Biodiversity and sustainability were high on the government's agenda in June, with new commitments driving the protection, conservation and restoration of ecosystems. The Environment Bill also continues to progress, having now passed from Second Reading to Committee Stage in the House of Lords. Read on for more key policy highlights from the past month:
The G7 summit, which took place in Cornwall in the middle of the month, dominated headlines in June. It saw the UK government and other world leaders commit to addressing harmful activities such as deforestation, increasing investment in nature and driving accountability for taking action, amongst other things. In addition, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has published its annual progress report, which notes that lockdown measures have led to a record decrease in UK emissions of 13% from the previous year. The report also includes recommendations for new measures to support the transition to Net Zero, and for ensuring England is prepared for a rise in global temperature.
Low carbon heat continues to be a focus, with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announcing the Green Heat Network Fund (GHNF) Transition Scheme. The Scheme is a precursor to the launch of the GHNF in April 2022, as part of the Government’s Heat Network Transformation Programme. The government has also brought forward the deadline for removing unabated coal from the UK's energy mix to 2024 - a whole year earlier than planned. For businesses involved in the UK Emissions Trading Scheme, BEIS has now published updated guidance.
Resources & waste
Following the shocking news of Amazon destroying unsold stock in one of its UK warehouses, the government has reaffirmed its commitment to a more circular economy, by introducing new right to repair rules. The rules came into force on 1st July, and mean that manufacturers are now legally obliged to make spare parts for products available to consumers, so that they can be easily fixed. In other news, the Environment Agency has announced changes to Regulatory Position Statements (RPS), including an extension to RPS C1, which covers the management of cleansing and PPE waste at a healthcare waste management facility.
A Bill has been introduced to Parliament which, if passed, will place a duty on water companies to ensure that untreated sewage is not discharged into rivers and other inland waters. Also in June, the UK Infrastructure Bank, a new government-owned policy bank, has officially opened. It will be providing £22 billion in investment to tackle climate change, and to support local and regional economic growth. Other news highlights include a new subsidy system to support UK jobs and businesses post-Brexit.