Last reviewed 11 May 2022

The Government has set out its programme of 38 new bills that it hopes to become law over the next Parliament, including a raft of business-related environmental measures.

Energy Security Bill

The bill contains new green innovations to stimulate carbon capture business models, establish a hydrogen heating trial and create a new pro-innovation regulatory environment for fusion energy. There are also plans to facilitate the safe clean-up of the legacy of redundant nuclear sites.

The bill also includes further measures to stimulate investment and growth in domestic heat pumps and establishing a new market standard and trading scheme to support innovation. The plan includes the first ever large-scale hydrogen heating trial as part of the wider heat decarbonisation plan. Ofgem will be appointed the new regulator for heat networks to ensure fair prices for consumers.

CCUS (carbon capture, use and storage) will play a more prominent role with new measures to improve transport and industrial carbon capture and storage.

Earlier announcements to increase the number of “green” hydrogen projects will be included in the bill, including a target of 5GW of low-carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030.

Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill

As the title suggests, the aim of the bill is to boost living standards, improve literacy and numeracy and narrow the gap between rich and poor by improving life expectancy and other quality of life issues.

It includes more investment in towns and rural areas and giving communities greater say over how investment is spent, with additional support for 10 free ports to boost the local economy in some deprived areas. The plan also includes investment in housing, regeneration for 20 regional cities and wider ambitions for improvements in transport infrastructure. However, there are no additional measures in the bill to deliver retrofitting across existing housing stock to save household energy bills.

Planning Bill

Integral to the levelling up agenda are proposals to improve the planning system. The Government is committed to introducing legislation to modernise the current planning system to create a “simpler, faster and more modern planning system” that encourages more active community engagement in the process and to ensure homes and infrastructure are built quicker.

Reforms to planning also aim to help protect and enhance the environment by introducing “quicker, simpler frameworks” for funding infrastructure and assessing environmental impacts. The Government has also promised to consult with communities that wish to host new onshore wind farms in return for economic support such as guaranteed lower energy bills.

The Queen’s Speech contains 38 new Bills covering economic growth, energy security and a wide range of other environmental and social governance issues. Full details are available at assets.publishing.service.gov.uk.