Written evidence submitted by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (CAUK0014)
We welcome the Climate Assembly UK’s recommendations, which demonstrate strong public support for the Government’s intention to deliver a UK economy which is stronger, cleaner, more sustainable and more resilient. We take the views of the Climate Assembly UK seriously as assembly members represent viewpoints that broadly reflect the UK population and they have deliberated extensively on net zero. Findings from the Assembly form an addition to the Government’s evidence base on assessing the UK public’s understanding, attitudes and perceptions around net zero. This evidence base is being used in several ways, including to inform development of parts of the Net Zero Strategy, the Heat and Buildings Strategy and the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, as well as to inform the development of public engagement approaches and to identify where there are policy gaps that need addressing. Many recommendations are in line with government policy and recent announcements, for example, the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, the Energy White Paper, the Agricultural Transition Plan, the 25 Year Environment Plan and the Resources & Waste Strategy, which deliver several of the Climate Assembly UK recommendations.
1. Has Climate Assembly UK (both its process and recommendations) been helpful to your work (or the work of your organisation), and if so, how?
- Deliberative processes, such as the Climate Assembly UK, are an important part of the evidence base that needs to be considered alongside other research to develop policies for reaching net zero that are feasible and equitable. These initiatives are also important to appreciating the challenges of getting to net zero and giving people a say in shaping the future policies to achieve that target.
- The COP President Designate Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP (in his previous role as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) spoke at the launch event of the Climate Assembly UK on 10th September 2020 and welcomed the report. The Prime Minister also welcomed the interim and final reports and commended the Select Committees for bringing together this group of diverse UK citizens to deliberate on one of the greatest challenges of our time.
- We have been working closely with the Climate Assembly UK since it was first commissioned, engaging regularly in meetings and observing the Assembly both in Birmingham and online.
- In September 2020, we invited the Climate Assembly UK expert leads to present the Assembly’s findings to officials. We hosted 7 briefings for officials across all major Departments working on net zero. These briefings were attended by over 400 HMG officials.
2. What impact has Climate Assembly UK had across your sector, and more widely?
3. A) How do you perceive Climate Assembly UK to have affected the work of Government since the Assembly’s report was published (10 September 2020)?
B) To what extent do the Government’s actions since then reflect Climate Assembly UK’s recommendations?
- Since its publication, we have been looking closely at the Climate Assembly UK report’s recommendations and government departments have been considering these as we develop our plans for reaching net zero emissions by 2050.
- Many recommendations are in line with government policy and recent announcements, and the Ten Point Plan delivers several of the Climate Assembly UK recommendations:
- The Assembly called for a green recovery. The Ten Point Plan is HMG’s plan for a green recovery – delivering high skilled green jobs.
- The Assembly called for more wind and solar power; we will quadruple the capacity of offshore wind to 40GW by 2030.
- The Assembly called for a faster transition to net zero emissions vehicles; we will end the sale to new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030.
- The Assembly called for government to invest in low carbon buses and trains; the Ten Point Plan commits to £4.2bn in city public transport and £5bn on buses, cycling and walking.
- The Assembly called for government to speed up progress on low-carbon aviation; the Ten Point Plan commits research projects for zero-emissions planes and sustainable aviation fuels.
- The Assembly called for strong policy on greening our buildings; we are providing £1.3bn to extend the schemes announced by the Chancellor earlier in the year to kickstart this market and make building energy efficient.
- The Assembly recommended maintaining and restoring our natural environment; the Ten Point Plan committed to £40m for a second round of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund.
- The Climate Assembly UK recommended several principles that should be at the heart of government’s and Parliaments’ approach to achieving net zero, including educating and informing the public and businesses, making the transition fair, maintaining freedom and choice throughout the transition, and maximising the co-benefits of reaching net zero. We are already incorporating many of these principles in our net zero policies:
- Educating and informing the public:
- Ahead of COP26 we have launched the ‘Together for our Planet’ campaign to raise awareness of COP26 and the work the UK is doing to combat climate change, and to create opportunities to participate in the run-up to COP26. This campaign aims to lay foundations for long-term sustainable choices by driving awareness, building credibility and creating a launchpad for a powerful legacy campaign.
