VoteClimate: Greg Hands MP: Climate-Related Speeches In Parliament

Greg Hands MP: Climate-Related Speeches In Parliament

Greg Hands is the Conservative MP for Chelsea and Fulham.

At the next election Greg Hands is standing in the new Chelsea and Fulham constituency.

We have identified 30 Parliamentary Votes Related to Climate since 2010 in which Greg Hands could have voted.

Greg Hands is rated Anti for votes supporting action on climate. (Rating Methodology)

  • In favour of action on climate: 2
  • Against: 27
  • Did not vote: 1

Compare to other MPs:

Why don't you Contact Greg Hands MP now and tell them how much climate means to you?

Greg Hands's Speeches In Parliament Related to Climate

We've found 58 Parliamentary debates in which Greg Hands has spoken about climate-related matters.

Here are the relevant sections of their speeches.

  • 7 Mar 2024: Oral Answers to Questions

    The Government were pleased that my hon. Friend, who is the Prime Minister’s trade envoy to Angola, Zambia and Ethiopia, and members of the Westminster Africa Business Group visited Zimbabwe on the group’s inaugural trade mission. That is part of the Government’s work to promote opportunities for UK companies, particularly in critical minerals, renewable energy and sustainable agriculture.


    The hon. Gentleman raises an interesting point. Many of the agreements have actually, for the first time, included environmental provisions. If I recall correctly, he did not like the Australia trade deal, but it is the first time Australia has committed in a trade agreement to the Paris agreement and so on. When it comes to the impact of our trading policy over the last 14 years, he will also find, for example, that 86% of UK imports of palm oil—a key interest for environmentalists—are certified as sustainable, up from 16% in 2010. Again, we are seeing real results of UK trade policy moving in a much more environmentally friendly direction.


  • 20 Feb 2024: Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Bill [ Lords ] (Second...


    I will say to the hon. Member for Slough that CPTPP also includes an extensive environment chapter, which recognises parties’ sovereign right to establish their own levels of domestic environment protection and priorities. This includes measures in the pursuit of reaching net zero and other environmental goals. The parties also affirm their commitment to implement multilateral environment agreements to which they are party. All the CPTPP members are signatories to the Paris agreement, as well as multilateral environment agreements covering wider environmental areas such as biodiversity, ozone-layer protection and pollution. The parties further recognise the importance of trade in environmental goods and services in the environment chapter. Parties are committed to endeavour to address any barriers to trade raised in this context. For example, under the CPTPP there will be no tariffs on UK exports of new electric vehicles and wind turbine towers, which support the UK and the CPTPP parties’ transition to low-carbon economies.

    I will endeavour to be brief and to the point. Given his reference to all the parties being signatories to the Paris agreement, I will gently bring the Minister back to the question of ISDS, on which I know he is always enthusiastic to answer questions. Can he be absolutely clear today with the Committee that no ISDS claim is likely to be successful where environmental considerations have been a factor in a Government taking a particular decision?

    We remain committed to our environmental and sustainability goals, including forest protection. We will continue to work domestically and with partners internationally to pursue our ambitions for nature, climate and sustainable development, including in CPTPP and multilateral fora such as the WTO, climate and biodiversity COPs—I was proud to represent the UK at COP26 as an environment and climate Minister—and through the forest, agriculture and commodity trade dialogue. The hon. Member for City of Chester asked specifically about this, as did the hon. Member for Cardiff North. I can answer that in spring of this year, the Government will be laying our forest risk commodities legislation under the Environment Act. It will make it illegal for larger businesses operating in the UK to use key forest risk commodities produced on land occupied or used illegally.

    I thank the Minister for giving me the opportunity to explain. I am saying that as it stands, it is making a mockery of environmental commitments that were agreed at COP26 in Glasgow. Without new clause 1, there is no environmental climate impact assessment. The sustainability of this puts into question all our trade agreements in CPTPP. That is why the impact assessments are so important and why the Government should support the new clauses and vote for them.


  • 30 Nov 2023: Oral Answers to Questions

    First, let me commend my hon. Friend for winning “Speech of the Year” at last night’s The Spectator parliamentary awards. She has continued her fine form today. She does an amazing job for the country as the Prime Minister’s trade envoy to Kenya, and her recent visit in September was a big success, particularly on the infrastructure side of things. She has already referred to railways and other infrastructure. She mentioned the UK-Africa investment summit, which will take place in London next year and will further our engagement with Kenya and other African countries, fostering modern partnerships in trade and investment in areas such as resilient infrastructure, clean technologies and renewable energy.


  • 14 Nov 2022: Australia and New Zealand Trade Deals


    The UK-Australia agreement contains an innovation chapter, which is the first of its kind in any FTA between two partners in the world. This will ensure that our trading relationship remains at the forefront of emerging technologies. I might just add that the Confederation of British Industry said that our deal with New Zealand puts us at the fore of the green trade revolution and showcases to the world that trade and climate change can go hand in hand.


  • 5 Sep 2022: Energy Update


    The Government are also focused on delivering a programme of work to tackle energy efficiency in order to target longer-term energy bill reductions. We are investing £6.6 billion in energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation over this Parliament. We will deliver upgrades to over half a million homes in the coming years through our social housing decarbonisation fund, home upgrade grant schemes and energy company obligation scheme, delivering additional average bill savings of £300.

    We must continue to decarbonise, reducing our dependency on expensive, imported fossil fuels and bolstering our energy security through clean, home-grown energy. A net zero economy is not just critical to tackling climate change; it is also in our strategic interest as a means to reducing our reliance on global energy markets. That is why the Government’s British energy security strategy, published in April, set out a series of bold commitments, which put Great Britain at the leading edge of the global energy revolution.

    The Government are delivering on this, for example, in our latest renewables auction, awarding contracts for difference to a record 93 new renewable energy projects, which will total almost 11 GW of new generating capacity for Great Britain—enough to generate sufficient electricity to power around 12 million homes. The UK is already a world leader in offshore wind, with the biggest installed capacity in Europe, generating 12.7 GW of electricity, enough to power around 10 million homes. We are continuing to increase this with another 6.8 GW in construction and a further 7 GW in preparation. We are increasing our nuclear ambition with the construction of Hinkley Point C and Government investment into Sizewell C, both of which could power 6 million homes. We are also launching Great British Nuclear, a body tasked with developing a resilient pipeline of new build nuclear projects. We have launched a major review into Britain’s electricity market design, to radically enhance energy security, and to help deliver our world-leading climate targets, while reducing exposure to international gas markets.


  • 19 Jul 2022: New Pylons: East Anglia


    I welcome the support of my hon. Friend the Members for Broadland (Jerome Mayhew), my hon. Friend the Member for South Suffolk and others for the strong contribution that offshore wind makes to the UK’s energy needs. Currently, it produces 11.4 GW. However, connecting that cheap, green energy and transporting it to where it is needed in East Anglia and across the country will require more electricity network infrastructure, both onshore and offshore, than we have today. We need that infrastructure to be built more quickly. Timescales for delivering transmission network infrastructure can be as long as 11 to 14 years—often far longer than the time taken to deliver the generation that is being connected. That constraint is already biting: about 5% of wind generation is curtailed, which means that its output is reduced because there is not enough capacity on the network to transport it. That could increase to 15% to 20% in the mid-2020s as wind generation increases.


  • 18 Jul 2022: Draft Electricity and Gas (Energy Company Obligation) Order 2022


    I am glad the hon. Member for Southampton, Test praised the co-operation with the private sector, housing associations, the NHS and local authorities. It is a whole-of-Government effort to improve the energy efficiency of our homes. He said there was an estimated £4 on bills a month, but the hon. Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun was correct: the estimate is £37 per annum—about £3 a month. I have said that it is not the only scheme available. We have £6.6 billion deployed over the course of this Parliament on energy efficiency schemes, including the £450 million boiler upgrade scheme, the social housing decarbonisation fund, the home upgrade grant, which I have already mentioned, and the public sector decarbonisation scheme, as well as the VAT reductions announced by the previous Chancellor earlier this year.

    The hon. Member for Southampton, Test said the solid wall insulation minimal requirement should be higher. ECO4 will focus on the least energy-efficient properties and, as I mentioned earlier, we have introduced a requirement for a minimum of 150,000 band E, F and G private tenure homes to be treated. Most of those will be solid-walled homes and we estimate that around 75% of total scheme spending will go towards improving them to band D or better. We believe the current solid wall minimum strikes the right balance between giving certainty to the supply chain and giving them the flexibility to treat homes in the most important way. The hon. Member for Brighton, Kemptown sought a street-by-street approach—an area-based scheme. We expect area-based schemes to happen as installers involved in ECO also deliver under the home upgrade grant, the social housing decarbonisation fund and the local authority delivery scheme. We already know of installers planning to work in that way.

    The Government recognise that millions of households across the UK may need further support with the cost of living and the extraordinary increase in the cost of energy, which we have witnessed this year. That is why the Government have announced additional support this year worth over £37 billion, including targeted support for those on the lowest incomes. The Government remain committed to helping low-income, vulnerable households to reduce their fuel bills and heat their homes. Improving the energy efficiency of our homes is the best long-term solution to achieve this. Tackling fuel poverty is an essential for our transition to net zero. That is why we are spending £6.6 billion over the course of this Parliament and expanding the previous ECO3 system into a much larger ECO4 scheme, targeted particularly at the more vulnerable and those living in the least energy-efficient homes.


  • 14 Jul 2022: British Glass Industry


    The subject of energy-intensive industries will constitute the main part of my response, but I was pleased to hear the hon. Gentleman report that energy efficiency is up 50% in glass furnaces. That is an encouraging sign as we move towards net zero. Obviously some industries will be harder to decarbonise than others, but it is good to hear that glass has made significant progress in that regard.

    Recent trials using 100% biofuel in the production of float glass has created a product with a reduced carbon footprint of 80%—the lowest-carbon float glass ever made. This is truly innovative and exciting work, which I know the hon. Gentleman celebrates in his constituency. The Government will continue to work with Glass Futures to further support and deliver on our important objectives, and to foster an innovative, cross-sectoral working relationship. We will also continue to engage with the various councils, businesses and the Energy Intensive Users Group to ensure that their priorities are understood. The industrial decarbonisation strategy and the net zero strategy that we published last year outlined existing and new support for industrial decarbonisation that companies would be eligible for.


  • 12 Jul 2022: Oral Answers to Questions

    My hon. Friend is always on the front foot on low-carbon energy and innovation in Heywood and Middleton. He will know that the Government’s flagship £1 billion net zero innovation portfolio is making those important investments in hydrogen, advanced nuclear technologies and so on. On fusion, we are investing £700 million in research facilities and programmes over the next three years. My hon. Friend will also know that the energy security Bill we published last week includes launch pads for both hydrogen and nuclear fusion.


    The amount of money and resources going into hydrogen remains extremely strong. It is a really important part of the net zero innovation portfolio. Just over the past few months, I have been to the Whitelee wind farm just south of Glasgow to see the new hydrogen production facility there. That facility is going to do exactly what the hon. Gentleman wants us to do: provide hydrogen for vehicles, particularly buses. The whole of the Glasgow bus fleet and, indeed, the whole of the Glasgow dustcart fleet will be fuelled by hydrogen from that wind farm.


    I thank my hon. Friend for her question and her constant very good and strong engagement on behalf of her Ribble valley constituents. Renewable energy is, of course, part of the solution. That is why we announced the allocation round for the latest auction of renewable energy last week. It was the most successful ever, with 10.8 GW of renewable energy coming to this country through the contracts for difference mechanism. It has been a huge success, and I welcome my hon. Friend’s interest.


