UK has walked off to the pub on net zero, says former BBC chief

Lord Birt has said the recent Net Zero Review demonstrates a “true scandal”

Big Zero Show 2023

The government is not doing enough to materialise its net zero commitments, the House of Lords has heard.

During a debate on the Industry and Regulators Committee’s report on the net zero transformation examining the government’s actions to achieve its 2050 targets, Lord Birt, former Director-General of BBC, said: “The report we are discussing today and the more recent Skidmore review illuminate a true scandal.

“As a nation, we have declared a widely supported net zero goal and then, in effect, walked off to the pub, leaving behind a black hole where detailed policy and a plan of implementation ought to be in place.”

One of the key findings of the Net Zero Review is that the UK has fallen behind in the delivery of net zero – among others, it recommended an accelerated rollout of low carbon heating alternatives.

The member of the House of Lords has said net zero is “the biggest issue the government will ever have to manage” and that “scores of challenging issues” remain unresolved.

These include the development of a larger grid capacity and an electric vehicle charging network.

Lord Birt continued: “Valuable as it is to have the Skidmore review, it was an extraordinary act for the government to commission it. Doing so was, in effect, an overt declaration that the government were not wrestling with and resolving the host of unsettled issues that the Skidmore review identifies.

“Both reviews make similar recommendations, which we have heard echoed today, of what the government now must do; namely effective machinery in the Cabinet Office to coordinate policymaking and action across Whitehall and the country at large.”

Network with hundreds of businesses and public sector organisations taking bigger steps to net zero. Book your FREE ticket to the Big Zero Show 2023 now. 

If you enjoyed this story you can sign up to our weekly email for Energy Live News – and if you’re interested in hearing more about the journey to net zero by 2050, you can also sign up to the future Net Zero newsletter. 

Latest Podcast