Energy and Water Bills to the fore as Queen promises that UK will deliver “progress on climate change” through G8 presidency
The coalition has underlined its commitment to delivering action on climate change and accelerating investment in new low carbon energy and infrastructure projects, after the Queen´s Speech confirmed plans to bring forward new bills to support spending on energy, water, and rail projects.
Speaking before Parliament, the Queen reaffirmed the government´s plan to move forward with its new Energy Bill, which is designed to deliver wide-ranging reforms to the electricity market, and announced plans to introduce a Water Bill to “improve the water industry”.
She also confirmed the coalition would introduce a specific bill to enable the HS2 high speed rail line, stating that the controversial link would provide “further opportunities for economic growth in many British cities”.
In a surprise move, the Queen completed the speech by revealing the government will use its upcoming presidency of the G8 to “promote economic growth, support free trade, tackle tax evasion, encourage greater transparency and accountability while continuing to make progress in tackling climate change”.
The addition of climate change to the list of priorities for the UK´s presidency of the G8 could represent something of a U-turn, after reports emerged suggesting that the UK had blocked efforts by France and Germany to get the topic on the agenda for the next G8 meeting this summer in Northern Ireland.
The announcement of the Energy Bill represents the second time the legislation has featured in a Queen´s Speech and industry insiders are increasingly frustrated at the slow progress of the bill.
The legislation, which promises to drive over £100bn of investment in new energy infrastructure by the end of the decade, completed its Committee Stage reading in February, but is still yet to move to Report Stage.
Sources are suggesting the next reading is not now likely until early June, prompting accusations of further delays from energy companies who are keen to see the policy landscape for the next decade fully confirmed before they start to move forward with new projects.