    I should be happy to have a look at those tariffs, but I do not think that this would prevent us from supporting community energy projects as a Government. We have a very good track record in that regard, through previous funds and through, for example, the towns fund, run by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, which has just awarded more than £23.6 million to Glastonbury Town Council. The projects involved include the Glastonbury clean energy project, whose purpose is investment in renewable energy generation and low-carbon transport infrastructure. There is a great deal going on in this space, but I am happy to look at the tariff question in particular.


    As required by the Climate Change Act 2008, the Government will respond later this year to the committee’s report and will provide an annual update on the delivery progress of the net zero strategy.


    Can I just correct the hon. Gentleman on one thing? The Climate Change Committee’s report was actually full of praise for the Government on electric vehicles and on what we are doing on electricity decarbonisation. On his wider point, this Government have a fantastic record of action on climate, thanks to the COP26 President, my right hon. Friend the Member for Reading West (Alok Sharma). At the start of the year, 30% of global GDP was signed up to net zero targets. That is now 90%, and the UK is leading the way with our own net zero strategy, published just before COP last year.


    That is exactly what we are doing. We have committed £6.6 billion over the course of this Parliament. The local authority delivery scheme, £787 million; the home upgrade grants, £950 million; the social housing decarbonisation fund, over £800 million. These are real, big pieces of taxpayers’ money going into energy efficiency, and it is coming at a good time, when people need it most.


    The hon. Lady will have studied the evidence that I gave to the Welsh Affairs Committee a couple of months ago on the national grid in Wales. When it comes to ensuring that we are equipped in renewable energy, we have just announced the results of last week’s contract for difference auction. I remind her that when she was a supporter of the last Labour Government, only 7% of our electricity was generated from renewables. It is now 43%.


  • 6 Jul 2022: Home Energy Efficiency: North of England


    This Government’s unwavering commitment to decarbonise the country’s 30 million buildings has the welfare of those who most need energy-efficient homes at its very core. Getting to net zero is not just a legal commitment; it is the right policy for this and future generations. Improving the wellbeing and living conditions of northern communities is a key part of the levelling up of all our towns, cities and regions as we build a green Britain that works for every part of the country.

    We have prioritised the worst performing low-income homes to receive measures such as external wall insulation and clean heating systems. That has already lifted thousands of households out of fuel poverty, and future phases of home decarbonisation will upgrade over half a million more. Families who would not be able to afford energy efficiency improvements for themselves will be able to face future winters knowing that they will be warm, sometimes for the first time.

    Our local authority delivery scheme and home upgrade grant empower local authorities, which know their communities and housing stock best, to decarbonise local homes according to specific needs. In the north, around £226 million of funding has been allocated to local areas through the latest phases of those schemes. As many Members have said, the north of England has benefited disproportionately from the energy company obligation. Since that scheme started under this Government in 2013, over 13% of homes in the north-west and over 12% of homes in the north-east have received energy efficiency measures. Indeed, 12.2% of households in Darlington have had their homes improved under the energy company obligation, compared with an average of 9% across Great Britain.

    The hon. Member for Stockport (Navendu Mishra) asked about using legitimate builders, not cowboys. All insulations under Government schemes, including ECO, the social housing decarbonisation fund, the home upgrade grant and the local authority delivery scheme, must be completed by TrustMark-registered businesses, adhering to the latest requisite standards. These requirements are based on the recommendation of the “Each House Counts” review, an independent review of consumer protections and standards.

    My hon. Friends the Members for Sedgefield and for Darlington referred to retrofitting, as did other hon. Members. Our £1.8 million green home finance innovation fund, which completed in March 2022, was a key early step in supporting the lending community to design, develop and pilot green finance products for homeowners. The Government will provide up to a further £20 million to support the development of innovative green finance products and services that will diversify the green finance market and enable both owner-occupiers and private landlords to decarbonise their homes and improve thermal comfort.

    The hon. Member for Wirral West (Margaret Greenwood) asked whether we will give money to local regions, such as Liverpool City Council, to retrofit. I can tell her that phase 2 of the local authority delivery scheme allocated £300 million to the five local net zero hubs, which will work with their local authorities to continue to deliver energy efficiency upgrades to up to 30,000 homes across England to those most in need. In this Parliament £6.6 million has been spent on energy efficiency, and a great deal of that has been assigned to local authorities via the home upgrade grant, the LAD scheme and the social housing decarbonisation fund. In LAD 2 funding, the regional allocation of £52.8 million is going to the north-west—the hon. Lady’s region.

    Later this year, the social housing decarbonisation fund is due to launch its second wave of funding to 2025, from the £800 million committed in the heat and buildings strategy to install energy efficiency measures in social homes. The first wave of that funding is investing £63 million in retrofitting around 8,000 homes in the north of England.

    Improving the wellbeing and living conditions of northern communities is a key element of the levelling-up agenda that we have embedded across all Departments, with the ambition that by 2030 the number of non-decent rented homes will have fallen by 50%, with the biggest improvements in the lowest performing areas. We know there are significant regional variations in emission levels and communities will face different challenges when meeting net zero commitments. The north accounts for around a quarter of the UK’s emissions, so it is well placed to make a huge contribution to UK decarbonisation.

    The north is in a key position at the centre of net zero innovation, growth and opportunities for green jobs. For example, the new Lancashire Energy HQ, part of Blackpool and The Fylde College provides state-of-the-art training for excellence in energy standards; it was good to hear an intervention earlier from my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool South (Scott Benton). Centres like that may provide job and skill development opportunities for many in communities benefiting from our domestic retrofit programmes. In fact, we expect the decarbonisation of buildings to support up to 240,000 jobs by 2035, resulting in £10 billion additional gross added value by 2035.

    In my Department, we know that we need to remove virtually all emissions from buildings to reach net zero. We also know that we have a duty to protect those who are most vulnerable, and to support consumers and businesses as we decarbonise our buildings. I want to ensure that consumers will benefit from higher energy performance in homes and workplaces, from improved health and comfort and from lower emissions and lower bills. I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Darlington for proposing this excellent and well-informed debate.


  • 5 Jul 2022: Energy Security Strategy


    For years, of course, the UK has been dramatically reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and building up home-grown, low-carbon energy. Just 10 years ago, nearly half of our electricity came from coal—the most polluting fossil fuel. Now, that is down to under 2%. Our hugely successful offshore wind sector is the largest in Europe and second only to China in the world in terms of deployed volume. All those policies are the result of decisions made by this Government over the past 12 years. Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine has given this work new impetus, as Putin’s weaponisation of the global energy supply makes clear. Energy security is a matter of not only decarbonisation—as vital as that is—but national security. The UK is not dependent on Russian hydrocarbons, but the war’s impact on the global market has been severe and affects us all.

    On green levies, as we set out in the heat and buildings strategy and in the net zero strategy, we will launch a fairness and affordability call for evidence on options for energy levies and obligations to help to rebalance electricity and gas prices, and to support green choices, with a view to making a decision later this year.


  • 29 Jun 2022: Oral Answers to Questions

    The Government recognise the importance of Scotland in achieving our goals on carbon capture utlilisation and storage. We have supported Scottish CCUS projects through the industrial decarbon-isation challenge fund, and regularly meet project developers and stakeholders.


    I thank the hon. Member for her question and I agree with her sentiments. We are engaging continuously on CCUS with the Acorn cluster and other possibilities. I agree with her on the impact that the SNP would have on energy policy. The SNP is anti-nuclear and anti-oil and gas. It is hard to see where it thinks it is going to get its energy from in the event of independence; perhaps it has some idea of a future deal with Vladimir Putin.


    I thank my hon. Friend, the chair of the all-party group on hydrogen, for his continuing support for hydrogen-related and CCUS-related projects. We see that as offering opportunities for the whole of the UK. Teesside will play a big part in it, as will Scotland and other parts of England and Wales. We see it as a big whole of the UK effort, crucial to levelling up and to the Union.


  • 28 Jun 2022: Draft Contracts for Difference (Allocation) and Electricity Market Reform (General) (Amendment) Regu...


    The regulations were laid before the House on 11 May 2022. The draft instrument makes a number of amendments to the Contracts for Difference Regulations 2014 and the Electricity Market Reform Regulations 2014. Those amendments include changes to contracts for difference delivery and supply chain plan policy in preparation for the fifth allocation round. They will help support the ambition for the CfD allocation round, planned to open in March 2023, delivering on the ambitions set out in the “Net Zero Strategy” and the “British energy security strategy” to make progress towards the 2050 net zero target.

    On 9 February 2022, the Government announced that CfD allocation rounds will run annually. The increased CfD round frequency underlines the Government’s commitment to achieving low-carbon electricity generation to achieve a fully decarbonised electricity system by 2035, subject to security of supply. The current policy approach to CfD delivery and supply chain plans needs to be strengthened in the context of annual allocation rounds. That will ensure the scheme continues to operate effectively, encourage low-carbon generation and provide confidence to investors and supply chain companies. It will support the delivery of those renewable technologies identified in the “Net Zero Strategy” and the “British energy security strategy” that are key to decarbonising the power sector, such as offshore wind, onshore wind and solar.

    Achieving our carbon budget and net zero targets will require deployment across a range of home-grown, green technologies at an unprecedented scale and pace that will support our transition from reliance on fossil fuels. Therefore, I commend the regulations to the Committee.



    Floating offshore wind is a technology on the verge of significant commercialisation and deployment within the next five years. Being at a key juncture in terms of its deployment means that certain emerging technologies, like floating offshore wind, have the potential to play a really important role in helping us to meet net zero. Bringing those projects into the supply chain process will allow BEIS to support the development of the associated supply chain at the earliest stage, by encouraging the industry to invest in competitive supply chains and accelerate cost reduction.

    I hope that my responses have provided the necessary assurances so that Members can approve the SI. The changes in the regulations are essential to ensuring that the next CfD allocation round, which will start in March 2023—the first annual round—is a really important reform to drive through more renewable energy in this country. The regulations will help to make sure that our supply chains and other parts of the process are as best supported as possible, to make sure that we support the pace of renewable deployment while continuing to ensure value for money for consumers. That is why I urge the regulations to be made now, ahead of the next CfD allocation round in next March, so that developers have certainty as to who will be eligible to take part and on what basis. I therefore urge the Committee to agree to the regulations.


  • 22 Jun 2022: The Electricity and Gas (Energy Company Obligation) Order 2022

    Upgrading our homes to be more energy efficient is the best long-term solution for reducing our energy costs, keeping ourselves warm and healthy in winter and tackling fuel poverty. It is also essential for our transition to net zero and in supporting local jobs and growth. This is why the Energy Company Obligation scheme remains a key policy in supporting low income and vulnerable households to upgrade their homes with energy efficiency and heating measures.

    Under the scheme, support for repairs and replacements of broken gas and electric storage heating systems will be limited to 5,000 homes per year and the repair of inefficient oil and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) systems will be permitted as a last resort where renewable heating cannot be installed. This will ensure measures installed under EC04 align with the Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy and net zero targets.


  • 16 Jun 2022: Low-carbon Off-gas Grid Heating


    I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Member for Clwyd West (Mr Jones) on securing this important debate. I reassure him that decarbonising heat remains a key priority. We recognise that this is a deeply worrying time for most of our constituents, for whom the impact of rising energy bills is perhaps the biggest concern. That applies as much to rural communities as to any other.

    As my right hon. Friend very ably said, most off-grid properties will ultimately transition to heat pumps, which are a proven and highly efficient technology. In electricity, they benefit from a secure energy source that is not subject to the same price spikes as oil, and critically, they are consistent with net zero as the electricity grid decarbonises. Heat pumps have been successfully deployed in high numbers across the world, including in countries that are colder than the United Kingdom, such as Sweden and Norway.

    I also reiterate that our continued support for decarbonisation policies relying on heat pumps is contingent on the industry taking action to drive down the costs. By signalling now our intention to take the action later, once the cost of heat pumps is much lower than today, we aim to give industry the long-term confidence to invest and drive the costs down. We will also keep the cost of heat pumps under constant review. Making sure they become more affordable is a key part of Government policy and, well ahead of implementing any regulation, we will set out what additional actions may be needed to support the phasing out of high-carbon heating systems.

