Tuesday 15th October 2019
On Monday, the Queen delivered her speech announcing the Government’s new legislative agenda as part of the State Opening of Parliament. Usually this would have happened months ago, yet with 16 days to go until we leave the EU, we’re not exactly in ordinary times.
There were three specific announcements of note for Liquid Gas UK members, largely within the highly anticipated Environment Bill which aims to tackle air pollution, single use plastics and biodiversity, among many significant environmental challenges we face in 2019.
With a general election this year becoming increasingly more likely, this agenda could easily fall very quickly… but for now, here are the top 3 announcements for Liquid Gas UK members:
1. Air Quality Targets
In the speech, the Government has confirmed that it will introduce legally binding targets for air pollution as part of the Environment Bill.
It’s not clear what the targets will be as of yet, however its expected they will look to the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for Particulate Matter (PM2.5). The WHO annual mean guideline for PM2.5 is 10 μg/m3. Over 24 hours, they have a guideline of 25 μg/m3.
In the briefing document for the Queen’s Speech, it outlines further powers for local areas to tackle air pollution, such as enabling local authorities to tackle emissions from burning coal and wood. As well as bringing forward powers to mandate recalls of vehicles for not meeting correct emission standards.
Considering the clean burning nature of LPG, with low levels of NOx, SOx and PM, these targets provide an opportunity for the industry to show the clear benefits of LPG, both transport through taxi retrofit and in decarbonising heat.
2. New Regulator: ‘The Office for Environmental Protection’
A ‘world leading’ independent regulator to scrutinise environmental policy and law was also announced as part of the Environment Bill, titled the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP), who would also investigate complaints and take enforcement action.
It’s too early to comment on what shape this will take, in the meantime Liquid Gas UK will monitor the development of the OEP and other relevant regulatory frameworks, and keep members updated.
3. National Infrastructure Strategy
The speech announced that a ‘National Infrastructure Strategy’ would be published later this autumn and would set out plans to deliver a ‘step change’ in infrastructure investment across the UK covering: transport, decarbonisation, digital and local growth.
The strategy has two key aims, firstly, to close the productivity gap between London and other parts of the UK, and secondly, to achieve Net Zero by 2050.
However, considering that government policy on decarbonising heat is nowhere near finalised, let alone the other sectors which need addressing, it’s difficult to see how useful the strategy released this autumn is going to be.
By Sophia Haywood, Public Affairs Manager, Liquid Gas UK
The trade association for the LPG and bioLPG industry in the UK