Public Affairs
Environment news: 31st July

EU government meeting under EU flag

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Environment & COP26

A group from the House of Lords has warned that a lack of trust between the UK and EU is the preventing agreement on climate change as part of Brexit negotiations. Lord Teverson stressed the benefits of a level playing field in future relationship negotiations, saying it would give the UK a lever to make sure that the EU did not “backslide” on its climate ambitions and commitments. Read the full letter here.

Four researchers have been appointed COP26 Fellows to support international climate negotiations ahead of COP26 in Glasgow next year. UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is supporting the four academics, who will form the nucleus of a broader programme of coordinated outputs and events by UK universities ahead of COP26. Read more about the appointees here.


The National Grid has launched a new report calling for “immediate action” to help the UK reach net-zero emissions by 2050. It says the target is achievable but requires a “fundamental shift” in the economics of energy as well as wider engagement across society. Among its key messages, it states that hydrogen and carbon capture storage will be operational on an industrial scale by the end of this decade. Read the full report here.

Energy provider Good Energy has launched a new tariff to support customers with heat pumps in their home. The launch comes off the back of a new government ‘Green Homes Grant’ scheme, which offers homeowners up to £10,000 to make energy efficiency improvements. The unique tariff seeks to support people who are looking to make the shift from fossil fuels to clean alternatives. Read more about the announcement here.


The Transport Select Committee has opened a new inquiry on reforming public transport after COVID-19. The committee will consider evidence on the extent that COVID-19 could be used as an opportunity to reform public transport. They are also interested in the long-term implications for the decarbonisation of transport and the capability to reach net-zero by 2050. You can share your views as part of the consultation here.

The DfT has opened a new consultation seeking to increase the renewable transport fuel obligation buy-out price for fuels suppliers. Recent increases in the cost of biofuels relative to petrol and diesel mean that there is a greater risk that suppliers may ‘buy-out’ of their obligations to supply renewable transport fuel, resulting in smaller GHG reductions. A consultation to discuss the parameters of the policy is available here.

England’s Economic Heartland has published a draft transport strategy seeking to enable England’s transport system to support a green recovery. The strategy includes measures to enhance walking and cycling infrastructure and ‘shared transport’ to improve local connectivity, and continue to meet the region’s freight and logistics needs, while also lowering their environmental impact. Read the full document here.


The Treasury Committee has relaunched its inquiry on how the COVID-19 economic recovery can incorporate the 2050 net-zero target. The Committee is seeking additional evidence on whether the Treasury’s rescue packages should distinguish between companies based on how much they pollute, how the Treasury can directly fund green infrastructure, and how the Treasury can to facilitate the transition to net-zero. Read more about the relaunched inquiry here.

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