As we start 2023, there are still a number of green policy issues that Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, needs to address. Solutions to these issues should be put in place to help the UK get closer to their 2050 Net Zero target, which is legally-binding. The top green policy gaps include:
In the short term, Sunak has allowed the production of oil and gas to be maintained at its current level, in order to accommodate legal demands. However, in regards to coal, the UK Government has allowed, for the first time in 30 years, a coal mine to be developed in Whitehaven. These fossil fuel policies are not in line with the UK Government’s net zero target and this needs to be addressed.
Sunak has disagreed with the call from numerous MPs regarding the lifting of the ban surrounding fracking.
The UK Government has pledged to create 2 million green jobs by 2030, however in the recent net zero strategy, it has only detailed the creation of 440,000. Rishi Sunak has, however, confirmed that £2.9 million will be used to help upskill workers within several sectors to become greener. These sectors include building, energy and heating.
Lawful net zero strategy
The UK Government’s Net Zero Strategy has been ruled as unlawful by the High Court. This is due to there being a lack of detail on action or funding within the strategy regarding how the UK are going to reach net zero. The government has until March 2023 to update this strategy and make it lawful.
National Food Strategy
A series of recommendations have been given by a team led by Henry Dimbleby to reduce emissions and increase sustainability within the UK’s food sector. Currently one fifth of the UK’s emissions come from the food sector.
Onshore wind development projects were banned under David Cameron’s government; however, Rishi Sunak is currently considering removing this ban in order to increase the UK’s renewable energy. The lifting of the ban has been added as an amendment to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, which is currently within the House of Lords.
The UK’s Retained Law Bill was put into place to allow the majority of EU laws to remain as the law in the UK after Brexit. These laws are only to be maintained until the end of this year (2023). However, there has been calls to retain these laws and move the deadline as there is a fear that this could lead to new rushed laws, which could cause environmental and economic damage.