Reacting to the publication of the Draft Policy Statement on Environmental Principles, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “We welcome the publication of the Draft Policy Statement on Environmental Principles, which provides greater clarity on the application of environmental principles by Ministers. Businesses would like to see a rapid and full implementation of these principles across all Government departments, with environmental principles being considered at a very early stage in the policy development process. From a business perspective, this will help ensure that all Government policies are supportive of positive environmental outcomes, and are coherent and cost-effective. At a time where the focus is on restoring nature – not just preventing further environmental damage –, the consistent implementation of environmental principles across Whitehall should go hand in hand with cross-government efforts to meet the nature restoration targets currently being developed under the Environment Act.”
Nick Molho concluded: “The Environmental Principles Policy Statement provides some welcome clarity on how the five environmental principles should be applied in practice. However, the guidance provided on the application of some principles, such as the precautionary principle, would benefit from further clarification through the development of specific case studies. We would encourage the Government to work closely with stakeholders on developing these in the months ahead.”
Reacting to today’s Queen’s Speech and the State Opening of Parliament, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “Addressing the energy efficiency of the UK’s built environment and accelerating our transition away from volatile fossil fuels in heating is crucial to support households through the ongoing cost of living crisis. Today’s announcements make some progress in this area, with the welcome intentions to boost consumer protections and trust in new technologies by setting up a market standard and trading scheme for heat pumps, and appointing Ofgem as regulator for heat networks through the new Energy Bill.
Nick Molho added: “However, it is critical to roll out a comprehensive programme for energy efficiency in parallel, as the quickest way to reduce demand for gas and bills in the short term. Boosting energy efficiency holds the potential not only to reduce bills, but also create jobs across the country as part of the government’s “Levelling Up” agenda. With this in mind we welcome the new measures outlined in today’s speech to introduce business models for CCS, transmission and storage infrastructure and hydrogen, which are key in driving down costs and boosting investment in these new low carbon technologies.
Nick Molho concluded: “The establishment of the Future System Operator is also a positive step forward, ensuring better coordination and oversight of future grid transmission development needs, which is a vital part of the effective renewable power system we need to end our reliance on fossil fuels. To build upon this, the role of Ofgem in facilitating net zero delivery must be clarified, with a focus on allowing greater levels of anticipatory investment in transmission infrastructure to build an effective net zero energy system. It is also crucial that introducing competition to the UK’s onshore electricity measures delivers higher investment and cost savings, and does not lead to delivery delays.”