Government seeks views on national energy policy update

The UK government is consulting on changes to documents that guide decisions on major energy developments.

Photo: Brian Smith Licence

The consultation, launched this week, follows a commitment in December’s Energy White Paper to update the energy National Policy Statements by the end of 2021.

The commitment came after the Good Law Project launched judicial review proceedings in May 2020 to force a review.

The National Policy Statements on energy were first published in 2011.

The Good Law Project said the documents presume in favour of fossil fuel developments and fail to take account of commitments to tackle carbon emissions:

“They do not “recognise or grapple with overriding national and international climate change commitments and targets.

“The outdated National Policy Statements mean approval to frack, or permission for new open-cast coal mines, can be pushed through.

“If we are to prevent more fossil-fuel projects being rubber-stamped, the government’s energy policy must be brought into line with our national and international climate commitments.”

The government said the revised statements should reflect the policies in the white paper and create a planning policy framework to deliver infrastructure needed for a transition to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Changes to the draft overarching energy statement include:

  • Removes the need for new coal and large-scale oil-fired electricity generation
  • Updates greenhouse gas emission reduction targets
  • Adds the need for alternatives to new electricity generation, including energy efficiency, hydrogen, demand side response, decentralised and small scale electricity infrastructure
  • Adds the need for carbon capture and storage

The current statements will continue until the review is completed.

The consultation runs until 29 November and is open to members of the public, industry, organisations and public bodies. It covers England, Scotland and Wales.


Consultation webpage

Draft National Policy Statements for energy infrastructure

4 replies »

  1. Thank heavens for the Good Law Project – this government needs forcing every step of the way. Fossil fuel exploration and development must stop now. 20% more overseas aid goes to fossil fuel funding by governments around the world than they give to eradicating the air pollution they cause, as reported recently in the Guardian. There is more to blame for this than the mere cognitive dissonance we read daily in offerings justifying fossil fuel exploitation.

  2. Iaith1720 – hopefully you will contribute your ideas via the consultation and perhaps improve on the changes mentioned above? It does seem to be an exercise in bringing an outdated policy statement up to date and in line with what is actually happening. But if enough people submit ideas to further advance the policy to help achieve our commitments and targets then perhaps these will be incorporated? The changes do not stop fossil fuel exploration and development in the UK – perhaps this should be the focus of your submission?

  3. Maybe, Paul.

    Meanwhile, I note Aramco are considering opening $110 billion gas project to investors. So, they can chose between investing in that or more local gas.

  4. If nothing else, it’s good to know that this govt actually have an energy policy. Who knew? The Good Law Project for one…. thankfully. I wonder if this is another of those ‘we’ve already decided, but have to go through the motions’ consultations, or one of the ‘we haven’t actually got a Scooby, so any bright ideas folks?’

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