A month of political uncertainty and a cabinet reshuffle has delayed the government’s ‘clean growth’ plans, but climate change and electric vehicles remain on the agenda.
The 2017 Queen’s Speech contained fewer green announcements than expected before the General Election in June, with Prime Minister Theresa May’s administration dropping a number of proposed policies in favour of more focus on Brexit.
The speech did reiterate the UK’s commitment to upholding the international Paris Agreement on climate change, which was rocked after US President Trump decided to pull out of the deal in May.
It also reiterated commitments to make the UK a “world leader” in electric vehicles by introducing an Automated and Electric Vehicles bill that will support further rollout of low emission cars and provide for the installation of charging points in service stations.
However, several other key issues have been sidelined or delayed.
The government’s ‘Clean Growth Plan’ to put measures in place to reduce emissions from the economy beyond 2020 has been delayed until the autumn.
The plan is expected to set out a new approach to energy efficiency taxation, renewable heat incentives and green transport, but was originally due in 2016.
Speaking to Parliament on 27 June, newly-appointed climate change minister Claire Perry said: “My intention is to publish the Clean Growth Plan when Parliament returns from the summer recess, and I look forward to cross-party discussion and hopefully consensus on a hugely important document, both for Britain's domestic future and our international leadership.
“I want the Clean Growth Plan to be as ambitious, robust and clear blueprint as it can be.”
There was also no mention of the recently completed consultation on air quality measures for towns and cities, although the government has to publish a final plan by 31 July due to a High Court order.
A previously promised 25-year plan for maintaining and enhancing the UK’s natural environment was also sidelined.
In more welcome news for green groups, fracking was also left off the table, despite a Conservative Party pledge to push forward with the controversial energy source.