• In Focus

    ‘Investing in energy: Price, security, and the transition to net zero’: Economic Affairs Committee report

    In February 2022, the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee launched an inquiry into how the government could support investment in UK energy in order to achieve greater security of supply, improve affordability and meet the UK’s net zero targets. This article summarises the committee’s conclusions and the then government’s response to its recommendations. It also provides an overview of subsequent developments in the government’s energy policies.

  • In Focus

    Cleaning up failures in water and sewage regulation: Industry and Regulators Committee report

    In 2022 the House of Lords Industry and Regulators Committee launched an inquiry into the work of the water regulator, Ofwat. It considered issues including the discharge of sewage by water companies and whether Ofwat was promoting sufficient investment in water and sewage infrastructure. This article summarises the committee’s conclusions and recommendations, the response to the report from both the government and Ofwat, and the conclusions of a follow-up inquiry held in summer 2023.

  • Current Affairs Digest

    Current Affairs Digest: Environment (September 2023)

    There have been several large wildfires this year, including in southern Europe, Canada and Hawaii. These have taken place during a period of record high temperatures around the world. This article considers the environmental impact of these recent wildfires, and the significance of climate change.

  • In Focus

    Climate change-induced migration: UK collaboration with international partners

    Climate change is likely to increase migration flows over the coming decades. Increasingly frequent and severe extreme weather events are expected to increase “forcible displacements”, and the “slow-onset” impacts of climate change are expected to make the hardest hit regions uninhabitable. The UK is involved with several international forums which aim to discuss and cooperate on these issues.

  • In Focus

    Making the most out of England’s land: Land Use in England Committee report

    In December 2022 the House of Lords Land Use in England Committee published its report into land use in England. The committee noted the increasing number of demands on land and argued for the creation of a land use commission. This would oversee the development of a land use framework, to enable stakeholders to make the best decisions for land. It also made other recommendations. The government responded to the committee in April 2023.

  • In Focus

    Preparing for climate change

    Climate change is expected to have significant impacts across a range of domestic policy areas. Both the government and the independent Climate Change Committee, a statutory advisory body, agree on the need for significant adaption efforts to mitigate related risks. This summer the government is due to publish the latest edition of its five-yearly national adaption programme. This will detail how it plans to go about addressing climate risks and comes 15 years after the Climate Change Act 2008 became law.

  • In Focus

    Charging ahead? Future of the UK car industry

    In recent years, concerns have been raised about the state of the UK’s car industry. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which represents car manufacturers in the UK, has reported that manufacturing decreased every year from 2016 to 2022. In addition, various companies have announced UK plant closures or capacity reductions. Concerns have also focused on the future of the industry. This article considers the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) and examines one of the main challenges to this: the domestic production of batteries for EVs.

  • In Focus

    Behaviour change for achieving climate and environment goals: Environment and Climate Change Committee report

    In October 2021, the House of Lords Environment and Climate Change Committee published a report which examined the government’s approach to encouraging behaviour change to achieve its climate and environmental goals. The report found that the government’s approach at the time was “inadequate to meet the scale of the challenge”. The House of Lords is scheduled to debate the report on 7 June 2023. This article examines the report and the government’s response.

  • In Focus

    Woodland cover and grey squirrels

    The government has committed to halting nature decline in the UK and improving natural habitats. Grey squirrels, which are a non-native species to the UK, cause damage to natural habitats by stripping bark from trees in order to eat the sap beneath. This In Focus article looks at the government’s policies on supporting woodlands and controlling the grey squirrel population.

  • In Focus

    Impact of climate change on Commonwealth countries

    Developing countries have been identified as some of those most at risk from the effects of climate change. This includes many of the member states of the Commonwealth. The UK government has made a series of commitments to provide support to developing countries in order to mitigate these risks, including through aid spending and international climate finance. The House of Lords is scheduled to debate these policies on 30 March 2023.

  • Research Briefing

    Shark Fins Bill: HL Bill 93 of 2022–23

    The Shark Fins Bill is a private member’s bill that would ban the import and export of detached shark fins and shark fin-containing products in Great Britain, with routes available for conservation-related exemptions. It would also extend an existing prohibition on shark finning in place for UK fishing vessels to all fishing vessels operating in UK waters. The House of Lords is scheduled to debate the bill on 24 March 2023.

  • In Focus

    Nature-based solutions for climate change: Science and Technology Committee report

    In January 2022, the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee published its report on the role of nature-based solutions in mitigating climate change and achieving net zero by 2050. It argued that whilst the government’s plans for nature-based solutions were “ambitious”, they were at “severe risk of failure”. Therefore, it proposed several recommendations, including calling for increases to the budgets of public bodies tasked with delivering nature-based solutions.

  • Research Briefing

    Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill: HL Bill 89 of 2022–23

    The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill is due to have its second reading in the House of Lords on 6 February 2023. The bill would automatically revoke, or ‘sunset’, most retained EU law at the end of 2023. However it would also give ministers powers to exempt some retained EU law from the sunset and to restate, reproduce, replace or update retained EU law by statutory instrument.