Digital regulation

The regulatory landscape is evolving to try to keep pace with the emergence of new technologies and online activities. The House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee advocates the creation of a statutory body to coordinate digital regulation and prevent gaps between the responsibilities of different regulators. The government rejects this suggestion but is legislating to give some existing regulators new duties on digital regulation and cooperation with each other.

Digital regulation

Energy Bill [HL]: HL Bill 39 of 2022–23

The government’s Energy Bill includes provisions relating to 26 separate energy-related measures. These are structured around three ‘key pillars’, listed as: leveraging investment in clean technologies; reforming the UK’s energy system and protecting consumers; and maintaining the safety, security and resilience of the energy systems across the UK. The House of Lords is scheduled to debate the bill at second reading on 19 July 2022.

Energy Bill [HL]: HL Bill 39 of 2022–23
  • In Focus

    Energy (Oil and Gas) Profits Levy Bill

    The Energy (Oil and Gas) Profits Levy Bill would introduce a new temporary levy on North Sea oil and gas production. It follows a government announcement in late May 2022 that ministers would seek to impose a levy on companies operating in the North Sea to help fund support measures for households facing higher living costs. The House of Lords is expected to consider the bill at second reading and all remaining stages on 13 July 2022.

  • In Focus

    Relationship between health and food production

    There has been notable scrutiny of the link between health and food, including in 2020 by an ad hoc committee in the House of Lords. It found that the UK food system was failing to enable people to make healthy and affordable dietary choices. This briefing examines those findings and the challenges faced by both consumers and the UK agri-food sector, and the government’s policy response.

  • In Focus

    Sewage pollution in England’s waters

    Treated and untreated sewage is released into inland waters and the sea. This is permitted in specified circumstances and is regulated by the Environment Agency, the Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat) and by statute. There has been increasing concern about the level of sewage pollution in England’s waters, and the government has stated that improving water quality is a priority.

  • In Focus

    Draft environmental principles policy statement

    The Environment Act 2021 requires the government to publish an environmental principles policy statement outlining how environmental principles should be interpreted and applied by ministers when making policy. A draft of the first statement to be made under the act was laid before Parliament on 11 May 2022 and is due to be discussed by the Lords on 30 June 2022.

  • Research Briefing

    Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill [HL]: HL Bill 5 of 2022-23

    On 8 July 2022, the second reading of the Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill [HL] is scheduled to take place. This bill seeks to improve air quality in England and Wales. It would establish a human right to clean air and would require the government to limit the concentration of pollutants in the air in accordance with World Health Organization guidelines and scientific evidence.

  • In Focus

    Rising cost of agricultural fertiliser and feed: Causes, impacts and government policy

    Agricultural fertiliser and feed prices have increased significantly in recent months. The price rises have been driven largely by global pressures including increased demand, the war in Ukraine and higher energy costs. Record prices are pushing up costs for farmers as well as for consumers via the cost of produce and animal products. The government has announced a range of measures in response, including more frequent payment of subsidies and a sustainable farming initiative.

  • In Focus

    Pig farming industry in England

    Pig farmers have faced a number of pressures in recent months, including labour shortages and rising costs of production. The National Pig Association has described the situation as a “crisis”. This article summarises the findings of a recent House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee report on labour shortages in the farming sector. In addition, it explores reaction to the government’s package of support measures for the pig industry.

  • In Focus

    Net zero: The global energy sector

    In May 2021, the International Energy Agency (IEA) published its energy roadmap which examined how the world can transition to a net zero energy system by 2050. It argued that although current climate pledges fall short of what is needed to meet this target, a viable pathway is still available. This article provides a summary of the IEA’s report and the UK government’s policy on net zero. It also considers the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the global energy sector.

  • In Focus

    Ash dieback and the health of English trees

    Threats to UK trees have risen due to factors such as globalisation and climate change. The government has responded with a tree health resilience strategy, an England trees action plan and an updated plant biosecurity strategy. However, certain pests and diseases remain high-risk, including ash dieback. Several organisations are seeking to breed ash trees that are resilient to the disease and the government has published a strategy for preserving ashes.

  • In Focus

    Health care services for neurological conditions

    Neurology organisations have reported a “neurology workforce crisis” in recent years. The UK has fewer neurology consultants when compared to other high-income countries, recent data has shown. This has led to concerns about the impact on people with neurological conditions receiving timely access to health and care services. This briefing considers the latest neurology workforce and waiting times data, in addition to recent action taken to improve neurological care.

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