his inaugural speech, committed to championing British agriculture, focusing on innovation and automation to boost productivity. A significant £45 million has been allocated for farming innovation.

Tree Planting and Funding

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has announced enhanced funding for land managers and farmers to bolster tree-planting efforts across the country. The program aims to increase tree planting rates and support farmers and landowners in growing more trees.

Environmental Principles Duty

A new environmental principles duty has been implemented to integrate environmental considerations into policy-making processes. This initiative aligns with the goals outlined in the Environmental Improvement Plan.

Affordable Housing in Rural Areas

The government has introduced a £2.5 million grant scheme to promote affordable housing in rural areas. Independent advisors will collaborate with communities to develop housing schemes, identify suitable development opportunities, and navigate the planning system.

Investment in Slurry Infrastructure

A £74 million fund is now available to assist farmers in enhancing slurry infrastructure, addressing water pollution, improving air quality, and optimising organic nutrient use. Applications are open for the second round of the Slurry Infrastructure Grant.

Boosting Access to Nature

Ahead of COP 28, the government pledged to increase access to nature, allocating additional funding for forest research. Two new Community Forests in Derbyshire and the Tees Valley have been unveiled, with communities encouraged to propose their areas as potential national forests, with up to £10 million in funding for the winning location.

Recycling Policies and Food Waste Reporting

The government has concluded a consultation on 'Consistency in household and business recycling in England' and launched additional consultations on simpler recycling policies. There is also an updated outcome on improved food waste reporting by large food businesses in England.

Digital and Data Transformation Strategy

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has released a policy paper outlining its digital and data transformation strategy, illustrating how technology and changes in working methods will enable the delivery of the group's outcomes in the future.

Nature Support Actions

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has announced a series of actions to support nature, including plans to recover England's temperate rainforests, responses to the 2019 Landscapes review, and the Woodland Access Implementation Plan to encourage more people to enjoy woodlands.

Department of Energy Security and Net Zero

Investment in Skills Training

With a focus on nurturing talent in key industries, the government has allocated £200 million to provide enhanced skills training. Aspiring professionals in burgeoning sectors like green energy, digital, and construction will benefit from this investment, fostering expertise and career development.

Green Industry Funding and Power Network Reform

An injection of £960 million into green industries accompanies plans to reform the power network, aimed at bolstering energy security. Consumers residing closer to the power grids stand to benefit from an annual reduction of £1000 in their energy bills.

Net Zero Initiatives and COP 28 Commitments

UK councils, backed by a £19 million government investment, have been trialing net zero projects. These initiatives include home retrofitting and solar panel installations. Additionally, the UK has pledged an £85 million package at COP 28 to protect global rainforests, promote clean energy technologies, and assist developing countries in reducing carbon emissions.

Net Zero Research and Innovation Framework Delivery Plan

The government has released a policy paper outlining the Net Zero Research and Innovation Framework Delivery Plan for the period 2022 to 2025. This strategic document details the ongoing programs designed to achieve the UK's net-zero target.

CfD Sustainable Industry Reward Consultation

The Department of Energy Security and Net Zero is seeking input on the CfD Sustainable Industry Reward, a mechanism aimed at expediting the deployment of low-carbon electricity generation, particularly through offshore and floating offshore wind. Stakeholders are invited to share their perspectives on this initiative, with the consultation period closing January 2024.

Joint Government and Ofgem Action Plan

A policy paper has been released detailing a joint action plan between the government and Ofgem to accelerate connections to the electricity network. This plan outlines expectations for the scale and pace of connection reforms, providing clear directives and support for key initiatives.

National Policy Statement for Energy

The government has introduced a national policy statement for energy, which serves as planning guidance for developers of nationally significant energy infrastructure projects.

Response to Electricity Network Commissioner's Report

The government has issued a policy paper in response to the Electricity Network Commissioner's report on accelerating electricity transmission network build. Additionally, the government has concluded its consultation on community benefits for electricity transmission network infrastructure.

Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) Update

An updated policy paper on the Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) has been released, offering details on the continuation of the Energy Price Guarantee discount from 2024. The paper outlines the details of who will receive the discount.

Select Committees

Environmental Audit Committee

The Environmental Audit Committee has released a report, shedding light on the financial sector's role in transitioning to Net Zero.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee has released a comprehensive report on food security, outlining key recommendations for the Government. This report tackles the pressing challenges confronting UK food supply and household food security.

All-Party Parliamentary Groups

Environment APPG

The Environment APPG has presented a report titled 'Keeping 1.5 Alive – Global Goals for Climate Leadership at COP 28.' Outlining nine ambitious goals, the report emphasises urgent actions needed to address climate challenges:

  1. Get the loss and damage fund up and running as soon as possible
  2. Reach consensus on phasing out fossil fuels
  3. Triple renewable energy by 2030
  4. Double investment in energy efficiency by 2030
  5. Reduce resource use to address the climate crisis
  6. Transform land use to end deforestation and boost food security
  7. Withdraw from the Energy Charter Treaty
  8. Set the gold standard for international marine protection
  9. Follow through on the Global Methane Pledge to ensure the 2030 targets are met

IEMA will be attending the Environment APPG's Christmas Reception and Awards Evening taking place on Wednesday, 13th December.

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


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.