Utility Week

UTILITY Week 22nd July 2016

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

Issue link: https://fhpublishing.uberflip.com/i/705855

Contents of this Issue


Page 16 of 31

UTILITY WEEK | 22ND - 28TH JULY 2016 | 17 Policy & Regulation This week BEIS will take on all of Decc's functions Responsibility for energy and climate change policy will move to Greg Clark's new department The Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) has been axed by new prime minister Theresa May. Greg Clark is the secretary of state for a newly created Depart- ment for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which is expected to take over all of the responsibilities of Decc – enact- ing both energy and climate change policy – and to take on most of the duties of the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, which has also been scrapped. Clarke said: "I am thrilled to have been appointed to lead this new department charged with delivering a comprehensive industrial strategy, leading government's relationship with business, furthering our world-class science base, delivering affordable, clean energy and tackling climate change." The announcement came as part of May's cabinet reshuffle. Former energy minister Andrea Leadsom – who has been appointed as the new environment secre- tary – denied scrapping the department would be seen as a weakening of the government's resolve to tackle climate change: "The assumption that you have to have a department for something in order to meet its objec- tives is just not one that I would agree with at all." Energy and Climate Change Committee chair Angus MacNeil told Utility Week: "I hope Theresa May is not taking her eye off the ball as regards energy. It is espe- cially important around security of supply in coming winters – nothing ends a government or a prime minis- ter faster than an energy crisis." TG ENERGY Ministers appointed to BEIS positions The ministerial roster for the newly formed Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has been filled by prime minister Theresa May. Nick Hurd and Baroness Nev- ille-Rolfe have been appointed ministers. Margot James is an undersecretary. Hurd – the MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner – was previously an undersecretary for international development. He has served on the environmental audit committee as well as the joint committee for the dra climate change bill. Baroness Neville-Rolfe was appointed to the Lords in 2013 and has served as an undersec- retary at BIS and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Margot James was elected to parliament in 2010 as the mem- ber for Stourbridge. She has held only one government post – as an assistant whip. ENERGY EU climate targets are essential The government has been urged to keep EU climate change tar- gets regardless of the Brexit vote. The targets have played a "leading role" in the UK's efforts to reduce emissions, the Association for the Conservation of Energy has warned in an open letter to Greg Clark. The current combination of laws, regulations and policies, both on an EU and UK level, have given investors "the confidence to begin putting the UK on the path towards a low-carbon future". The letter concerns three EU directives, all of which set targets to be achieved by 2020: the Renewable Energy Directive, the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. WATER 'Act now to tackle climate change risks' Urgent action is needed to address climate-related risks, including water shortages and flooding, the Committee on Climate Change's adaptation sub-committee has warned. The UK Climate Change Risk Assessment Evidence Report sets out the most urgent risks and opportunities arising for the UK from climate change. They include: flooding and coastal change risks to communities, businesses and infrastructure; shortages in the public water supply; and water shortages in agriculture, energy generation and industry. More ambitious and co- ordinated action by water com- panies, other abstractors and governments is needed to cut demand, says the report. BEIS will have a climate change mitigation role Political Agenda Mathew Beech "Leadsom is also a vocal supporter of fracking" The fallout from the EU referen- dum continued as prime min- ister Theresa May restructured Whitehall and formed her own Cabinet with a brutal reshuf- fle. Out went many Cameroons and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (see p18). In came the Brexiteers and the Department for Business, Energy & Industry Strategy. One move that got lost among the "dead Decc" and "sorry about Boris" headlines was former energy minister from What will be vital is how she guides the department and water sector through the exit negotia- tions. Will she seek bespoke UK drinking water and environmen- tal standards or follow the EU's lead? Will she press ahead with domestic water competition, hav- ing pushed to boost competitive- ness in the energy market? The answers to these points are unknown. What is more certain is that the new secretary of state has plenty to keep her busy in her new role. the now-defunct Decc, Andrea Leadsom, was appointed envi- ronment secretary. She arrived at Defra having admitted her first question when appointed to Decc was "is climate change real?". She has since said she is convinced it is. Leadsom is also a vocal supporter of fracking and has supported motions to sell off the UK's publicly owned forestland. A committed Brexiteer, she will have to contend with a department that looks to the EU for many of its water and envi- ronmental regulations. How this will sit with someone who sees Brussels as "meddling in British affairs" remains to be seen.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Utility Week - UTILITY Week 22nd July 2016