Skip to main content

Government responses on hydrogen and space published

30 March 2023

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee today publishes the Government Responses to two Committee Reports:

‘The role of hydrogen in achieving Net Zero’, published on 19 December 2022; and

‘UK space strategy and UK satellite infrastructure’, published on 4 November 2022.

Government response to ‘The role of hydrogen in achieving Net Zero’

The Committee in its December report said hydrogen is not a panacea for reaching the net zero emissions target by 2050 but will likely have a “specific but limited” role in decarbonising sectors, for example where electrification is not possible, and as a means of storing energy. MPs urged the Government to give industry more clarity over how and when it will make decisions about the role of hydrogen in the UK economy.

Chair's comment

Commenting on the Government’s response, the Chair of the Committee, Rt Hon Greg Clark MP said:

"I welcome the renewed focus on delivering net zero with the creation of the new Department, one of our report’s key asks.

“We emphasised the need to take earlier decisions on hydrogen to realise its role in achieving the 2050 target. Whilst the Government response did not set out the series of decision points we called for, we note that in today’s Powering Up Britain strategy, the Government committed to publishing a hydrogen delivery roadmap later this year. We hope this will focus on strategic sectors and give industry the clarity it has asked for.

“The Government has confirmed that current smart meters will not be suitable for measuring 100% hydrogen. We urge the Government to not to overlook the cost to the consumer when making decisions about hydrogen’s role in heating homes, and will be following developments closely.” 

Government response to ‘UK space strategy and UK satellite infrastructure’

The Committee in its November report said the approach to space policy across Government is “disjointed and unclear”. It called for improvements to UK satellite launch licensing, the need to develop secure UK Position, Navigation and Timing (PNT) capabilities, further scrutiny and detail on the UK’s stake in OneWeb, and a Plan B for Copernicus should the UK not be able to participate in EU’s earth observation programme.

Chair's comment

Commenting on the Government’s response, the Chair of the Committee, Rt Hon Greg Clark MP said:

“We welcome that Sir Patrick Vallance’s review published earlier this month has taken up one of our recommendations on space launch licensing. The Committee has held a follow-up session and will be continuing to scrutinise the progress in developing UK launch capabilities.

“Our report noted the reliance on foreign systems for PNT, a service that is crucial in keeping critical national infrastructure running. We are disappointed to see that, yet again, the Government will not commit to publishing a national PNT strategy, something that stakeholders in many sectors have been requesting for some time.

“It is also disappointing that the Government rejected annual parliamentary scrutiny of the UK’s stake in OneWeb. There is little detail on how the UK’s so-called golden share has brought tangible benefits to the country, given that the Government has said it cannot compel OneWeb to manufacture its Gen2 constellation in the UK, as was previously promised. The need for transparency and scrutiny of this investment will not fade and we urge the Government to be forthcoming on this matter.”

The Committee recently held a follow-up session on the failed UK satellite launch from Cornwall.

Sir Patrick Vallance’s Pro-innovation Regulation of Technologies Review Digital Technologies, made a recommendation in line with the Committee’s report that the Government should implement a variable liability approach to granting space launch licences by June 2023. The Chancellor of the Exchequer confirmed in the Spring Budget that he accepts Patrick Vallance’s recommendations in full.

Further information