• In Focus

    Nuclear power in the UK

    The House of Lords is due to debate a motion moved by Lord Howell of Guildford (Conservative) that “this House takes note of the role of civil nuclear power in meeting the United Kingdom’s (1) electricity needs, and (2) energy security”. This article gives an overview of nuclear power in the UK. It looks at issues such as its role in meeting carbon reduction targets, safety and the disposal of radioactive waste.

  • In Focus

    Second National Infrastructure Assessment: Baseline Report

    In November 2021, the National Infrastructure Commission published the baseline report from its forthcoming second National Infrastructure Assessment. The baseline report evaluates the current state of the UK’s economic infrastructure and identifies key challenges for the coming decades, informing recommendations in the full assessment in 2023. The baseline report found that there has been significant progress in some areas such as gigabit broadband since the last Assessment in 2018. However, it added much more was required, particularly in areas such as electricity emissions and water pollution.

  • Current Affairs Digest

    Current Affairs Digest: World Affairs (November 2021)

    Catch up on events from around the world this month. We take a closer look at the 26th Conference of Parties, which is the international summit on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and examine an article published in The Conversation discussing whether the summit could be considered a success.

  • Research Briefing

    COP26: aims, goals and progress

    COP26 is an international climate change conference held under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It stands for ‘conference of the parties’ and is the 26th meeting of the parties to the UNFCCC. It is being held between 31 October and 12 November 2021. On 18 November 2021, the House of Lords is due to debate the outcomes of the conference.

  • In Focus

    All Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia report

    The Conservative Party manifesto for the 2019 general election pledged that finding a cure for dementia would be one of the Government’s biggest priorities. To this end, the manifesto committed to doubling dementia research funding and speeding up trials for new treatments. In a report published in September 2021, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia made a central recommendation that the Government should implement its funding pledge as soon as possible.

  • In Focus

    Age Assurance (Minimum Standards) Bill [HL]

    Age assurance tools can be used to ensure web content and online platforms are suitable for younger people. The Age Assurance (Minimum Standards) Bill [HL] would require Ofcom to publish a statutory code for digital age assurance systems, requiring the systems to meet minimum standards.

  • In Focus

    Forensic science services and the criminal justice system

    Forensic science services are a key part of the criminal justice system in England and Wales. The provision of such services has been the subject of scrutiny in recent years. This article considers recent developments in the area, including the Forensic Capability Network and the latest appointment of the Forensic Science Regulator. It also considers the House of Lords debate on forensic science services in the criminal justice system that took place in April 2021.

  • In Focus

    European Union Committee report—Beyond Brexit: Food, Environment, Energy and Health

    What impact will the UK’s new relationship with the EU have on food, the environment, energy and health? This article examines key findings of a House of Lords committee that looked at this topic earlier this year, as well as the Government’s response, ahead of a debate on 15 November 2021.

  • In Focus

    Onshore Wind Bill [HL]

    The Onshore Wind Bill is a private member’s bill sponsored by Baroness Hayman. It would require the Government to amend planning guidance to enable local planning authorities to grant more onshore wind applications for the purpose of meeting the UK’s carbon targets.

  • In Focus

    Urban water and sanitation in developing countries: impact of climate change

    Many people around the world do not have access to safe and adequate drinking water and sanitation facilities. Increasingly extreme weather patterns, resulting in both more droughts and more floods, are predicted to place more stress on water and sanitation services. This article looks at access to water and sanitation in developing countries, why it matters and what the UK Government is doing in this area.

  • In Focus

    Facial recognition technology in schools

    In October 2021, some schools began taking payments for lunches using facial recognition technology (FRT). In response, the Information Commissioner’s Office and some privacy campaigners have expressed concern that this use of the technology is unnecessarily intrusive. This article focuses on how FRT is used in schools, what concerns have been raised about its use and how it is governed.

  • In Focus

    COP26: “Code red for humanity”

    Climate change is profoundly altering the world around us and some of its consequences may already take hundreds of years to reverse. Those are among the stark conclusions from the International Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report, findings the United Nations secretary general has called a wake-up call for humanity. As world leaders prepare to gather in Glasgow for the COP26 climate summit, this article examines the potential for a lasting agreement to tackle global warming.

  • In Focus

    Autumn budget and spending review

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, delivered the second budget of the year on 27 October 2021. It set out the Government’s plans to “build back better”. He also announced the results of a spending review, setting departmental spending totals for 2022/23 to 2024/25. Overall spending will increase, with a large proportion of the increase going to the NHS. The Office for Budget Responsibility also published its latest forecasts for the economy and the public finances. They showed improvements from its previous, March 2021, forecasts.

  • In Focus

    Chalk Stream Restoration Strategy

    Chalk streams in England are said to be important for global diversity and to provide a natural habitat for numerous species of plants and animals. However, there have been reports that they are at risk of drying out. Ahead of a debate on 3 November 2021, this In Focus article discusses the issue and highlights the recent publication of the Chalk Stream Restoration Strategy, which has received support from the Government.