- We agree with the spirit of the Climate Assembly UK’s recommendation on greater education, information and citizenship involvement around climate change and net zero. We commit to communicating our public engagement approach leading up to COP26 in our Net Zero Strategy to generate widespread awareness and acceptance across the UK.
- Educating and informing businesses:
- The UK has made a historic legal commitment to reach Net Zero emissions by 2050. As the UK’s Net Zero Business Champion, Andrew Griffith MP’s role is to support this Government’s efforts to mobilise the business and investment community to reduce their emissions and to showcase UK businesses as global leaders in tackling climate change in this important period leading up to COP26 in November.
- By November, the aim is for as many UK small businesses as possible to join the global Race to Zero campaign. Many small and micro businesses across the UK are keen to tackle climate change but find it difficult to know how or where to start. The first step these businesses can take is to visit our new digital platform (www.smeclimatehub.org/uk) and sign up to the globally recognised small business climate commitment, which is part of the Race to Zero. Here small and micro businesses can also get help and advice on how to be greener and save money.
- Making the transition fair:
- The UK's Green Jobs Taskforce is working in partnership with representatives from industry, unions and skills providers, to help us develop plans for new long-term good quality green jobs to deliver net zero and, advise what support is needed for transitioning workers from high-carbon industries.
- Additionally, the government has developed sector deals on nuclear, offshore wind and automotive that will create green-collar jobs across the country and support our other world class sectors to take part in this transition. And with the North Sea Transition Deal agreement in March 2021, the UK became the first G7 country to agree a landmark deal to support the oil and gas industry’s transition to clean, green energy, while supporting 40,000 jobs.
- We are clear we must bring people along with us on this transition, open up opportunities and ensure that we do not leave places and workers behind as we look to level up the country and meet net zero.
- Maintaining freedom and choice:
- Reaching net zero will require not only changes to our energy systems and substantial new low carbon infrastructure but also shifts in how we, as individuals, travel, what we buy and how we use energy in our homes.
- Informed sustainable choices - in the form of adopting new low carbon behaviours and changes to consumption patterns - will play a role in reducing emissions.
- The Government wants to make it easier for people to shift towards greener and more sustainable lifestyles while maintaining freedom of choice and fairness. Government is exploring how to support individuals to make green choices as part of the development of our Net Zero Strategy.
- In many areas, delivering net zero will require the uptake of new lower carbon technologies, such as electric vehicles or heat pumps. Government is supporting people to adapt to these new technologies with initiatives such as Go Ultra Low and the Simple Energy Advice service but is also exploring how it can go further.
- The changes required to reach net zero should deliver enormous benefits to people’s lives including improved health, cleaner air and more comfortable homes that are cheaper to run.
‘In the home’
- We want all homes, so far as possible, to reach EPC C or above, with EPC B or better for non-domestic buildings, by around 2030 and to be deploying around 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028.
- We have set out a number of key public commitments on decarbonising homes, including through the Energy White Paper and the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.
- We already have a range of policies and programmes to support this transition which relate to the assembly’s recommendations:
- On support for smaller organisations to offer energy services, many domestic consumers now interact with the energy system through a wide range of third-party intermediaries (“TPIs”). To ensure the retail market rules adequately covers the wider market, and that consumers are protected whilst enjoying the benefits which TPIs bring, we will consult on regulating third parties in 2021. We will also assess what other market framework changes may be needed to enable the development and uptake of innovative tariffs and products. We will engage with industry and consumer groups throughout 2021 before a formal consultation. Work in both these areas would be conducted with consideration to the Government’s commitment to achieving its net zero target by 2050.
- On simpler consumer protection, using a quality mark to ensure a high minimum standard of consumer protection was a key recommendation of the independent, industry-led Each Home Counts Review. TrustMark has been that government-endorsed quality mark and plays a central role across BEIS’ energy efficiency schemes.