    My right hon. Friend the Member for Clwyd West raised various points. I believe his central question was: why off grid first? Off the gas grid, there is currently no strategic option to decarbonise heat with hydrogen or other technologies. That is why we are taking a range of actions to bring forward the decarbonisation of this critical group of buildings. If we can make heat pumps affordable, there are considerable advantages in moving forward, including for off-grid households and businesses, even if that means that they will be required to switch from fossil fuel heat earlier than their on-grid counterparts. My right hon. Friend asked me to reconsider the 2026 deadline. Equally, the pace at which we can make heat pumps become affordable will guide our decisions on the right time to introduce regulation and the other actions needed to make a fair transition.

    My right hon. Friend asked how many off-grid homes are hard to treat. Our analysis shows that 80% of off-grid homes already have sufficient insulation for a heat pump to work effectively. They have already been deployed successfully in high numbers across the world; I mentioned Sweden, Norway and other countries. On his questions about hybrids and biofuels, along with those from my hon. Friend the Member for Buckingham, we would like to see those fuels become another solution, particularly for off-grid properties that cannot use a heat pump. We are working closely with industry to build the evidence that will inform the biomass strategy mentioned by my hon. Friend, due to launch later in 2022. The strategy will review the amount of sustainable biomass likely to be available to the UK and set out how this can be best used across the economy to achieve our net zero targets.

    The use of hydrogen is an interesting question. Decisions will be made in the coming years on where we think hydrogen can be used as a source of heat. We will have to think about our hydrogen production capacity, and the alternative pressing needs for hydrogen, such as decarbonising industry and major forms of transportation, including maritime, heavy goods vehicles and aviation. There are a lot of potential uses of hydrogen, we will need to look at the option of using it to heat buildings before taking a decision, particularly given the other alternative uses of hydrogen.

    I congratulate the hon. Member for Strangford (Jim Shannon) on being the chair of the healthy homes and buildings all-party parliamentary group. We are of course keen to see Northern Ireland, like all parts of the United Kingdom—I stress that it is fantastic to have all four nations represented here today—play its full role in decarbonisation, and to ensure that it is supported during times of high prices. He said that he had learned that I speak to Gordon Lyons, the Northern Ireland Minister for the Economy, frequently and perhaps even weekly. In fact, I spoke to him only yesterday about ensuring that Northern Ireland’s renewable energy opportunities are boosted. The hon. Gentleman will also know that one of the key reasons that we are taking the approach that we are on the Northern Ireland protocol is to ensure that things such as the VAT cut on solar panels can be enjoyed as much by the people of Northern Ireland as by the people of England, Wales or Scotland. Watch this space; we are always keen to help in Northern Ireland.

    The basis behind the boiler upgrade scheme is not to provide everybody with a new heat pump. The idea is for the Government to prime the private sector to be able to do exactly that. The hon. Member for Southampton, Test says that heat pumps do not always work, but they frequently do. They are the only proven, scalable technology to decarbonise heating, although there might be hydrogen and other technology developments in the future. As I have said, Sweden and Norway have done this at scale. We will ensure that heat pumps can only be installed on suitable properties, and that there is a greater degree of choice for less suitable properties.

    To conclude, I reiterate that decarbonising buildings off the gas grid will be key to delivering on Government priorities. It will protect rural consumers and businesses from high and volatile energy costs, and further strengthen our energy independence. We are taking action, and will continue to act to ensure the transition is smooth, fair and affordable for off-grid households, and rural customers and businesses.


  • 14 Jun 2022: Future Hydrogen Economy


    This Government recognise that now, more than ever, we must focus on generating cheaper, cleaner power in Britain to support our long-term energy security and to achieve net zero by 2050. Hydrogen has the potential to help decarbonise vital UK industry sectors and to provide flexible energy across power, transport and, potentially, heat. Our drive for renewables makes hydrogen especially valuable. Excess renewable electricity can be used to produce hydrogen, which can be stored over time and used to generate electricity when there is less sun or wind to power the grid.

    The enormous potential of hydrogen for our economy is plain to see. In the UK alone, the sector could support 12,000 jobs by 2030 and unlock over £9 billion in private investment in the UK. By 2050—net zero date—the UK’s hydrogen economy could be worth up to £13 billion and support up to 100,000 jobs, many of which will be in our industrial heartlands.

    This is a very friendly intervention. For the record, will the Minister state the importance of the role hydrogen will play in industrial decarbonisation, particularly in industries such as steel, ceramics and cement? I am sure he will want to put that into the mix, as it were, as far as the deployment of hydrogen is concerned.

    The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right about the importance of industrial decarbonisation. That is one reason why we are following the cluster approach, to make sure that those hard to decarbonise industry sectors are close to those clusters.

    I will group my response to the two contributions from the HyNet group—the hon. Member for City of Chester (Christian Matheson) and my hon. Friend the Member for Warrington South (Andy Carter)—if I may call them that. The hon. Member for City of Chester also mentioned powered aircraft and maritime, which are very much in the mix for using hydrogen for transport. I had an excellent visit to the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Warrington South towards the end of last year, when I saw the potential for the Novelis canning factory to use hydrogen and other means. I have just come from meeting my co-chair of the green jobs delivery group to make sure that the skills are there. On the caps and the impact on companies in the HyNet process, my Department is in regular contact with major cluster projects, including HyNet, about how the Government and the industry can work together to realise our 10 GW ambition as part of the CCUS cluster sequencing process. I am happy to write to my hon. Friend with further details about the companies in HyNet.

    My hon. Friend the Member for Waveney (Peter Aldous), who is a passionate supporter of green energy right the way across the board, told us about the clean hydrogen cluster in East Anglia and the Lowestoft power plant project using hydrogen for municipal buses and the refuse fleet, which was also mentioned by the hon. Member for Aberdeen South (Stephen Flynn). On one of my many visits to Scotland, I was really excited to see the Whitelee wind farm just south of Glasgow, which is the second largest onshore wind farm anywhere in Europe. Last autumn, we launched a £9.4 million project with Scottish Power to take the excess onshore wind power generated at Whitelee and turn it into hydrogen for Glasgow’s buses and refuse carts—similar to the scheme mentioned by the hon. Member. By the way, I am looking forward to being in Aberdeen again this week for the fourth time in my nine months as Energy Minister.

    In the brief time available, I will outline the next steps. We recently published a hydrogen investment package, which set out the key policy detail that industry has been waiting for, and paved the way for the launch of two significant funding mechanisms: the net zero hydrogen fund, and our hydrogen business model. The net zero hydrogen fund will be coming this summer, and we aim to run annual allocation rounds for electrolytic hydrogen as soon as legislation and market conditions allow, moving to price-competitive allocation by 2025. In July, we will announce the blue hydrogen projects that we will negotiate with the CCUS cluster sequencing process.


  • 7 Jun 2022: Oral Answers to Questions

    Clean energy technologies are fundamental in both securing our energy supply and meeting net zero. This Conservative Government have set out their ambition to invest up to £22 billion in research and development by 2024. Meanwhile, we are moving to annual options for renewable energy and investing big in our nuclear future.


    I thank my hon. Friend for his continued interest in all matters relating to net zero. My door is always open to him, particularly in bringing innovative proposals on how we will get to net zero. He will know that the Government have invested more than £175 million in tidal energy projects in the past two decades and we have £20 million allocated in the current allocation round for the contracts for difference for tidal stream power.


    The hon. Gentleman raises a good point. Late last year when I visited the Whitelee wind farm just south of Glasgow, the UK’s largest onshore wind farm and the second largest in Europe, I saw for myself the potential there for renewable energy to convert to hydrogen. The UK Government announced a facility to assist with that. Blending is also an important aspect that we will actively be looking at. Of course we will have a number of other important uses of hydrogen, notably in maritime, transportation and the decarbonisation of industry, and those are all in the frame for consideration for what will undoubtedly be our big need for hydrogen in the future.


    The Government have announced a package of measures designed to support the most vulnerable in these unprecedented times. It includes support for the local authority delivery scheme, the home upgrade grant, the social housing decarbonisation fund and the boiler upgrade scheme, and takes our total funding across this Parliament to £6.6 billion.


  • 20 Apr 2022: Energy Price Cap: Residential Buildings with Communal Heating Systems


    I begin by congratulating the hon. Member for Hackney South and Shoreditch (Dame Meg Hillier) on securing this important debate. I apologise, Mr Hollobone, for having been late for the debate, which now seems some time ago. I think it is the first time, in the 17 years I have been in the House, that I have been late for a debate. It may seem a bit academic, at 8.43 pm, to apologise for being here at 5.25 pm instead of 5.24 pm, but I apologise none the less. I was a guest speaker in the Boothroyd Room for the Net Zero all-party parliamentary group, with the hon. Member for Leeds North West (Alex Sobel), but I of course apologise—as you know better than anybody, Mr Hollobone, Westminster Hall always takes precedence over APPGs.

    Heat networks are part of the pathway to decarbonising heat. By operating at scale and, in some cases, by making use of waste heat sources, heat networks can supply heating more cheaply than individual gas boilers. The study commissioned by my Department in 2017 found that heat networks supply heating at a discount of £100 per annum on average compared with individual gas boilers—it is literally a case of economy of scale.


  • 31 Mar 2022: North Sea Transition Authority

    The new name better represents the breadth of work it now undertakes and its pivotal role in supporting the UK upstream oil and gas industry to achieve net zero emissions.

    Oil and gas currently meet around 75% of the UK’s energy demand and they will continue to play a vital part in the energy mix for decades to come as we head to net zero. Oil and gas will have a key role to play in our transition to net zero, and sourcing gas domestically can have significant environmental benefits compared to importing it from abroad. The North Sea Transition Authority is helping the industry reduce its own emissions and is now considerably more active in supporting the broader energy transition.


  • 23 Mar 2022: Energy


    The UK is the first major economy in the world to set a legally binding target to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. We are continuing to advance sustainability through the Prime Minister’s “Ten Point Plan”, the net zero strategy, and the heat and buildings strategy. Currently, heating buildings and industry is responsible for 21% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. Decarbonisation of heat is recognised as one of the biggest challenges in meeting our climate targets. The Government’s ambition is to phase out the installation of new natural gas boilers beyond 2035. Heat pumps are a proven scalable option for decarbonising heat and will play a substantial role in any net zero scenario. A UK market with the capacity and capability to deploy 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028 can keep us on track to net zero. However, the current UK market for low-carbon heat is relatively small and, due to that, these technologies are largely unable to compete on a capital cost basis with conventional heating options. Subsidy is required to mobilise and grow the market, and to bridge the cost gap between fossil fuel and low-carbon systems. The low-carbon heat market has been supported by the domestic renewable heat incentive, which will close to new applications next week, on 31 March 2022.

    The scheme established by this statutory instrument will increase deployment of low-carbon heating technologies, making crucial progress towards our climate targets. Investing in this scheme will reduce our exposure to volatile prices and protect British consumers. It will also grow the retrofit market, put downward pressure on costs and expand the supply chain ahead of the introduction of regulations and market-based approaches later in the decade.



    Heat pumps will play a substantial role in any net zero scenario, so we need to build the market for them now. This targeted support will help to grow the low-carbon heat supply chain to enable the proposed introduction of regulatory and market-based measures in the mid-2020s. Not only will investment in the scheme contribute to carbon reduction targets and increase consumer awareness of low-carbon heating solutions, but the creation of high-quality jobs will help with boosting the economic recovery, levelling up across the country and ensuring that we build back better. I urge the House to support this measure.


