UK to play leading role in climate change fight, Queen’s Speech promises

The Queen’s Speech has reiterated the UK Government’s ambition to play a leading role in tackling climate change and also confirmed plans to implement reforms to the energy market.

The speech – during which the monarch outlines the UK Government’s intentions for the coming parliamentary session – included the introduction of a Better Markets Bill, which will implement the energy industry recommendations made by the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA).

The Queen also said: “My Government will continue to play a leading role in world affairs, using its global presence to tackle climate change and address major international security, economic and humanitarian challenges.”

The Welsh Assembly will also gain powers to make planning decisions on all onshore wind farms in Wales and all other onshore and offshore energy projects with a capacity of up to 350MW.

Fifth Carbon Budget

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, a membership body that includes businesses public sector bodies and charities, said: “As part of its legislative agenda for the coming year, we urge the government to build on its achievements at the Paris climate change summit and put forward a package of measures that will accelerate affordable investment in energy efficient and low carbon infrastructure in the UK.

“Rapidly adopting the fifth carbon budget recommended by the Committee on Climate Change and putting forward a comprehensive carbon plan by the end of 2016 must be a key part of this.”

Alex Neill, Director of Policy and Campaigns at consumer group Which?, added: “We welcome the Government’s plans to boost competition and make markets work better for consumers through the Better Markets Bill.

“The Government must use this opportunity to give more power to consumers who want to switch suppliers.”

‘Hot air’

But Green Party MP Caroline Lucas slammed the Queen’s Speech as “hot air”.

“The Queen’s Speech offers nothing beyond platitudes on climate change,” she said.

“We needed to see a serious commitment to low carbon infrastructure but instead all that’s been offered is more hot air and warm words from a Government that’s lost its footing on the most pressing issue of our time.”

> Read the Queen's Speech