The UK’s former Chancellor of the Exchequer, and now as of October 2022, the UK’s Prime Minister has seven main green policy challenges that we hope he will find a solution for.
1. Ending Fracking
The Conservatives pledged in their 2019 manifesto that they would maintain the moratorium on fracking. Sunak has stated in his leadership campaign that instead of keeping the ban, he will only permit fracking in areas where it was supported by the community.
2. Energy Efficiency
By 2035, all UK homes must have a EPC rating of ‘C’ or higher, both Johnson and Truss had failed to bring in a plan to reach this target, and therefore the challenge now falls to Sunak.
3. Energy Security Bill
Under Liz Truss’s Government the Energy Security Bill had been shelved. This Bill outlined several ways in which the UK can increase its energy security, including business models for low-carbon hydrogen and carbon capture and storage, appointing Ofgem as a regulator for the heat networks and creating a ‘hydrogen village’.
4. Environment Bill Targets
Rishi Sunak had previously stated that he supports the Environment bill. The targets are due to be updated by the end of this month (October 2022) putting pressure on the new Prime Minister and Defra to deliver.
5. Farmer Payment Schemes
Former Environment Secretary, Ranil Jayawardena, under Liz Truss’s leadership, planned to scrap a new subsidy scheme for farmers as well as banning solar farms on agricultural land. Farmers are now looking towards Sunak to put these schemes in place in order to improve nature.
6. Lawful Net-Zero Strategy
In July the High Court called the UK Government’s Net-Zero Strategy unlawful. Sunak now has until April 2023 to make the changes that it requires to become lawful, including sector-specific emission cuts, and detailed policies.
After Truss’s Government was accused of making an ‘attack on nature’, there is added pressure on Sunak to reverse this ideology about the Conservative Party. One of the biggest threats to the environment, workers’ rights, consumer safety and animal welfare is the phasing out of EU laws that protect them. Over 2,000 protective laws will be removed as the EU laws are ‘phased out’.