Press release

18 Jan 2023

The Skidmore Review: A welcome glimpse into future UK Net Zero policy

The review’s recommendations are wide-ranging and offer a welcome glimpse into future policy choices that will shape eventual legislation. It’s encouraging to see the consistent emphasis on the significant opportunity that Net Zero offers to the country and to businesses.

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Rob Joyce

Manager, Media Relations, Ernst & Young LLP

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Rob Doepel, UK & Ireland Managing Partner, EY Sustainability, comments on the publication of the Skidmore Review:

“The review’s recommendations are wide-ranging and offer a welcome glimpse into future policy choices that will shape eventual legislation. It’s encouraging to see the consistent emphasis on the significant opportunity that Net Zero offers to the country and to businesses. The UK is well-placed to emerge as a global green superpower, but the window to achieve this is closing rapidly. The review’s insights now need to be developed into detailed policy and firm, costed commitments in the Government’s updated Net Zero strategy. The review team has compiled this report with impressive speed and we would hope this pace is maintained.

“The opportunity for the UK to lead the way on Net Zero will not come for free and the need for investment comes at a time when there are competing priorities for public funds. To achieve its goals, the Government must accelerate the mobilisation of private sector capital to ensure the UK invests in Net Zero and can finance the largescale infrastructure projects we will need. 

“We welcome the recommendations to establish taskforces for solar, onshore and offshore wind, as well as the calls to align government, regulators and industry to create accelerated deployment roadmaps and greater regulatory integration. These steps should help to reduce much of the red tape that has accumulated across many years of incremental policy and regulation; doing so will be crucial in rapidly accelerating our national energy transition. The call to streamline the planning and environmental permitting processes is also welcome, although this is not the first time such a recommendation has been made.”  

On the Office for Net Zero Delivery

“The recommendation to establish an Office for Net Zero Delivery is welcome given the natural breadth of decarbonisation policy development. To date, a range of Net Zero policy has been explored and developed across many government departments, which has sometimes slowed progress. A central office would provide the catalyst for the Net Zero ‘big bang’ the review calls for and a coordinated policy approach would help unlock many of the review’s significant recommendations, from developing a new, comprehensive framework for infrastructure delivery to working with local communities to deploy solar and onshore wind facilities.”

On transition plan disclosure and advice for business 

“The Review reaffirms the key role that business will play in the UK’s Net Zero journey and highlights the pioneering work the Transition Plan Taskforce is carrying out as UK listed companies prepare to disclose more detailed transition plans. We welcome the recommendation that the TPT standards be made mandatory for both listed and private companies to ensure comparable disclosure standards across the economy. 

“Companies that move first with credible and comprehensive transition strategies will  gain a tangible head start on their competition, although time is running out to enjoy first mover advantages. Many of the businesses we work with view Net Zero as an opportunity, but success will require world-leading talent, innovative new technology and fresh partnerships.”

Rohan Malik, EY UK&I Government and Infrastructure Leader, comments on the Skidmore Review’s call for a cross-sectoral infrastructure strategy by 2025:

“The Skidmore Review is a welcome milestone in the UK’s journey towards Net Zero and its recommendations provide an insightful roadmap for eventual legislation. It will now need to be matched by a coordinated programme of policy development. This is an opportunity for Government to outline how it intends to galvanise Whitehall, alongside private sector capital and skills, to deliver the right policy and projects, at speed. 

“The Review is right to call for the development of a cross-sectoral infrastructure strategy, but ideally we would see this developed before 2025 in order to spur private investment. With public budgets under pressure, businesses can and should play a key role in financing green infrastructure projects and technology development. Domestic and foreign direct investment sources are ready and waiting to invest, but they will need clarity on UK green infrastructure priorities and how Government intends to work with the private sector to deliver them. Outlining a clear approach now will help make the UK an investible proposition and accelerate our Net Zero transition.” 

Michelle T. Davies, UK & Ireland Climate and Sustainability Leader, EY Law, comments on the Skidmore Review’s call for closer regulatory alignment:

“From a legal perspective, the Skidmore Review marks an encouraging step into the next, more sophisticated phase of the UK’s net zero journey. Regulatory alignment was a particularly prominent theme, with calls for an Office of Net Zero Delivery and planning reform to work in tandem with renewables deployment. The UK has previously seen a myriad of sometimes contradictory regulation, so a move towards a more cohesive legislative approach would be helpful for businesses. These firms are often regulated globally and contend with a vast range of legislation across different territories, while their stakeholders are also subject to their own specific and frequently inconsistent regulations, generating more work and confusion for all sides. Aligning legislation, at least at an initial UK level, would be a welcome step forward.

“The review’s praise for the Transition Plan Taskforce should also underscore how significant these transition plans will be for businesses. These are not marketing exercises, they are comprehensive documents and listed companies will be required to deliver these strategies, verify their delivery outcomes and communicate these with the market and key stakeholders. Careful consideration will be needed in the coming weeks and months to ensure these plans contain accurate information that avoids the risk of disputes at a later date.”