  • 16 Mar 2022: Cost of Living Increases


    Wholesale energy prices have been rising due to global pressures. Let me add here the Government’s condemnation of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, with its inevitable impact on global energy prices, and the UK is not alone in feeling the pinch. However, I reiterate that energy security remains an absolute priority for the Government. We are confident that our security will be maintained as we transition to net zero. Indeed, many of the measures in going to net zero will help our energy security by reducing dependency on imported fossil fuels.


  • 16 Mar 2022: Draft Electricity Supplier Payments (Amendment) Regulations 2022


    The LCCC administers the contracts for difference scheme on behalf of the Government, under the Energy Act 2013. Under the same Act, it is anticipated that the LCCC will also administer the dispatchable power agreement and support the development of a new scheme for bioenergy with carbon capture and storage within the next three years. The ESC, the other company covered by the draft SI, administers the capacity market scheme. The schemes will incentivise the significant investment required in our electricity infrastructure, keep costs affordable for consumers and help to deliver our net zero strategy, while keeping our energy supply secure.



    The budget increase reflects the increase in the number of CfDs. Over this budget period, there has been a 400% increase as a result of the success of the Government’s renewables policy and of more renewable energy providers wanting to take part. That will mean a necessary increase in the number of people needed to go through all the bids in the CfD process. There are also more capacity market providers and the development of new technologies such as power CCUS. I also remind the hon. Gentleman that during the consultation, no one was against this proposal. I do not think that we received a response from him—


  • 22 Feb 2022: Climate Change

    Delivering our landmark net zero strategy is well co-ordinated across Government. The Prime Minister chairs the Climate Action Strategy Committee, which, along with the Climate Action Implementation Committee, provide two ministerial forums to drive co-ordinated action across Government.


    I thank the hon. Lady for her question and for her engagement on this, but the basis of her question is not quite right. Actually, BEIS had more capital uplift in the spending review than, I believe, any other Department. We have doubled the amount of money going into international climate finance. My right hon. Friend the COP26 President is working tirelessly to show UK leadership in this space. In the time that we have had the presidency, the amount of the world’s GDP covered by net zero commitments has increased from 30% to more than 90%.


  • 22 Feb 2022: Hydrogen Sector

    We are delivering on the hydrogen strategy that was published last August and will soon launch our £240 million net zero hydrogen fund and the first £100 million allocation round for electrolytic hydrogen projects and publish our sector development action plan.


  • 22 Feb 2022: Automotive Sector

    I thank my hon. Friend for his long-standing and passionate interest in community energy. I was delighted to meet him and colleagues just before the recess. Through the introduction of UK-wide growth-funding schemes such as the towns fund, the Government are enabling local areas to tackle net zero goals. We intend to publish an updated retail energy market strategy in due course.


    Energy security is an absolute priority for the Government. Our exposure to global gas prices underscores the importance of not only our own UK North sea gas production but building a strong renewables sector to reduce our reliance on energy imports in the first place. To that end, we recently published both a comprehensive net zero strategy and the North sea transition deal.


  • 9 Feb 2022: Edmonton EcoPark: Proposed Expansion


    Carbon capture, utilisation and storage at the incinerator is a matter for local decision making, but the Government have very ambitious targets on CCUS, including 6 megatonnes of CO 2 equivalent by 2030, rising to 9 megatonnes by 2035. We have an industrial decarbonisation and hydrogen revenue support scheme to fund our new hydrogen and industrial CCUS business models. The Government take our air quality obligations extremely seriously, and we are already taking significant action to improve air quality. The Government absolutely recognise that there is more to do to protect people and the environment from the effects of air pollution, and that is why we are taking the action set out in our world-leading clean air strategy, which includes proposals to reduce emissions from domestic burning.


  • 1 Feb 2022: Oil and Gas Producers: Windfall Tax


    For the longer term, the Government are looking at how policy costs, which help to fund low-carbon energy infrastructure, support vulnerable consumers and ensure security of supply, are distributed between gas and electricity. Investment in renewable and nuclear energy will be key to achieving that, and we have made and are continuing to make massive progress in both those areas since 2010. As of 2020, renewables contributed 43% of our electricity mix, more than six times the percentage in 2010, when the right hon. Member for Doncaster North (Edward Miliband) was Secretary of State. On 13 December, we launched the latest round of our flagship renewable energy deployment scheme, contracts for difference.

    We will see commitments from industry that will achieve a 60 megatonne reduction in UK greenhouse gas emissions, including 15 megatonnes through the progressive decarbonisation of UK production over the period to 2030, which puts the sector on a path to deliver a net zero basin by 2050.

    The right hon. Member for Leeds Central (Hilary Benn) made his usual quality speech. He said that there are not enough heat pumps—of course there are not. The role of the Government, though, is not to provide a heat pump for every home but to stimulate the private sector heat pump market, so that it can provide that solution. He asked where our plan was for 10, 15 or 20 years’ time. The answer is the net zero strategy, which we published back in October and which the Climate Change Committee says is a leader in the world.

    Labour has split energy from climate change; the right hon. Member for Doncaster North is the person who combined them, and now the Labour Front Bench has split them, which means inevitably it is following a policy of hammering business. Labour is not the party of business; it is the party against business. The hon. Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Alan Brown), who often makes quite acerbic interventions on other Opposition parties’ policies—I sometimes wish he would probe his own party’s policies as well as he probes those of others—asked whether the Labour Front Bench had spoken to anybody in the sector, and there was no answer. We did not hear anything about whether it had engaged with anybody in the sector.


  • 19 Jan 2022: Oral Answers to Questions

    Through the North Sea transition deal, the oil and gas industry has committed to early targets for offshore production emissions reductions, with 10% reductions by 2025, 25% by 2027 and 50% by 2030, setting out the path to achieve a net zero basin by 2050.


    My right hon. Friend makes a very strong case. Obviously the answer lies with renewables, but it also makes no sense for us to increase imports of volatile-price fossil fuels, which come to us with higher embedded emissions. That is why we have the North Sea transition deal—not to close down the industry, but to work with the sector to make the transition to the net zero future that we all signed up to.


    Of course the Government are fully aware of these issues; there is no change in the Government’s position. We published the net zero strategy and we are seeing it come through. We are delivering on all of the aspects. My right hon. Friend the COP President just mentioned the climate change compatibility checkpoint. We are delivering on all of these things with haste.


    The UK can become a world leader in technology to capture and store harmful emissions away from the atmosphere. In the net zero strategy, the UK Government announced their ambition to capture and store 20 to 30 megatonnes of CO 2 per annum by 2030, with 10 megatonnes to be delivered by track-2 clusters.


  • 19 Jan 2022: Small Modular Reactors and Energy Security


    Two months ago, the UK hosted the COP26 summit in Glasgow, which focused the world’s minds on the role of clean energy in tackling climate change. It was there that I had the privilege of opening a nuclear innovation event at the UK’s presidency pavilion, highlighting the largest ever nuclear presence at COP. It is great to be joined by the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, my hon. Friend the Member for Faversham and Mid Kent (Helen Whately), who I know has just come back from a visit to Hinkley Point C, and is also an enthusiast for the sector.

    In April last year, the UK Government set into law the world’s most ambitious climate change target, through our carbon budget 6, in which we aim to achieve a 78% reduction in our emissions by 2035 compared to 1990 levels. In order to achieve this commitment, the UK will need to use a wide range of green technologies, of which nuclear is undoubtedly going to play a key role. The recently published net zero strategy sets out how the UK will deliver our commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050, and it is clear that nuclear is an important part of our plans to achieve that.

    In addition to investment in SMRs, the Government plan to invest in the advanced modular reactor research, development and demonstration programme, which aims to enable an AMR demonstration by the early 2030s. Based on our own analysis as well as other public reports, the focus of the programme is on high-temperature gas reactors, which I announced at the Nuclear Industry Association’s conference in November. In addition to low-carbon electricity generation, HTGRs have the potential to produce very high-temperature heat, which could be used for increasingly efficient production of low-carbon hydrogen—as has already been referred to by various Members—to help decarbonise industrial processed heat, or even for synthetic fuel production.

    To conclude, the Government fully support the development of small modular reactors and the exciting opportunities, both in terms of energy security and of reaching net zero, that new nuclear can offer the UK. We have demonstrated our serious interest in building nuclear capacity in the UK, and over the past year we have made decisions that boost investors’ and businesses’ confidence in investing in UK nuclear. From the energy White Paper to our landmark net zero strategy and funding for small modular reactors, we have shown our dedication to net zero and nuclear. I once again congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Ynys Môn on an excellent debate.


  • 11 Jan 2022: Energy Transition Projects

    The hon. Gentleman will not be surprised to hear that I disagree with him on the independence referendum, but we engage regularly with the Scottish cluster and Acorn, and I met Storegga before Christmas. I have also met with my hon. Friend the Member for Banff and Buchan (David Duguid), the MP for St Fergus, and have been to his constituency recently. Just to be absolutely clear, the Scottish cluster is the reserve cluster, which means that it met the eligibility criteria and performed to a good standard in the evaluation criteria. We also recently published our track 2 update for CCUS, which highlights our increased ambition of capturing and storing 20 to 30 megatonnes per annum by 2030. I think there is a great future there for the Scottish cluster.


  • 11 Jan 2022: Oral Answers to Questions

    I thank my right hon. Friend for that further question, and I totally agree with him on where the SNP is. On energy in general, SNP Members are not the friends of Scotland on nuclear or the North sea. He is also absolutely right on hydrogen. On the Government Benches we recognise that net zero needs nuclear for security of supply, to meet our decarbonisation targets and to support new industries such as hydrogen.


    I repeat my disappointment. Scotland has an amazing nuclear past and I would like it to have a very good nuclear future, but unfortunately the Scottish Government stand in the way. This country needs nuclear, and net zero needs nuclear. Hinkley is being built, and we are very confident of the numbers and of building new nuclear power stations in this country. That is what the Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill—which secured its Third Reading yesterday with the support of the official Opposition but not of the SNP or the Lib Dems—is all about.


    I absolutely accept that invitation. There is no more passionate an advocate of new nuclear in this House than my hon. Friend. Nuclear is going to be a vital part of our future. The UN Economic Commission for Europe recently said that international climate objectives would not be met if nuclear power were excluded, so it is a key part of our net-zero ambitions.


  • 11 Jan 2022: Household Energy Bills: VAT


    Our long-term strategy is about finding effective replacements for fossil fuels that are reliable and do not expose us to the volatility of international commodity markets. That means investment in renewables, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingswood (Chris Skidmore) pointed out, and in nuclear energy, which will be key to achieving that aim. In both areas we have made massive progress since 2010 and continue to do so. As of 2020, renewables contributed 43% of our electricity mix. I checked who the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change was in 2010: of course, it was the right hon. Member for Doncaster North. Renewables are now six times the level they were when he was Secretary of State, when they contributed just 7% in that year.

    We have had a very good debate. If I may say so, we had some fantastic contributions from my own side of the House. My hon. Friends the Members for Birmingham, Northfield (Gary Sambrook) and for Stoke-on-Trent South (Jack Brereton) spoke passionately about Government help for residents in their constituencies. My hon. Friend the Member for Brecon and Radnorshire (Fay Jones) spoke about her rural constituency and again highlighted support from the Government in her area. My hon. Friends the Members for Ashfield (Lee Anderson) and for Mansfield (Ben Bradley) forensically and skilfully took apart the Labour motion. We had thoughtful speeches on net zero from my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingswood and my hon. Friends the Members for Devizes (Danny Kruger) and for North Norfolk (Duncan Baker), who also looked in detail at the workings of the energy market.


  • 16 Dec 2021: Nuclear Third Party Liability Framework

    Nuclear has a key role to play in our transition to net zero by 2050. Nuclear safety and regulation are of paramount importance and the risk of any accidents in the UK remain very low. Nevertheless, ratification of the 2004 protocols mean that in the highly unlikely event of an incident, an increased level of compensation would be available to victims and the period during which claims can be brought would be extended. The 2004 protocols, once in force, increase operator liability in the event of a nuclear incident from the current €140 million to a maximum of €1.2 billion over a period of five years and extend the period for which claims can be made from 10 to 30 years.