- On changes to product standards, the Government intends to launch a world class products policy framework in 2021 which will push for products to use less energy, resources, and materials, saving carbon and helping households and businesses to reduce their energy bills with minimum effort. Government is also introducing updated Ecodesign and Energy Labelling requirements this year for a range of industrial and domestic products. The Energy White Paper also announced that we will publish a new Smart Systems Plan in Spring 2021.
- On Local plans for zero carbon homes, the Government recognises that Local Authorities can play a number of important roles in heat and buildings decarbonisation, including driving public sector decarbonisation, as well as raising awareness of the support available to increase voluntary uptake of low carbon heat and energy efficiency measures. The upcoming Heat and Buildings Strategy will set out more detail on these respective roles, including how local expertise can be harnessed.
- On banning new gas boilers from 2030 or 2035, as set out in the 10-Point Plan, our approach will go with the grain of behaviour, and set a clear path that sees the gradual move away from fossil fuel boilers over the next fifteen years, as individuals replace their appliances and are offered a lower carbon, more efficient alternative. We will provide more detail on Government’s approach in our Heat and Buildings Strategy that we will publish in due course.
- On changes to energy market rules to allow more companies to compete, gas and electricity consumers now have more suppliers competing to offer better deals – with the number of suppliers increasing from 12 in 2010 to around 60 now. We are encouraging people to switch to get the right deal, and will create a framework to introduce an opt-in switching scheme, where households on the most expensive tariffs are offered a simple method of switching to a better value tariff. We will also test opt-out switching, where, unless they choose not to be, consumers who haven’t switched for a while are switched to a competitive new contract.
‘Where our electricity comes from’
- Assembly members were supportive of renewable energy and this is also a priority for the Government and an area where the UK is making great progress. In 2020, renewables accounted for 42.9 per cent of total electricity generation, setting a new record and exceeding the generation from fossil fuels for the first time.
- The Government notes that assembly members were particularly supportive of wind and solar, and also believes these technologies will play a key role in delivering net zero, which is why we:
- Have set an ambitious target to deliver 40GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030, including 1GW of floating offshore wind.
- Announced that this year’s Contracts for Difference auction round will support up to double the renewable capacity that was delivered in 2019’s successful round.
- Will include a pot for established renewable technologies in this year’s Contracts for Difference auction round to ensure technologies such as onshore wind and solar can play their full role in meeting net zero.
- With regards to using bioenergy, the Government has committed to publish a Biomass Strategy in 2022 which will review what amount of sustainable biomass could be available to the UK, and how biomass could be best utilised across the economy to help achieve our net zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050. A call for evidence has been launched (closing on 15 June) to support the development of the strategy, where interested stakeholders can provide their views.
‘Greenhouse gas removals’
- The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has been clear that to achieve net zero by 2050, greenhouse gas removals (GGR) will also be required in order to balance residual emissions from some of the most difficult to decarbonise sectors, such as agriculture and aviation. The government was very interested to read and understand the views of the Climate Assembly on GGRs, particularly the view that a combination of greenhouse gas removal methods would be needed to achieve net zero by 2050.
- In December 2020, BEIS and HM Treasury launched a call for evidence on the role of GGRs in delivering net zero. We will publish a summary of responses in due course. The information received from stakeholders will be used to inform future GGR policy, helping government to better our understanding of the governance and ethics of GGRs, and how to develop and support sustainable solutions.
‘How we travel on land’
- Many of the recommendations of the Climate Assembly UK around how government and Parliament should look to deliver net zero across surface transport reflect the themes we have explored in developing our Transport Decarbonisation Plan (TDP). Work, in progress or planned, against these recommendations includes:
- On ensuring solutions are accessible and affordable to all sections of society, our £2.54 billion Transforming Cities Fund is improving public and sustainable transport, while the Intra-City Transport £4.2 billion capital grant fund will make five-year consolidated investments in public and sustainable transport infrastructure in eight of England’s largest city regions.
