16 October 2023
Dunne seeks details from PM on his more pragmatic approach to Net Zero

Philip Dunne MP asks the new Secretary of State when the Environmental Audit Committee will receive a response to their letter inviting the Prime Minister to put “flesh on the bone” of his more pragmatic approach to Net Zero that he made in his speech last month.

Philip Dunne (Ludlow) (Con)

I warmly welcome what my right hon. Friend has just said about the focus on the grid and accelerating grid access. I hope she will be able to pick up on the report that my Committee is undertaking on that subject and that we can contribute to her deliberations. As she will be aware, I wrote to the Prime Minister on behalf of the Committee in the week following his speech, offering him an opportunity to put some flesh on the bones of what his more pragmatic approach to achieving net zero ambitions actually means. Will she confirm when my Committee can expect to receive a reply to that letter? Will it include an analysis of the impact of the trajectory of delivering net zero on the five-yearly carbon budgets and, in particular, how the announcement we have just had confirmed by the Transport Secretary, who is sitting next to her, on maintaining the zero-emission vehicle mandate will impact on that trajectory?

The Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero (Claire Coutinho)

I thank my right hon. Friend and commend his long-standing work on environmentalism; I have been privileged to work with him on this before. I will be responding to him and I look forward to coming to speak to his Committee in due course. We set out unprecedented levels of detail in the analysis of how we are going to meet the targets earlier this year. I also accept the Climate Change Committee’s analysis, which is that the changes we have made are not materially different in terms of achieving our targets—we are absolutely committed to making sure that we do so. As he rightly points out, the biggest announcement we have made on achieving those targets is the one relating to the grid, which will allow for much greater and quicker electrification of society when it comes to the impacts of other proposals.