  • 15 Dec 2021: Draft Companies (Strategic Report) (Climate-related Financial Disclosure) Regulations 2021


    The hon. Member for Airdrie and Shotts raised the importance of COP26 in Glasgow, which vindicates the UK Government’s decision to host that conference. We are delighted with the success of COP26, particularly in areas such as financial disclosure, which builds on a lot of the activities that the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the whole of Government have been leading this year, including through the G7. COP26 tied all that in very well, which vindicated our decision to host it.


  • 30 Nov 2021: Offshore Renewables Wind Sector


    We know that renewable electricity generation is essential to the decarbonisation of the power sector and the UK’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reach net zero, which was recently discussed in Scotland at COP26 in Glasgow, which I was delighted to attend on behalf of the UK Government. Offshore wind will be a vitally important tool in creating the low-cost, net zero energy system of the future.

    Let me deal with a few of the points raised. I will first stress that these decisions taken by the UK Government have brought huge benefits. When I was at the Treasury in 2015, a lot of the decision making behind contracts for difference was controversial. Working with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, as it then was, we thought that the CfD regime would lead to a big boost in the UK’s renewable energy and, by scaling up, would reduce costs, both of the energy produced and that of building the infrastructure. We turned out to be right on that.

    Offshore wind has a central role in the Government’s decarbonisation and levelling-up ambitions. Developing the economic benefits that the UK derives from offshore wind took prime position in the Prime Minister’s 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution, published this time last year. The 10-point plan also includes a target to deploy 1 GW of floating wind in the UK by 2030, as a stepping-stone to further growth through the 2030s and beyond.


  • 30 Nov 2021: Community Energy Schemes


    I will start by reassuring the House that the Government recognise the role community and locally owned renewable energy schemes can and do play in supporting the UK’s national net zero targets. Since the last debate we published, on 19 October the net zero strategy, which has already been referred to and sets out our road map of how we will get to net zero by 2050 and the staging posts in between. We understand that the value of community energy is not just in delivering energy projects that stimulate clean growth. Projects such as the community energy cafés run in south-east London support the most vulnerable in society by providing impartial domestic energy advice. Community groups can also act as the catalyst for raising awareness of both the energy system and wider environmental issues. They can be a catalyst in the promotion of behaviour change, which we all know is vital to reaching net zero.

    I know Members will agree with me that there is already some excellent work under way in the community energy sector. We have heard many examples today, but I will add one: Swaffham Prior is an off-grid gas village of around 300 homes in east Cambridgeshire that is being supported by its community land trust to bring renewable energy to the village through installing a heat network. This will make it one of the first villages in the UK to do so.

    I mentioned the net zero strategy, but we have also heard about a lot of different fantastic schemes from across the United Kingdom. As a Government, we fund the rural community energy fund. Delivered through local net zero hubs, this £10 million scheme supports rural communities in England to develop renewable energy projects that provide economic and social benefits to the community. Since its launch in 2019, the fund has received 1,668 enquiries, 203 applications and awarded millions of pounds worth of grants to projects focusing on a variety of technologies, including solar, wind, low-carbon heating and electric vehicle charging. It includes funding for the constituency of the hon. Member for Bath. She referred earlier to Bath and West Community Energy, which has received more than £92,000 from the rural community energy fund for feasibility grants to develop three community solar projects.

    Ofgem also supports community energy projects and, following a consultation process, has announced that from February 2022 it plans to welcome applications from community-interest groups, co-operative societies and community-benefit societies to the industry voluntary redress scheme. That will allow groups to apply for funds to deliver energy-related projects that support energy consumers in vulnerable situations, support decarbonisation and will benefit people in England, Scotland and Wales.

    More widely, through the introduction of UK-wide growth funding schemes, such as the community renewal fund, levelling-up fund and the towns fund—all very important new funds—the Government are enabling local areas to tackle net zero goals in ways that best suit their needs. I am aware that those schemes may be used to support the development of community energy schemes, which I highlight for all right hon. and hon. Members. For example, the towns fund has awarded more than £23.6 million to Glastonbury town, including to the Glastonbury clean energy project, which aims to generate renewable energy for use by many of the other projects in the plan, as well as other local businesses and residents.

    To take forward the vital work on community energy, we committed in the net zero strategy to reintroduce the community energy contact group. That group will provide a single, dedicated forum for community energy groups to engage and co-operate with Government on key policy issues. That could obviously include discussion of the recommendations already referred to, made by the Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry into community energy. I hope that group will strengthen outcomes for both the sector and the Government.


  • 25 Nov 2021: Tidal Energy Generation: Ringfenced Funding


    It is fair to say, then, that the Government have a sound track record of supporting the tidal stream industry and helping to get it into the position it is in today, on the cusp of commercialisation and with good export potential. This week, however, is an occasion for looking to the future. We were all delighted to hear the Prime Minister announce yesterday at Prime Minister’s questions that the Government will establish a ringfenced budget of £20 million for tidal stream developments in pot 2 of the upcoming fourth contract-for-difference allocation round. The CfD scheme is our flagship mechanism for supporting the cost-effective delivery of renewable energy. Our decision this week will ensure that the nation’s tidal stream innovators get the opportunity they need to bring their cost of energy down, to ramp up the UK’s capture of the abundant energy flowing along our coastlines and to learn the valuable and exportable lessons that come with being the first in the world to deploy a cutting-edge technology at scale. The decision has been warmly welcomed.

    The purpose of the scheme is to support and push for only the most promising and competitive projects in the offing. My Department’s analysis shows that £20 million is optimal for that purpose and that a larger ring-fenced budget would serve neither the interests of the electricity bill payer, nor the interests of the sector itself, which must be pushed to innovate and find ways of bringing down its costs. So, yes, the Government have, this week, delivered for the burgeoning tidal stream industry and it is for the developers now to really push on and make good on their promises and their potential to demonstrate the value for money and the scalability that we need to see from our renewable energy technologies as we transition to an efficient and net zero-ready power sector.


  • 25 Nov 2021: Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill (Sixth sitting)


    I would like to reassure the hon. Member that the allowed revenue for the project will be calculated by the authority throughout the construction period, thus helping to ensure that the company is spending money efficiently and economically. In response to that part of the new clause looking for detail on capital costs, these will be a key input to a project’s value for money assessment as it goes through relevant approvals. As set out in our consultation on RAB, when assessing the value for money of new nuclear projects, the Government would be focused in particular on whether the project was expected to contribute to the target of net zero emissions by 2050 and deliver security of supply at a lower total electricity system cost for consumers than alternatives without the project, so additional considerations do come into play.


  • 22 Nov 2021: Whitelee Hydrogen Project

    The project will look to produce hydrogen for storing energy and providing zero-carbon fuel as the country shifts to a clean energy future, and support Glasgow’s ambition to become net zero by 2030.

    In addition, my Department is also supporting the development of hydrogen skills and standards for heating, with an additional £2.25 million in new Government funding. This funding, under the net zero innovation portfolio, will see the British Standards Institution (BSI) develop technical standards, and a consortium comprising Energy and Utility Skills and the Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers will establish new standards and training specifications to facilitate the training of hydrogen gas installers.

    As part of the UK Government’s plans to decarbonise the UK’s power system by 2035, they are accelerating the transition to clean, renewable energy—however, the unpredictable nature of renewables like wind power means that energy can be produced when it is not needed by the grid. Hydrogen energy can be stored for long periods of time and in large quantities, making it a vital part of the green energy future, as it provides the opportunity to convert excess renewable energy into a fuel for use across the economy. This means that hydrogen storage will play a key role in the shift towards a fully decarbonised energy system, which is crucial to the UK reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050.


  • 18 Nov 2021: Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill (Fourth sitting)


    This clause, through subsection (1), gives power to the Secretary of State to designate by notice a nuclear company to benefit from a RAB. The later provisions of this part mean that the designation power can only be exercised with appropriate protections and transparency of decision making. Subsection (3) sets out the criteria a company must meet to be eligible for designation: that the Secretary of State must be of the opinion that, as previously debated, the nuclear project is sufficiently advanced to justify the designation, and that designating the company in relation to the project is likely to result in value for money. In considering value for money, it is expected that the Secretary of State will take into account considerations such as the cost to consumers and the impact on our net zero obligations. As set out in clause 3, the Secretary of State will be obliged to publish details on the process that he will follow when assessing whether the criteria are met.


  • 16 Nov 2021: Oral Answers to Questions

    Our most recent contract for difference allocation round is the biggest ever. Tidal stream will be eligible to compete in pot 2 of the round. With regards to nuclear power, this Government see a vital role for new nuclear. We have just started considering the Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill in Committee and, of course, we understand that net zero needs nuclear.


  • 9 Nov 2021: Nuclear Power Funding


    Our net zero strategy puts the UK on a trajectory to meet carbon budget 6: a 78% reduction in emissions over 1990 levels by 2035. Ambitious goals are vital as we are currently hosting COP26 and mobilising global efforts to tackle climate change. Integral to achieving carbon budget 6 is our new ambition to fully decarbonise the power sector by 2035, also referred to by my hon. Friend. This will mean the UK is entirely powered by low-carbon electricity, subject to security of supply.

    The future energy system will be predominantly made up of wind, solar and other renewable power, but as was clearly set out in the net zero strategy, following the Prime Minister’s 10-point plan and the energy White Paper, and as I was pleased to reiterate last week at COP26, nuclear has a crucial role to play in meeting our targets for reducing emissions and ensuring our energy security. It is a source of continuous reliable and low-carbon electricity which, as my hon. Friend said, has been a central part of our electricity system for 65 years, since the 1955 White Paper and the first civil nuclear power plant anywhere in the world at Calder Hall. Nuclear energy acts as a firm foundation for the remarkable progress we have made in decarbonising our power sector, reducing the UK’s total emissions by 44% since 1990.

    My hon. Friend also referred to the benefits of nuclear power beyond simply keeping the lights on. High-skilled, high-productivity jobs, which are much needed in her constituency, in the civil nuclear sector contribute billions of pounds to the UK economy. More than 60,000 people are employed in a truly national industry with key hubs in Wales, Scotland and across the south, west, east and north of England. With 12 of the UK’s 30 current nuclear reactors scheduled to close between 2022 and 2030, if we are to reach our net zero goals, we need new nuclear power and the reliable, emissions-free electricity it provides.

    The hon. Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire North (Gavin Newlands) made some familiar points. He described the UK Government as being blinkered, but I would say that the same charge might be made against him in letting down communities in Scotland that are reliant on and determined to have nuclear power, with fine nuclear traditions, and electricity customers benefiting from a cheaper, more resilient, lower-carbon electricity system going forward. He asked why the £1.7 billion in the spending review is for Sizewell C. It is not specific to Sizewell C. He said that we do not need nuclear to decarbonise. Well, actually, the United Nations, no less, disagrees with him. The UN Economic Commission for Europe has stated that international climate objectives will not be met if nuclear power is excluded.

    In conclusion, I once again thank my hon. Friend the Member for Ynys Môn for securing this debate. With her constituency in mind, and both the historical and current contributions that Wales makes to the UK nuclear sector, I am excited for the opportunities in Wales overall, and on Ynys Môn in particular, which could be unlocked by the measures that we have described. As I said, new nuclear is crucial to addressing climate change, ensuring our long-term economic security, and supporting national prosperity. I look forward to further engagement as we continue the passage of the Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill.