- Our investment in rail, cycling, walking and an improved bus network will improve connectivity within small towns and cities, meaning low carbon choices are available to all. The Government is helping more consumers switch to an electric vehicle (EV) with up to £2,500 available through the Plug in Car Grant focused on more affordable zero emission vehicles priced under £35,000, meaning every day more people can join the UK’s electric vehicle revolution.
- On reducing the amount we use cars by an average of 2–5% per decade, the upcoming TDP will take a cross-modal approach and will include measures to accelerate modal shift to public transport and active travel. We are also supporting the public to make low carbon choices through investment in active travel – including £2 billion over five years, £250 million of which was allocated in financial year 2020/21.
- On improving public transport and government investment in low carbon buses and trains, in March, we published England’s long-term National Bus Strategy, ‘Bus Back Better’, setting out a bold vision for bus services across the country. Backed by £3 billion of transformational funding, the Strategy will deliver better bus services for passengers across England, through ambitious and far-reaching reform of how services are planned and delivered.
- Up to £120 million will be spent in the financial year 2021/22 to support the introduction of zero emission buses and associated infrastructure, building on the recent award of £50 million from the All-Electric Bus Town or City scheme.
- On adding new bus routes and more frequent services, the National Bus Strategy sets out how Local Transport Authorities are expected to produce Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIPs), including targets for journey times and reliability improvements, identifying where bus priority measures are needed and plans on how to address the under-provision of bus services. The Strategy is backed by £3 billion of new funding over this Parliament, and BSIPs will influence the share of transformation funding that each authority receives.
- In the coming months we intend to publish a White Paper with full details of the proposed reforms for our railways, following the root and branch Williams-Shapps review.
- Work is continuing to reduce rail emissions by investing in further electrification and the development of new traction rolling stock. In the last three years, we have electrified almost 700 miles of track in England and Wales, and provided just under £3m of funding through Innovate UK-run First of a Kind competitions for new traction technologies that will help decarbonise the railway.
- On making public transport cheaper, we are working with the rail industry to consider how we can provide passengers with a better customer experience, including improvements to fares, ticketing and retailing. We are committed to reforming our railways, with a new focus on punctuality and performance, massive investment in infrastructure to level up the country, and simpler ticketing to deliver a better deal for passengers. The National Bus Strategy sets out that we want to see more low, flat fares in towns and cities, lower point-to-point fares elsewhere, and more daily price capping everywhere. BSIPs will need to set out ambitious visions for travel by bus, meeting the goals and expectations in the Strategy, with fares policy as an integral part of the plans.
- On ending the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars by 2030–2035, in November 2020, we announced that we would go further and faster to decarbonise transport by phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and, from 2035, all new cars and vans must be zero emissions at the tailpipe. These ambitions will be supported by an accompanying package of £2.8 billion.
- On the recommendation to quickly stop selling the most polluting vehicles, we are developing a green paper on the future UK regulatory framework for vehicle emissions. This will consider both overall fleet efficiency and delivering the move to 100% zero emission vehicle sales for cars and vans. The Government is also committed to setting an end date for the sale of new diesel buses and, separately, to consulting on phasing out sales of new diesel heavy goods vehicles.
- On grants for businesses and people to buy low carbon cars, government grants for plug in vehicles continue to be available to help reduce the up-front purchase price of electric vehicles. In November 2020, we announced more funding for the plug-in vehicle grants, to a total of £582 million for cars, vans, motorcycles and taxis to 2022/23. The March 2020 Budget also included the extension of favourable benefit in kind tax rates for zero emission vehicles out to 2025: company car tax is 1% in 2021/22 and 2% in 2022/23 through to 2024/25. All zero emission cars are also exempt from vehicle excise duty.
‘How we travel by air’
- The Government will set out its plans to deliver a net zero aviation sector in the upcoming Transport Decarbonisation Plan and strategy for net zero aviation. Much of our ongoing work is aligned with the recommendations made by the Assembly:
- On escalating and speeding up options to enable us to keep flying, the Government has established the Jet Zero Council – a partnership between industry and Government that brings together senior leaders in aviation, aerospace and academia to drive the delivery of new technologies and innovative ways to cut aviation emissions. Its aim is to deliver zero-emission transatlantic flights within a generation.
