Energy and Net zero 

Labour’s manifesto for the 2024 general election included a commitment to introduce a “Energy Independence Act”, legislation which would establish a framework enabling the UK to become “a clean energy superpower”. 

The six “first steps for change” in Labour’s manifesto included a commitment to establish Great British Energy (GBE). Labour’s manifesto said GBE would be a publicly-owned “clean power” company which would “cut bills for good and boost energy security”. This new company would receive £8.3bn capital investment over the course of the new parliament. This would be partly funded by a time-limited windfall tax on oil and gas companies with the rest of the funding being provided by government borrowing. Labour said this company would work with the private sector in order to double onshore wind, treble solar and quadruple offshore wind power production in the UK by the end of the decade. 

In addition to the establishment of GBE, Labour said it would work towards the transition away from fossil fuels by issuing no new licenses to explore new oil and gas fields in the North Sea. However, it said it would not revoke any existing licenses. It also said it would invest to improve the energy efficiency of homes and seek to establish “co-ordinated global action” to address climate change as part of the new government’s foreign policy. 

Natural environment

Labour stated in its manifesto it would give regulators the power to block the payment of bonuses to the executives of water companies that fail to prevent pollution. It also said it would bring criminal charges against “persistent law breakers”.  Labour also committed to expanding “nature-rich” habitats such as wetlands, peat bogs and forests and said it would improve access to the natural environment by developing nine new national river walks and three new national forests in England. 

Agriculture

Labour said it would introduce a new land-use framework and ensure that the existing support for landowners in England—the environment land management scheme (ELMS)—worked “for farmers and nature”.  It also set a target for half of all food purchased across the public sector to be locally produced or certified to higher environmental standards. 

Animal welfare 

On animal welfare, Labour said it would introduce a ban on trail hunting, the practice of replicating hunting with hounds by following a sent carried by someone on foot or horseback instead of a live animal. It also said it would ban the use of snare traps and the import of hunting trophies, end puppy smuggling and farming and work towards the phasing out of animal testing. 

The Library’s briefings for the King’s Speech draw on the Labour Party’s manifesto and other material in the public domain. They have been written in advance of the 2024 King’s Speech to help members of the House of Lords prepare for the debate on the speech. They do not constitute official information about the government’s intentions or provide a complete list of bills to be announced.


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