  • 3 Nov 2021: Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill


    Two weeks ago, on 19 October, the Government published their net zero strategy. It is our vision for a decarbonised economy in 2050 and the policies and proposals that will keep us on course to reach net zero emissions through our five-year carbon budget. It is a strategy that puts the UK on a trajectory to meet carbon budget 6, a 78% reduction in emissions compared with 1990 levels by 2035, as the Prime Ministers reminded us earlier today. These kinds of ambitious goals are vital as we host COP26. Integral to achieving carbon budget 6 is our new ambition to fully decarbonise the power sector by 2035. This will mean that the UK is entirely powered by low-carbon electricity, subject to security of supply. Of course our electricity system must be resilient and affordable, as well as low-carbon. It will predominantly be composed of wind and solar but, as last year’s energy White Paper made clear, a low-cost, reliable system means that renewables will be complemented by technologies that provide power when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining. Large-scale nuclear power plants are the only proven technology available today that is deployed at scale to provide continuous, reliable and low-carbon electricity. Our electricity system needs nuclear power.

    I have good news for my right hon. Friend, which is that the regulated asset base model that we are introducing here can be used for further nuclear power plants, including small modular reactors and other key nuclear innovations. He will also know that, in the net zero review, we launched a £120 million fund for new nuclear innovations, which will allow us to increase our nuclear commitments and capabilities beyond the existing commitment to one new plant having its investment case in this Parliament.

    I congratulate my right hon. Friend on this landmark Bill, which will help us to reach our net zero targets by 2050. Does he agree that it creates an incredible opportunity to replace the soon-to-be-decommissioned reactor in Hartlepool with a new advanced modular reactor, which could create the high-quality, high-temperature steam that we need for hydrogen production in Teesside?

    I am very grateful to the right hon. Gentleman. We had many a good exchange at that stage, but I want to take him back a little further to when I was Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee. It was pointed out in representations that were made to me that, sometimes, the Government ask the wrong questions. When they say they want nuclear, what they really need are 6 GW baseload. That might be achievable with a mix of technologies and at a cheaper strike price. Hinkley, for instance, is £92 per megawatt-hour, index linked to, I think, 2012 prices. Had that question been asked differently, not stipulating nuclear but asking for 6 GW, the price achieved might have been around £70, saving bill payers, taxpayers and everybody an awful lot. I caution the Government against going down one route and prescribing the technology—the Minister did mention technologies. Perhaps he should say what he needs, which is 6 GW baseload.

    “International climate objectives will not be met if nuclear power is excluded”.

    Taken as a whole, the Bill will ensure that consumers across Great Britain will benefit from a cheaper, more resilient and lower-carbon electricity system that is funded in a fair and affordable way. I hope that Members will agree that this is an important and timely piece of legislation. Recent increases in gas prices have demonstrated the key role that reliable low-carbon power through nuclear has to play in our transition to net zero.

    The Bill is a unique opportunity to deliver a trinity of benefits, as it will: help us to create a resilient low-carbon energy system; deliver value for money for consumers; and deliver and create thousands of well-paid jobs across the country. I hope that Members will take the next step towards net zero and levelling up the whole UK. I commend the Bill to the House.


  • 3 Nov 2021: Draft Green Gas Support Scheme Regulations 2021


    I thank the hon. Member for Southampton, Test and my hon. Friend the Member for Broadland for their contributions, and other Members for being here to debate this important issue. To meet net zero, virtually all heat in buildings will need to be decarbonised. Moving away from burning fossil fuels for heating presents enormous opportunities for jobs, growth and levelling up.

    The scheme will help to meet commitments made in the 2019 spring statement and the 2020 Budget to increase the proportion of green gas in the grid. It will promote a circular economy by encouraging the use of domestic and industrial food waste to heat our homes and businesses, and it will contribute to achieving short-term carbon budgets in our broader target of net zero emissions by 2050. Additionally, the scheme will support high-quality jobs in the renewable energy sector, as well the development of the diversification of the rural economy, in line with the Government’s overall agenda.


  • 21 Oct 2021: Climate Change Committee Progress Report 2021


    Of course it is vital that we focus on clean growth and the Government’s vision for transitioning to a net zero economy. This has been a very useful debate, with a very high degree of consensus, which of course the Government welcome.

    First, the Government welcome the Climate Change Committee’s 2021 “Progress in reducing emissions” report, which highlights our successes in setting an ambitious climate mitigation agenda while also providing healthy challenge to our progress to net zero by 2050. The point of having this kind of Committee is for it to keep challenging the Government and to ensure that the Government are straining every possible muscle to get to that target and get there in good time.

    The report correctly emphasises that the journey to net zero is not yet half-completed and that this decade is the decisive one for tackling climate change, which Britain must take a leading role in. Of course, that is why on Tuesday we published our net zero strategy, which has been referred to many times; I welcome the Opposition’s praise for my officials and my ministerial team for the work that they have put into it. I know that a lot of my team have been working very long hours to get the strategy out there and to do so on time.

    The strategy delivers a comprehensive set of measures to support and capitalise on the UK’s transition to net zero by 2050. It outlines measures to transition to a green and sustainable future, and to help businesses and consumers to move to clean power, supporting hundreds of thousands of well-paid jobs and leveraging up to £90 billion worth of private investment by 2030.

    We have already set out a lot about our journey to net zero. Over the past year alone, we have published the Prime Minister’s 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution, the energy White Paper, the North sea transition deal, the industrial decarbonisation strategy, the transport decarbonisation plan, the hydrogen strategy and, most recently, our heat and buildings strategy.

    Would the Minister be able to provide us with some helpful guidance on the production of those documents, and set it against what the Climate Change Committee has been doing with its carbon budgets and so on? Does he consider that as a result of those documents being published and their contents, we are now on course to meet the terms of the sixth carbon budget?

    We have just unveiled a landmark commitment to decarbonise the UK’s electricity system by 2035, to help us build a secure home-grown energy sector that is not reliant on fossil fuels and exposure to volatile wholesale energy prices, which as we know are very much in the news at the moment. However, the science could not be clearer: by the middle of this century, the world needs to reduce emissions to as close to zero as possible, with the small amount remaining sucked up through natural carbon sinks such as forests and relatively new technologies such as carbon capture. We are proud to lead the world in ending our contribution to climate change, not just because it is the right thing to do, but because we are determined to seize the unprecedented economic opportunity it brings. We want to build back better from the pandemic by building back greener and levelling up our country with new high-skilled, high-wage, sustainable jobs in every part of the United Kingdom. Those jobs will be spread across the UK, with specialists in low-carbon fuels in Northern Ireland, low-carbon hydrogen in Sheffield, electric vehicle battery production in the north-east of England, green finance in London, more engineers in Wales, and offshore wind technicians in Scotland.

    The strategy builds on all the progress that the UK has already made. In June 2021, the UK Government set the sixth carbon budget at 965 megatonnes of CO 2 equivalent, a world-leading target that will mean a 78% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2035 compared with 1990 levels. This is in line with the latest science, as the level recommended by our expert advisers at the Climate Change Committee, and is consistent with the Paris agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to well below 2 °C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°. The target would achieve well over half of the required emissions reductions from now to 2050 in the next 15 years.

    Turning to the points raised during the debate, my hon. Friend the Member for South Cambridgeshire has pointed out that a parallel debate on COP26 is taking place in the main Chamber, so anybody watching the debate might wonder why there are not more Members here. The overlap has been considerable. He also rightly pointed out the UK’s huge success—in 2015, we emitted the lowest amount of CO 2 per annum since 1859—and then he got Opposition Members a little bit excited with his reference to the 1926 general strike. I do not think my hon. Friend thought of the 1926 general strike as something we would wish to emulate, but I noted from interventions and comments made by Opposition Members that they perhaps thought it was. It was very important that my hon. Friend quoted the 2019 figure, because emissions obviously went down quite a bit during the pandemic, so it is important that we look at a more robust figure, such as that from 2019. As he said, it was the biggest decline in the whole of the G20 since 1990: we emit less per person than the EU average, and less than Denmark or Norway. All of those were incredibly strong points.

    On peatland, my hon. Friend rightly pointed out the Climate Change Committee’s recommendation to restore 67,000 hectares. Currently, only 32,000 hectares have been restored. We are committed to restoring 35,000 hectares by 2025 and 280,000 hectares by 2050. Other points included consumer choice and diet style and those also cropped up later in the debate, as well as the importance of nuclear power. I noticed that two Opposition MPs here today, the hon. Member for Southampton, Test (Dr Whitehead) and the hon. Member for Rochdale (Tony Lloyd), were first elected in 1997, running on a manifesto of ending new nuclear power plants in this country. It was part of the new Labour manifesto of 1997, which I think did so much damage to the nuclear industry in this country and effectively cost us a lost generation in nuclear capability.

    That is a slightly open-ended question, as the hon. Gentleman knows our commitment is to the existing Hinkley Point C facility. We are committed to bringing forward one further station for its investment case in this Parliament and on Tuesday we also allocated £120 million for a new nuclear innovation fund, which increases the optionality. What are the options for the UK in nuclear capability and capacity going forward? I just wish we had a more positive attitude on nuclear from the SNP. Scotland is part of this country’s nuclear heritage and it disappoints me continuously to see the SNP not seeing the opportunities available for Scotland in so many of our energy and climate change programmes.

    On transport, the hon. Member for Rochdale makes some good points. Let me tell him what we are doing on transport: the zero-emission vehicle mandate, improving consumer choice; further funding of £620 million for zero-emission vehicle grants; allocating a further £350 million of our up to £1 billion automotive transformation fund to support the electrification of UK vehicles; £3 billion on integrated bus networks; and a £2 billion investment to enable half of journeys in towns and cities to be cycled or walked by 2030. Those are big commitments.

    The hon. Gentleman talked about homes and the boiler upgrade scheme. It is exciting, but slightly buried in all the news about net zero overnight, that one of the energy companies—it is Octopus Energy, but I expect others are either there or will follow—said that it is confident that by April next year, the installation price of a new heat pump will be equivalent to the price of a natural gas boiler. This is one of the important points about what the Government can do. The Government will not come round to everybody’s home, across the whole UK, and install a heat pump. That would be impractical and it would potentially be beyond the means of the Government and the taxpayer to do that. What we are doing is kick-starting a market and kick-starting private sector innovation to come along and do it, and we are already having an impact in what we are doing on heat pumps.

    Local government and local delivery are incredibly important. It is very important that local leadership is seen on climate change. I see it from Mayors such as Andy Street and Ben Houchen and also some Labour Mayors. I think Andy Burnham, the hon. Gentleman’s local Mayor, has been quite good in this space as well. It is important that we all see climate change and taking action on climate change as a cross-party issue involving all the tiers of government and all the available parts of government across the whole United Kingdom.

    On energy usage, the hon. Member for Rochdale asked what more the Government can do to address consumption and reduce emissions. The heat and buildings strategy addresses consumption in homes. For example, we provide increased support for low-income households through the home upgrade grant. We are committed to upgrading fuel-poor homes to energy performance certificate band C by 2030 where reasonably practicable. And there is our social housing decarbonisation fund, with £800 million provided. I think that the hon. Gentleman also asked about hydrogen investment. The net zero strategy confirms the industrial decarbonisation and hydrogen revenue support scheme, supporting blue and green H 2 production. It could lead to 1.5 GW of new capacity.

    Again, that is a temptation down a particular road, but let me say this. The Government are absolutely clear that all further airport expansions must be consistent with our climate change obligations. Government policy is absolutely clear on that.

    Nothing in a trade agreement prevents our ability to regulate environmentally or prevents the UK fulfilling its climate change obligations. The hon. Lady asked about COP26 leaders, and I can give her an update. We have a stellar array of world leaders coming for COP26, including President Biden and the four Ms—Prime Minister Modi, Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia, President Macron and Chancellor Merkel. We have leaders of medium-sized economies who will be really important. I spoke earlier today with the Vietnamese Energy Minister Dien and the Vietnamese Prime Minister Chinh is coming. Vietnam is an important player, as well as an important ally and friend to the UK. Its current plans are to double coal usage over the next decade, which will not set the right tone at COP26. We are looking forward to welcoming a wide variety of leaders, some of which are close friends and allies of the UK, and developing economies, of which Vietnam is just one, are also coming.

