A fresh net-zero plan will be published within weeks, according to Grant Shapps MP, secretary of state for the new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero in an appearance before MPs at the Environmental Audit Committee.

Photo by Dominika Gregušová

The Prime Minister Rishi Sunak led a major reorganization of how government splits out responsibilities for delivery of energy and climate-related policies over the winter. This resulted in four new government departments; the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, the Department for Business and Trade, and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The UK Government had published a plan which was challenged by lawyers, with the High Court in June 2022 requiring government to produce a revised plan by the end of March 2023. The energy secretary confirmed that the new plan, which will lay out how government plans to achieve net zero by its own legally binding target of 2050, will be delivered earlier than the deadline.

In response to a question from the SNP’s John McNally MP, Shapps also confirmed that the government’s official response to the Skidmore independent review into net zero will be published at the same time.

Grant Shapps MP, secretary of state for the new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, said: “I like to think of net zero as just being the flip side of the same coin which is energy security.”

He also said that net zero should be “baked in” to everything government does.

Barry Gardiner, a Labour MP, asked whether Shapps thought the costs associated with storage of nuclear waste were outweighed by the benefits brought by nuclear energy, which the government hopes to expand with Sizewell C, Hinkley Point C, and Small Modular Reactors. Shapps said he believes the costs are worth it and highlighted the flexibility of French reactors compared to UK ones.

Claudia Webbe, an independent MP, shifted focus to questions about green hydrogen, and Shapps said he would be able to reveal more information in the coming weeks.


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