- The Government is funding £1.95 billion towards aerospace research and development from 2013 to 2026 through the Aerospace Technology Institute, which has been match-funded by industry giving a total budget of £3.9 billion.
- The Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan included £15 million of funding to support the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) in the UK and £3 million to establish a SAF testing house. We have also committed to consulting on a SAF blending mandate. Another £3 million will be used for research and development into the infrastructure required for zero emission aircraft operation.
- On influencing the rest of the world, the Government has recently announced that we will, for the first time, legally include international aviation and shipping emissions in the Sixth Carbon Budget. However, we recognise that international aviation emissions require a global solution and so are committed to working with other states through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), in addition to implementing the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).
- There is currently no international agreement on taxing aviation fuel, and unilateral action could have significant competitiveness issues for the UK aviation industry. We are committed to existing schemes, including CORSIA and the UK ETS, to ensure we meet our emissions reduction targets in the most cost-effective way.
- On speeding up technology but not ‘jumping in’ before we’re ready and not compromising safety, the Government recognises the potential for SAFs to help decarbonise the aviation sector and will be consulting on a mandate later this year. However, to be acceptable for use they must first conform to international standards and be considered safe to use.
- Industry is considering a range of technologies to bring forward low and zero emission flight including the use of hybrid, battery and hydrogen propulsion, supported by government funding a range of projects through the ATI, including the Fly Zero Project. Safety is always paramount in aviation and any new aircraft are subject to rigorous review ahead of commercial use by the Civil Aviation Authority.
- On evening out the costs of air travel compared to alternatives by making alternatives cheaper and better, our railway reforms – with a new focus on punctuality and performance, massive investment in infrastructure to level up the country and increase capacity, and simpler ticketing to deliver a better deal for passengers – will help ensure the train is a viable, low carbon option for domestic journeys.
- On introducing taxes that increase as people fly more often and as they fly further, the UK levies a tax on airlines through Air Passenger Duty (APD), one of very few countries to do so. The Government is currently consulting on APD to consider how the tax could support Union and regional connectivity, and our commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050. The consultation sets out that the Government’s initial policy position is that a frequent flyer levy would not be an appropriate replacement for APD, particularly given the considerable administrative complexities such a levy poses. Additionally, while APD is a tax on airlines, many choose to pass this onto passengers, and therefore frequent flyers will pay more APD than those who fly less often.
‘What we buy’
- The Resources and Waste Strategy (RWS) for England, published in December 2018, sets out the Government’s plans to reduce, reuse, and recycle more than we do now. Our landmark Environment Bill will enable us to significantly change the way that we manage our waste and take forward a number of the proposals from the RWS. The Bill will include powers to create extended producer responsibility schemes (EPR); introduce deposit return schemes (DRS); and establish greater consistency in the recycling system for households and businesses.
- The Climate Assembly’s support for tools such as EPR which reinforces our position from the RWS that businesses should be made more responsible for the products they place on the market and how they are managed when they are no longer used and become waste.
- We want producers to take greater responsibility for the packaging they place on the market. To do this we will make them pay the full net costs of collecting and managing packaging when it becomes waste. We are currently consulting on our final proposals, ending on Friday, 4 June.
- In the UK we have producer responsibility regimes already in place for dealing with waste electricals, batteries and end-of-life vehicles. However, we will be consulting on reforming the producer responsibility regimes for waste electricals and batteries later in 2021 and also on the End-of-life vehicles regime in 2022. The driving principle behind these consultations will be in increasing collections, driving higher levels of reuse, encouraging more eco-design, and ensuring compatibility with the broader EPR framework and circular economy principles.
- The government has also committed to have reviewed and consulted on measures such as EPR and product standards for five new waste streams, two of which we plan to complete by 2022. These are: textiles, bulky waste (e.g., mattresses, furniture), certain construction materials, tyres, and fishing gear.
