21 June 2024
Climate and Nature

The Government recognises the importance of climate action and I welcome that the UK was the first G7 country to legislate to achieve net zero by 2050 and is decarbonising faster than any G20 country.

Ministers are bolstering domestic renewable energy production through the Energy Security Strategy. This sets out plans to accelerate the deployment of wind, new nuclear, solar and hydrogen, while supporting the production of domestic oil and gas in the nearer term – which could see 95 per cent of electricity being low carbon by 2030. New ambitions include producing up to 50GW of offshore wind by 2030 – more than enough to power every home in the UK.

The Government remains firmly committed to its net zero target. However, oil and gas will be required in the transition to net zero, and simply turning off the taps would mean we would have to import oil and gas, leaving us susceptible to global circumstances. The Government is therefore boosting our energy security by committing to hundreds of new oil and gas field licences in the North Sea, making sure we are not reliant on expensive, foreign imports.

I would like to assure you that I fully recognise the valuable work of our farmers across the country. The Government has committed to maintaining the £2.4 billion annual farming budget in England over this parliament. The Sustainable Farming Incentive pays farmers for actions that support food production and can help improve farm productivity and resilience, while protecting and improving the environment. Actions on offer cover areas include soil health and moorland, as well as new actions on hedgerows, integrated pest management, nutrient management, farmland wildlife, buffer strips, and low input grassland.

Finally, I am aware that agricultural expansion is the biggest driver of deforestation. It is a huge threat to rainforests, which are vital in absorbing gases and providing a home to thousands of animals and species. The Government is introducing legislation through the Environment Act 2021 which will see businesses that have a global annual turnover of over £50 million and use over 500 tonnes of regulated commodities a year banned from using them if sourced from land used illegally. These businesses will also be required to undertake a due diligence exercise of their supply chains and to report on this exercise annually for transparency.