In the Queen’s Speech, delivered yesterday and akin to Canada’s Speech from the Throne at the beginning of a new parliamentary session, the coalition Government of the United Kingdom made a number of positive environmental and sustainability commitments:
- to improve delivery of investment funds through the Green Investment bank to accelerate private sector investment in the green economy
- to create a Groceries Code Adjudicator to uphold the Groceries Code and ensure suppliers are treated fairly and lawfully, breaking down the climate of fear amongst suppliers and farmers by ensuring they can raise complaints confidentially with the Adjudicator.
- to introduce legislation to reform the electricity market to enable large-scale investment in low-carbon generation capacity in the UK and deliver security of supply, in a cost-effective way.
- to prevent construction of new coal plants which emit more than 450g/kWh i.e. the most carbon-intensive form of electricity generation.
- to allow businesses and public sector bodies to obtain more competitive prices and improve their efficiency, allowing every business and public sector body to switch its water and sewerage supplier, increasing opportunities for new entrants to enter the water and sewerage market, stimulating the market for water resources potentially unlocking new sources of water supply and reducing the impacts of future drought, encouraging water companies to think differently about how to address future resource challenges and focus on their customers’ needs.
- to spend zero point seven per cent of gross national income as official development assistance from 2013. This will be the first time the United Kingdom has met this agreed international commitment.
The Queen’s Speech is at http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/queens-speech-2012 and background information on each of the initiatives can be found through a link on that page.
More details about the Green Investment bank are at http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/business-sectors/docs/g/12-553-green-investment-bank-policy-and-finance-context.pdf