    In terms of the carbon border adjustment mechanism, we watch all the proposals very closely. We need to make sure they are World Trade Organisation compatible, that they are not a disguised form of protectionism and that they do not discriminate unnecessarily against developing countries. Departmental policy decisions are consistent with net zero. We have established two Cabinet Committees dedicated to climate change. The Environment Bill requires the Government to reflect environmental issues in national policy making through consideration of the five environmental principles.

    Where are the two EV buses? We have delivered the national bus strategy, investing £12 billion in local transport systems over the current Parliament and delivering 4,000 new zero-emission buses.

    I have already outlined the support we are giving to the housing sector overall. If the hon. Gentleman or any other hon. Member wants to write to me with a specific proposal, I am happy to look at it. I have to say, I was not entirely sure about his recent history—he mentioned COP21 in relation to the election of Donald Trump, which of course came after that, but I may be misremembering his speech, so I will not go down that road.

    I am going to make progress. On Germany’s net-zero strategy, I shared a platform with the German ambassador last night, and both of our countries are very supportive of each other’s policies on net zero and the environment. We consider ourselves to be world leaders in this space. On retrofitting, we are committed to supporting businesses and households to upgrade energy efficiency in buildings.

    I have not had time to get on the hotline to them. On the point about the additional members of Ofgem working in Glasgow, that is very welcome and I hope they will not have a long commute—that would not be good for climate change overall. The more serious point is about what funding is coming to the Scottish Government to run their own scheme.

    I welcome the hon. Gentleman’s overall support for the UK’s targets and ambitions. He mentioned reforms to the electricity market. We recently published a call for evidence on actions to align capacity markets with net zero and actions to encourage the participation of more low-carbon capacity. We are committed to accelerating the deployment of low-cost renewable generation through the contracts for difference regime and by undertaking the review of the frequency of CfD options.

    The hon. Member for Southampton, Test, in a comprehensive speech, congratulated us on our success in decarbonising electricity generation. I go back to the commitment given to complete that process by 2035. He said that we are ignoring other areas. I do not think that is fair and I do not think that is the case. He talked about adaptation. We are currently developing a national adaptation programme, which is due in 2023. DEFRA published the response to the Climate Change Committee’s adaptation report, which goes into more detail on our progress on adapting to climate change.

    On fossil fuels and net zero, of course net zero does not necessarily mean zero residual emissions in all sectors of the economy. It is, after all, a net zero figure. In aviation, agriculture and industry it may not be feasible, practical or cost-effective to eliminate all emissions.

    The hon. Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun asked, “Where is the Treasury review of the cost of net zero?” I have news for him—I emailed it to him about 15 minutes ago. It was published on Monday night. It is entitled, “Net Zero Review: Analysis exploring the key issues”. There are 135 pages for him to digest before I see him next, when he can ask me questions about it. It was published at the same time as, or just before, the net zero strategy.

    In the past few years, the Government have gone further than ever before to ensure that the climate is at the heart of our decision making. We have taken new approaches to embed net zero in spending decisions, including requiring Departments to include greenhouse gas emissions in their spending review bids and their impact on meeting carbon budgets and net zero. As I already said, we have established two Cabinet Committees. The integrated review reflects that and ensures that it is the Government’s No. 1 international priority. We are also using the Environment Bill to require the Government to reflect all these issues in national policy.

    We are committed to taking a whole-system approach to the net zero challenge, ensuring that we understand and can navigate the complex ways that our climate goals will interact with other priorities for the country. As I mentioned, we published the heat and buildings strategy, which sets out the required actions to decarbonise buildings over the next decade, helping meet near-term carbon budgets and getting us on track for net zero by 2050.

    I will finish, as I have been speaking for almost half an hour. The net zero strategy sets out clear principles on how we will engage the public and support them to make green choices. We will explore how to enhance public-facing climate content and advice on and our Simple Energy Advice service to provide homeowners with advice for decarbonising their homes, including tailored retrofit advice in local areas.

    I thank the CCC once again for its expertise and advice in producing its annual report. The Government are committed to delivering a net zero economy, and we welcome the committee’s contribution to this obligation. The net zero strategy sets out a roadmap to cut emissions and create new jobs across the whole country. It comes as the UK prepares to host the UN COP26 summit next week, where the Prime Minister will lead by example and call on other world economies to set out their own domestic plans for cutting emissions. Through the strategy, we are accelerating towards more resilient futures, towards our green recovery and towards protecting our planet for this generation and those to come.


  • 20 Oct 2021: Carbon Capture and Storage


    We have already made huge progress in this country on decarbonising the electricity sector. In 2019, greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation were down 13% on 2018 levels and were 72% lower than 1990 levels. Earlier this month, the plan to decarbonise the UK’s electricity system in its entirety by 2035 was confirmed by the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State, to help boost the country’s efforts to achieve its net zero ambitions.

    Carbon capture, usage and storage has a key role to play in decarbonising the electricity system, but its role in supporting our ambitions to reach net zero by 2050 goes further than that. The industrial decarbonisation strategy, which we have already launched, marks the beginning of a process that will see wide deployment of key abatement technologies across industry. CCUS is, obviously, one of those key abatement technologies. It will be vital as we make this transition—something that is already acknowledged in our world-leading North sea transition deal, signed earlier this year.

    The Climate Change Committee has described CCUS as a necessity, not an option, for the transition to net zero. We agree, and that is why in the Prime Minister’s 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution we set out to establish CCUS in at least two industrial sites by the mid-2020s and a further two by 2030 at the latest. CCUS is vital to transforming sectors such as steel—as was ably demonstrated by my hon. Friend the Member for Penistone and Stocksbridge (Miriam Cates)—cement, chemicals and other energy-intensive industries that lack viable alternatives to achieve decarbonisation. This summer we published the UK’s first ever hydrogen strategy, and we are moving forward quickly.

    The net zero strategy, which was published yesterday, confirmed that the Government will set up a new revenue mechanism called the industrial decarbonisation and hydrogen revenue support scheme to fund industrial carbon capture and hydrogen projects, and to provide long-term certainty for private sector investment. The scheme will initially commit to awarding up to £100 million of contracts in 2023, and we will announce a funding envelope in 2022 that will enable us to award the first contracts to CCUS-enabled hydrogen. That was one of the key questions asked by my hon. Friend the Member for South Cambridgeshire. It will provide the certainty required to deploy CCUS at pace and at scale and will form part of a package of Government support, which will include the industrial decarbonisation and hydrogen revenue support fund and the £240 million net zero hydrogen fund.

    To deliver our ambitions, we launched the phase 1 CCUS cluster sequencing process in May this year. Its aim was to provisionally sequence those clusters that are most suited to deployment in the mid-2020s. As we announced yesterday, following the phase 1 assessment, we have identified HyNet and the east coast cluster as track 1 clusters for the mid-2020s, with the Scottish Acorn cluster as a reserve cluster—I will explain what that means in a moment. This puts those places—Teesside, the Humber, Merseyside, north Wales and the north-east of Scotland—among the potential early super-places that will be transformed over the next decade. The track 1 clusters will be taken forward into negotiations, as the start of a process to determine their support under the Government’s CCUS programme. Those negotiations will allow us to confirm whether the clusters are affordable for Government, as well as whether they represent value for money for both the energy consumer and the taxpayer, prior to making final funding decisions.

    “The UK Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan established a commitment to deploy CCUS in a minimum of two industrial clusters by the mid-2020s, and four by 2030 at the latest.”

    Turning to the points raised during the debate, I praise my hon. Friend the Member for South Cambridgeshire, first of all for his excellent introduction. I know he likes his history and his science, and he gave us a masterclass in both. He has been combining the two from the first time he took a call on this topic while on The Times news desk. He is right about the potential for the UK to be a CCUS superpower, given the UK’s geology, geography and economy, and the interaction between those three things. I also thank him for praising this Government for being more committed than any other.


  • 19 Oct 2021: Net Zero Strategy and Heat and Buildings Strategy


    With permission, Mr Speaker, I will make a statement on the net zero strategy and the heat and buildings strategy—but first, if I may, I will congratulate my right hon. Friend the Business Secretary and his wife Harriet on the birth of their daughter on Friday. I can report to the House that both mother and baby are healthy and doing well, as is the Secretary of State. I am sure that the whole House will join me in offering our congratulations. [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear.”]

    The statement is all about future generations as well, because we know that we must act now on climate change. The activities of our economies, communities and societies are changing our environment. If we do not take action now, we will continue to see the worst effects of climate change.

    We have already travelled a significant way down the path to net zero. Between 1990 and 2019, we grew our economy by 78% and cut our emissions by 44%, decarbonising faster than any other G7 country. Since 2010, the UK has quadrupled its renewable electricity generation and reduced carbon emissions in the power generation sector by some 70%. In the past year alone, we have published the Prime Minister’s 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution, the energy White Paper, the North sea transition deal, the industrial decarbonisation strategy, the transport decarbonisation plan, the hydrogen strategy and more. Earlier this month, we unveiled a landmark commitment to decarbonise the UK’s electricity system by 2035.

    But there is still a substantial length of road to travel. We must continue to take decisive action if we are to meet our net zero goal, so today I am pleased to announce two major Government initiatives: the net zero strategy and the heat and buildings strategy. This is not just an environmental transition; it also represents an important economic change, echoing even the explosion in industry and exports in the first industrial revolution more than 250 years ago.

    This plan is also our best route to overcoming current challenges. The current price spikes in gas show the need to reduce our reliance on volatile imported fossil fuels rapidly. Although there is a role for gas as a transition fuel, moving away from imports quickly is in the best interests of bill payers. With our ambitious set of policies, the strategy sets out how we meet carbon budgets 4 and 5 and our nationally determined contribution. It puts us on the path for carbon budget 6 and ultimately on course for net zero by 2050.

    We are now setting up the industrial decarbonisation and hydrogen revenue support scheme to fund these business models and enable the first commercial-scale deployment of low-carbon hydrogen production and industrial carbon capture. We have also announced the HyNet and East Coast clusters as track 1 economic hubs for green jobs.

    We have previously announced that we will end the sale of all new non zero emission road vehicles from 2040, and the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030. The strategy explains that we will also introduce a zero emission vehicle mandate that will deliver on our 2030 commitment to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans.

    To increase the size of our carbon sinks, we will treble the rate at which we are planting new trees in England by the end of the current Parliament. We will be a global leader in developing and deploying the green technologies of the future. The strategy announces a £1.5 billion fund to support net zero innovation projects, which provides finance for low-carbon technologies across the areas of the Prime Minister’s “Ten Point Plan”.

    We have also published our heat and buildings strategy, which sets out our plans to significantly cut carbon emissions from the UK’s 30 million homes and workplaces in a simple way that remains affordable and fair for British households. We will gradually move away from fossil fuel heating and improve the energy performance of our buildings through measures such as grants of up to £5,000 towards the costs of heat pumps, a further £800 million for the social housing decarbonisation fund to upgrade social housing, and a further £950 million for a home upgrade grant scheme to improve and decarbonise low-income homes off the gas grid.

    The year 2021 is a vital year for action on climate change. In just two weeks’ time, the UK Government will host the crucial United Nations COP26 conference in Glasgow. As the Prime Minister has said, it needs to be a “turning point for humanity”, the point at which we pull together—and pull our socks up—to keep 1.5 °C in reach. Hosting COP26 will also give the UK a huge opportunity to showcase our world-leading climate credentials and set an example to other countries to raise their own ambitions. The net zero strategy will take centre stage in our display, setting out our vision for a UK that is cleaner, greener, and more innovative.