- The government welcomes the views of Assembly members on the use of labelling as a means of providing consumers with information to help them make decisions. As part of our proposals for EPR for packaging, the government is consulting on a requirement that businesses that place packaged products on the UK market must label the product packaging to indicate if the packaging can be recycled or is not recyclable. This information will make it easier for consumers to recycle or dispose of their packaging waste correctly.
- Building on the RWS, the government is developing proposals relating to the design of products to support durability, repairability, and recyclability; as well as information to enable informed decisions to be made. We can take this forward using powers in the Environment Bill and repatriated powers from the EU. This is how government intends to apply “the right to repair” in the UK, and along with other policies, and will support a shift to a more circular economy.
- These proposals are set out in a new ‘Waste Prevention Programme for England: Towards a Resource Efficient Economy’, launched for consultation on 18 March. The Programme proposes policies, as well as actions required by industry, to support a circular economy and use resources more efficiently across seven key sectors – construction; textiles; furniture; electrical and electronics products; road vehicles; packaging, plastics and single-use items; and food. This includes design and manufacture of products to maximise their useful life, services to repair and reuse more items, and increasing product sharing in the economy.
- The Environment Bill also requires the government to set at least one long-term, legally binding target in four of the highest priority areas for environmental improvement, including resource efficiency and waste reduction. We will be required to set a target in this space in the future. These targets will be set following a robust, evidence-led process that includes seeking independent expert advice, a role for stakeholders and the public, and approval from Parliament subject to the affirmative procedure.
‘What we eat and how we use land’
- Several of the Assembly’s top considerations for government and Parliament to bear in mind when making decisions about food, farming, land use and the path to net zero centre on the below points.
- Providing support to farmers – including financial and professional/skills focused support.
- Provide information and education from an early age about “greener and healthier eating habits”.
- Using land efficiently.
- The Assembly called for provision of support to farmers, including on skills. The Government is contributing towards the establishment of a new professional body, the Institute for Agriculture and Horticulture (TIAH). This initiative is aimed at removing the fragmentation that exists within current learning and skills landscape for farming businesses, enabling the industry to drive forward greater uptake of skills, creating clear career development pathways and promoting the sector as a progressive, professional and attractive career choice.
- The Government is reforming post-16 technical education to provide clearer routes into skilled employment in agriculture and other sectors. A key part of this is the introduction of the new Technical Level programmes (T-levels) which include pathways in agriculture, environmental and animal health and care. Alongside apprenticeships this provides more opportunities and pathways for young people looking for careers in agriculture and horticulture.
- In 2021, we will start the 7-year transition away from EU-based rules and towards a system in which we pay farmers to improve the environment, improve animal health and welfare, and reduce carbon emissions.
- We are introducing three schemes that reward the delivery of environmental benefits: the Sustainable Farming Incentive, the Local Nature Recovery scheme and the Landscape Recovery scheme. There are also other schemes being developed to improve farm productivity and prosperity. Our ‘Farming is Changing’ publication summarises the Agricultural Transition Plan and has further details of our planned schemes.
- The Sustainable Farming Incentive, Local Nature Recovery scheme, and Landscape Recovery scheme will play a crucial role in tackling climate change. Our understanding of how much carbon the new schemes might save will deepen as they develop, but it is expected to be significant.
- These schemes will deliver against a range of outcomes that contribute to environmental public goods, the 25 Year Environment Plan and net zero. The six public goods that the schemes will contribute to are: clean air; clean and plentiful water; thriving plants and wildlife; reduction in and protection from environmental hazards; mitigation of and adaptation to climate change; enhanced beauty, heritage and engagement with the natural environment. We are working with stakeholders and end users to determine the specific land management actions that will be paid for to contribute to these outcomes.
- Trees must be planted now if they are to meaningfully contribute to net zero. Our manifesto set a high ambition for trees, to increase planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by 2025, aligning with the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendation to increase planting to reach net zero.
