Queen’s Speech 2022: Energy and climate change

The Government has committed to reduce UK carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 and improve the security of the UK’s energy supply. It has said it intends to improve strategic planning in the UK’s electricity and gas infrastructure through the establishment of an independent future system operator. It has also said it will introduce measures intended to increase the use of hydrogen gas and carbon capture technology in the UK energy sector.

Queen’s Speech 2022: Energy and climate change

Queen’s Speech 2022: Agriculture, the natural environment and animal welfare

The 2019 Conservative Party manifesto included commitments to protect the natural environment and improve animal welfare. However, the Government has yet to fulfil its manifesto commitment to introduce legislation banning imports of hunting trophies. The Government has proposed changes to the ways in which natural landscapes are managed following the 2019 landscapes review. It has also said it is considering measures to permit greater use of some gene-edited organisms in agriculture.

Queen’s Speech 2022: Agriculture, the natural environment and animal welfare

The UK’s horticultural sector

In recent years, concerns have been raised about the horticultural sector’s workforce, including its dependence on foreign seasonal workers and the existence of a skills gap. The sector’s role in protecting the environment has also been discussed. This article considers both these issues and the Government’s response.

The UK’s horticultural sector
  • In Focus

    Changing the regulation of certain genetically modified plants: motion not to approve new laws

    New regulations would ease the regulatory process for the environmental release of certain genetically modified plants, for the purposes of their research and development. The Government believes the changes would make it easier for scientists to research possible innovations to improve agricultural crops. However, the regulations have attracted a lot of criticism and concerns. This article sets out some of the issues that have been raised ahead of a Lords debate on 14 March 2022 about whether the regulations should become law.

  • In Focus

    Glue Traps (Offences) Bill

    The Glue Traps (Offences) Bill is a private member’s bill that would make it an offence to use glue traps in England. Many groups consider the devices to be inhumane as they can cause trapped rodents and other animals to suffer. A licensing regime would permit exceptions for licenced pest controllers to use glue traps in exceptional circumstances.

  • In Focus

    Office for Demographic Change Bill [HL]

    The Office for Demographic Change Bill [HL] is a private member’s bill which would establish an independent demographic authority to analyse the impact of UK population change. This article summarises what the bill would do, and the background to the proposals.

  • In Focus

    Draft Overarching National Policy Statement for Energy

    The Government has published draft updates for a range of energy-related national policy statements first introduced in 2011. The statements provide guidance for those involved in determining development applications for major infrastructure projects. The Government has said the updates focus on regulatory, policy and technology changes.

  • In Focus

    Oil and gas industry: outside interests

    The Government has committed to phasing out global fossil fuel subsidies and to changing the way that oil and gas is licensed in the UK. However, environmental organisations have argued that outside interests, such as oil companies and climate sceptics, have too much influence on the oil and gas industry in the UK. This includes at board level of the industry’s regulator, the Oil and Gas Authority, and through political donations.

  • In Focus

    Electric scooter regulation: should the law be changed?

    According to UK law, electric scooters can only be used on private land. However, the Government is considering whether the law should be changed. As part of this consideration, the Department for Transport introduced legislation in July 2020 to enable rental e-scooter trials to take place on public roads and cycle lanes across the UK. The Government awaits the outcome of these trials before making a decision on whether to change the law.

  • In Focus

    Jet Zero and sustainable aviation

    In July 2021, the Government launched a consultation on ‘Jet Zero’: its plans for decarbonising the UK aviation sector. Noting that while aviation currently contributes 2–3 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, the consultation observed that it is forecast to become the second highest residual emitter in 2050 as other sectors reduce their emissions. The consultation has now closed. The Government is currently analysing the responses and intends to launch its Jet Zero strategy in 2022, revealing how aviation will contribute towards ensuring the UK reaches net zero. This article looks at recent developments.

  • In Focus

    One of the deadliest natural disasters: tsunami awareness and early warning systems

    Tsunamis are among the most dangerous natural disasters on the planet, causing thousands of deaths and billions of dollars in damage. The United Nations (UN) estimates 50% of the world’s population will live in coastal areas exposed to tsunamis by the year 2030. To mark World Tsunami Awareness Day, this article looks at what causes a tsunami and what systems are in place to warn residents at risk of an incoming disaster.

  • 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.

  • 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

    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.

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