  • 19 Oct 2021: Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage

    I am today providing an update on the UK’s CCUS cluster sequencing process which was launched in May this year. Carbon capture, usage and storage, or CCUS, will be essential to meeting our net zero ambitions and will be an exciting new industry to capture the carbon we continue to emit and revitalise the birthplaces of the first industrial revolution.

    The Prime Minister’s ten-point plan established a commitment to deploy CCUS in a minimum of two industrial clusters by the mid-2020s, and four by 2030 at the latest. Our aim is to use CCUS technology to capture and store 20 to 30 MtCO2 per year by 2030, forming the foundations for future investment and potential export opportunities. CCUS will be crucial for industrial decarbonisation, low-carbon power, engineered greenhouse gas removal technologies and delivering our 5GW by 2030 low-carbon hydrogen production ambition.

    Our cluster sequencing process, which has, through the CCS infrastructure fund, £1 billion to provide industry with the certainty required to deploy CCUS at pace and at scale, has completed the first phase of the evaluation of the five cluster submissions received by my Department.

    I am today confirming that the Hynet and East Coast clusters have been confirmed as Track 1 clusters for the mid-2020s and will be taken forward into Track 1 negotiations. If the clusters represent value for money for the consumer and the taxpayer then subject to final decisions of Ministers, they will receive support under the Government’s CCUS programme. We are also announcing the Scottish cluster as a reserve cluster if a back-up is needed. A reserve cluster is one which met the eligibility criteria and performed to a good standard against the evaluation criteria. As such, we will continue to engage with the Scottish Cluster throughout phase 2 of the sequencing process, to ensure it can continue its development and planning. This means that if Government choose to discontinue engagement with a cluster in Track 1, we can engage with this reserve cluster instead.

    Deploying CCUS will be a significant undertaking; these are new major infrastructure projects for a new sector of the economy and carry with them significant risks to deliver by the mid-2020s. Government will continue to play a role in providing long-term certainty to these projects to manage these risks and bring forward the UK’s first CCUS clusters.

    We remain committed to helping all industrial clusters to decarbonise as we work to reach net zero emissions by 2050, and we are clear that CCUS will continue to play a key role in this process. Consequently, the Government continue to be committed to Track 2 enabling 10Mtpa capacity operational by 2030. This puts these places—Teesside, the Humber, Merseyside, north Wales and the north-east of Scotland—among the potential early super-places which will be transformed over the next decade.


  • 18 Oct 2021: Investment in Green Projects

    This major green investment boost helps to drive forward the Government’s ambitions to make the UK a global leader in green technology and finance. It includes more than £650 million in advancing offshore wind this year alone, supporting almost 3,600 jobs across the Humber and North-East, and over £900 million in accelerating the shift to zero emissions vehicles. As part of this Envision AESC will invest over £400 million in battery manufacturing, for example, as part of a £1 billion project with Nissan and Sunderland Council to create a flagship electric vehicle hub. ENI Spa has invested more than £400 million in offshore wind.

    This week’s global investment summit in London is expected to attract almost 200 leading industry figures from around the world to invest in the best of UK green business and innovation. Securing private investment for clean technology is a core part of the Government’s strategy to meet our world-leading emissions reductions targets over the next decade and achieve net zero by 2050. Our upcoming net zero strategy, to be published this week, builds on the Ten Point Plan, setting out how we will deliver on our net zero commitments, giving businesses the certainty they need to invest.

    Kicking off the biggest-ever round of our flagship renewable energy scheme for low carbon electricity—contracts for difference—with £200 million for offshore wind projects and £24 million for floating offshore wind.

    Publishing the hydrogen strategy to grow the UK hydrogen economy, consulting on design of the £240 million net zero hydrogen fund, and announcing funding of seven real-world hydrogen transport pilots.

    Publishing our transport decarbonisation plan and national bus strategy, as well as supporting Coventry to become UK’s first all-electric bus city and consulting on world-leading pledge to end the sale of all new, polluting road vehicles by 2040 and net zero aviation emissions by 2050. This is on top of more than 300 new walking and cycling schemes.

    Launching the £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, providing funding for low-carbon technologies and systems across the areas of the ten point plan.

    Launching our landmark North sea transition deal and industrial decarbonisation strategy.


  • 21 Sep 2021: Oral Answers to Questions

    Ahead of COP26, we will publish a net zero strategy. This will set out our vision for transitioning to a net zero economy and outline our path to meet net zero by 2050. Ahead of this, we have already published important sector strategies and made major green investments in key technologies, including a £240 million net zero hydrogen fund and a £1 billion fund for carbon capture.


    I thank the hon. Lady for her question. Of course, we look carefully at what the Climate Change Committee has recommended at all times, and we are in the process of meeting last year’s recommendations very well. I can tell her that the climate checkpoint will apply to all future licensing rounds. Cambo is of course already licensed, and projects that are already licensed are already accounted for in our projection of emissions from future oil and gas production. So those emissions are already accounted for in our plans.


    I thank my right hon. Friend for his question. Referring back to the Climate Change Committee progress report, I read an interesting comment in it at the weekend while I was learning into my new brief. It states:


    We, of course, deliver relief schemes to reduce the cumulative impact of some energy and climate change policies on industrial electricity prices for eligible energy-intensive industries and sectors, such as steel, chemicals, cement, ceramics, paper and glass. I know the sector well from my previous role at the Department for International Trade, and of course I would be ready to meet my hon. Friend, the brilliant Stoke Conservative team of other MPs and the British Ceramic Confederation.


    The hon. Gentleman’s talk of Scotland being short-changed on renewables is entirely wrong. Scotland is a massive part of our renewables offer, today and going forward. Secondly, this is a competitive process. Carbon capture, utilisation and storage is a key plank of the Prime Minister’s 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution. So of course we look at CCUS and the potential it offers, but this is a competitive process and it would not be right at this point to pass specific comment on the project.


    The hon. Lady will know the course of that scheme through her important work as Chair of the Public Accounts Committee. She will also know that we are committed to publishing a heat and buildings strategy in the run-up to COP, and she will just have to wait and see what is in it. It is incredibly important that we take strong action to make sure that our public and private building stock remains sustainable for the future and makes its contribution as we move forward to net zero and our chairing of COP in November.


    The Government are carefully considering the Climate Change Committee’s progress report and will respond to it in full as part of our forthcoming net zero strategy ahead of COP26. That strategy, which will outline our path to meet net zero by 2050, will contain policies and proposals that will allow the Government to respond substantively to the report’s recommendations.


    “The UK has been a strong contributor to international climate finance”.


    The hon. Gentleman has managed to pack a lot into that question. Let me try to answer it in three ways. First, when it comes to the heat and buildings strategy, he will just have to wait until we publish it. We are doing the right thing. Secondly, when it comes to energy price rises, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State pointed out at great length the action we are taking to protect customers, including vulnerable customers, with the rest of the support that the Government provide. Thirdly, when it comes to the Climate Change Committee, we have done very well on achieving, for example, last year’s recommendations. Actually we have achieved in full or in part 40 of the Committee’s 92 recommendations last year; 32 are already on their way. We are looking forward to responding as well to this year’s recommendations.


  • 15 Jul 2021: Future Trade Deals: Environmental Standards

    We are not currently negotiating a trade agreement with Brazil. We follow the position in Brazil very closely, and we engage strongly on a bilateral basis on all of these issues with the Brazilian Government. We have very good diplomatic representation not just in Brasilia but across different parts of Brazil, to make sure that the UK position and the importance of deforestation for the UK, particularly in this COP26 year, is upheld.


  • 25 Nov 2020: UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement


    I am very grateful to my right hon. Friend. Does he agree that this important free trade agreement is the first of several key UK-Asia goals over the next year, including accession to the trans-Pacific partnership, dialogue partner status with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, several bilateral market access initiatives and partnership of the climate change summit in Glasgow? Altogether, this will bring alive the determined strategy of global Britain.

    The hon. Member for Leeds North West (Alex Sobel) spoke about the importance of COP 26 and climate, and slightly ridiculed the idea of our joining the CPTPP. He claimed that Britain owned the Pitcairn Islands. Well, it is not the Pitcairn Islands but the 11 members of the CPTPP that have welcomed the UK’s interest in applying to join—countries such as Japan, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and so on.


  • 19 Nov 2020: Japan Trade Agreement: Climate Change Commitments

    The UK-Japan agreement locks in the benefits of the EU-Japan deal, including provisions on climate change such as those that reaffirm our respective commitments to the UN framework convention on climate change and the Paris agreement; those that promote trade in low-carbon goods and services; and those that support co-operation on trade and climate.


    I thank the hon. Lady for that question. I ought to add first of all that we really welcomed the announcement that Japan made on Monday, in advance of COP26, that it will be seeking to become carbon neutral by 2050. On her question about ISDS, I will be frank. This country is already party to ISDS with dozens of agreements, but let us recognise that the UK has never lost a case brought against it in ISDS. It is something that is there as much to protect British businesses trading abroad as it is for foreign investors in this country, so her alarmism about ISDS is misplaced.


  • 3 Sep 2020: Environmental Protection Standards: Future Trade Agreements

    I thank the hon. Lady for that question, which I think was very reasonably put, but actually we are doing a huge amount right the way across the board. We guaranteed in our manifesto no compromise on environmental standards in our future free trade agreements. The UK global tariff, which we published earlier this year, goes significantly further than the EU’s common external tariff in making sure that environmental goods are low-tariff or tariff-free. There are 104 tariff lines, including steam turbines, vacuum flasks and thermostats. We are also providing export finance in areas of renewable energy, such as solar energy and wind farms in Taiwan.


  • 20 Jul 2020: Trade Bill


    (a) the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change done at New York on 9 May 1992 and Paris Agreement done at Paris on 12 December 2015,

    (a) the target of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050;

    (b) any other target set under or for purposes connected with any enactment (including devolved legislation and retained EU law) relating to the environment or climate change;

    (iv) the need to meet the UK’s international obligations to combat climate change;

    (a) the Paris Agreement adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change;


  • 18 Jun 2020: Free Trade Agreements: Environmental Protection Standards

    The hon. Lady raises a good question. The UK is absolutely committed to our international climate change agenda; that is one of our key objectives. We have not included that because the US is withdrawing from the Paris accord, which we regret. She mentioned the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement. That agreement does include 30 pages of environmental commitments, including, for example, on sustainability, forestry, air quality, marine plastics, multilateral agreements and so on. There is plenty of potential for us to go further on the environment with our US trade agreement.


    It is worth pointing out that nothing in any trade agreement would prevent the UK from reaching its targets under the Paris agreement and to go net zero by 2050—we are the first Government to commit to doing that, and no trade agreement will prevent us from doing that. We remain on the front foot in our advocacy, making sure that the international response remains extremely strong, including through multilateral agreements and the UK contribution to the global climate fund.


  • 11 Jan 2018: Oral Answers to Questions

    Last month, I chaired the second of our joint economic and trade committee talks with Taiwan, and I can tell my hon. Friend that renewable energy was right at the heart of those talks. The UK has the highest capacity market anywhere in the world for offshore wind, and that is of strong interest to the Taiwanese authorities. Those discussions are ongoing.


  • 19 Oct 2015: Draft Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (Initial Capital Contribution) Order 2015


    My hon. Friend also asked about climate finance. The president-designate of the AIIB, Mr Jin, has made it clear that his vision is for a “lean, clean and green” bank; and the UK is at the table helping to make those decisions, by being an early contributory member. My hon. Friend’s point about the parliamentary network of the 57 countries was interesting, and we will reflect on whether there should be a parliamentary network in a similar way to what can happen for other multilateral institutions. I will perhaps write to him about that.


See all Parliamentary Speeches Mentioning Climate

Maximise your vote to save the planet.

Join Now