- An action plan for trees, woodland and forestry will be published in 2021 following completion of public consultation in September 2020. The plan will focus on expanding, protecting and improving our woodlands, and how trees and woodlands can connect people to nature, support the economy, combat climate change and recover biodiversity. It will set out our forestry policy through to 2050, outlining how we will deliver England’s portion of the 30,000 ha per year of new tree planting in the UK by 2025 through our ambitious England tree planting programme, working with partners and key stakeholders to do so.
- The action plan will also outline how the Nature for Climate Fund can be best utilised to deliver environmental and social outcomes, including the critical role trees play in achieving net zero targets.
- The new Nature for Climate Peatland Capital Grant Scheme launched this spring and will fund peatland restoration at landscape scale. This fund will aim to bring 35,000 hectares of upland and lowland peat across England under restoration management, contributing to meeting our goals on Net Zero and Nature Recovery. We will be setting out further measures to protect England’s peatlands this year.
- In June 2019, Henry Dimbleby was appointed to lead an independent review of the food system, which will inform Government’s new Food Strategy. Henry Dimbleby will publish the second and final report of his independent review of the food system in Summer 2021. It will include a root and branch examination of the food system as it is today and the forces that shape it. The review will make a set of recommendations that will begin the process of shifting the food system onto a different path. The review will also include a Good Food Action Plan for 2022, a set of immediate actions for government which will begin a decade long period of transformation.
- The Government has committed to responding to the Review’s recommendations in the form of a Food Strategy White Paper within 6 months of the release of the final report. Government is committed to developing a food strategy that will support the development of a food system that is sustainable, resilient and affordable, that will support people to live healthy lives, and that will protect animal health and welfare.
- We are committed to promoting a healthy balanced diet supported by a sustainable food system, and providing information and education about greener and healthier eating habits. PHE promotes a healthy balanced diet based on the UK’s food model, the Eatwell Guide. The Eatwell Guide shows the proportions of food groups that make up a healthy balanced diet in a visual format accompanied by advice.
- The names of the food group segments were updated in 2016 to place emphasis on certain foods that can be considered more environmentally sustainable as well as to promote a diet that is lower in saturated fat and higher in fibre.
- PHE worked with the Carbon Trust to conduct a sustainability assessment of the Eatwell Guide. According to the Carbon Trust analysis, the guide shows an appreciably lower environmental impact than the current UK diet.
- The Eatwell Guide principles are communicated through a variety of channels, including the government’s 5 A Day programme, PHE’s healthier catering guidance and PHE social marketing campaigns including Start4life, Change4Life and OneYou. Government dietary advice is also communicated to the population via the NHS.uk website.
- Change4Life has worked in partnership with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Veg Power to promote seasonal fruit and vegetables using social media channels, through the distribution of the Eat Them to Defeat Them magazine (a children’s activity book which makes eating vegetables fun) and via website content.
- Public Health England has a range of curriculum-linked Change4Life teaching resources that encourage primary pupils to make healthier food choices, including eating more fruit and vegetables.
- Education about healthier eating habits is embedded in the national curriculum through a number of subjects, including design and technology, science and the newly-introduced health education. We also recognise the importance of teaching pupils about the food chain and sourcing of ingredients. In key stages 1 and 2 pupils are taught to understand seasonality and know where and how a variety of ingredients are grown, reared, caught and processed, this is then built upon at key stage 3 to understand the source, seasonality and characteristics of a broad range of ingredients.
- We want the entire supply chain to help deliver healthier and more sustainable food and encourage healthy eating. To that end, our Food Strategy White Paper will build on existing policy work such as that developed under the Agriculture Act and the obesity strategy to help ensure that our food system delivers healthy and affordable food for all people and is built upon a resilient and sustainable agriculture sector.
- Defra is funding the work of the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), including the Courtauld 2025 voluntary commitment, which works across the food supply chain with the target to cut carbon and food waste in the sector by one fifth between 2015 and 2025, as well as reduce water stress. WRAP offers tools, guidance and research which food businesses can use to support their supply chains to become more resource efficient and support the sector to redistribute surplus food.
- A) What would a good response to Climate Assembly UK from the Government look like?
B) What would a good response from Parliament look like?