UK Net Zero Delivery Review: Call for Evidence

United Kingdom

Until 27 October 2022, comments are sought on the government’s approach to delivering the UK’s net zero target by 2050.  This forms part of an Independent Review commissioned by the BEIS Secretary of State, which is being chaired by Chris Skidmore MP.  Input is sought from businesses, industry, communities, academics, innovators, local government and non-governmental groups, so as to collate a broad range of views on the routes to transition to net zero (this is not a review of net zero itself, or the 2050 date). The independent report and recommendations will be submitted to the BEIS Secretary of State by the end of December 2022. 

Background

The Independent Review follows the publication last year by the UK government of a ‘Net Zero Strategy’, which sets out the proposed pathway to reaching legally binding net zero greenhouse gas emission targets by 2050.  The government notes that in light of the changing economic environment, it is necessary to review its approach to net zero, to ensure the path it is pursuing to achieve its commitments is still the most economically efficient.  In addition to the economic benefits of different policies and technologies, the review will consider how the approach to net zero can:

  1. deliver maximum economic growth and investment, driving opportunities for private investment, jobs, innovation, exports, and growth across the UK;

  2. support UK energy security and affordability for consumers and business and the need to rapidly increase and strengthen UK energy production and supply; and

  3. minimise costs borne by businesses and consumers, particularly in the short-term.

This Independent Review also follows the High Court’s finding in June 2022 that the UK’s current net zero strategy does not meet the government’s obligations under the 2008 Climate Change Act to produce detailed climate policies that show how the UK’s legally-binding carbon budgets will be met.  As such, the government is now tasked with updating its climate strategy to include a quantified account of how its policies will actually achieve climate targets, based on a realistic assessment of what it actually expects them to deliver (the updated strategy to be presented to parliament for scrutiny by MPs and include policies which stand up to the scrutiny of the independent statutory body, the Climate Change Committee).  A refined and re-issued strategy will need to be issued by the end of March 2023.  The findings of the Independent Review are likely to feed into this process. 

Need for Engagement

One key aspect of the Independent Review is engagement, namely with many different stakeholders and interest groups across the UK population to understand how the transition can be delivered in a way that supports growth, consumers, communities, energy security and businesses.  The Call for Evidence comprises 30 questions, and is split into questions answerable by all, and those best answered by different stakeholders, including questions on the challenges which net zero poses to business, the barriers faced in decarbonising business and operations, and the support required to decarbonise. 

Comments

This call for evidence is an opportunity for stakeholders to contribute and make tangible suggestions for the government to consider when setting out its pathway to achieving net zero. In addition to the questions themselves, the sharing of case studies and other evidential submissions may assist in highlighting any needed market corrections, but also what is working and why in order to advance a sustainable and long term competitive economy.

Links

Net Zero Review: Call for evidence - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

net-zero-strategy-beis.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk)