Queen’s Speech points to growth for green investment

14 May, 2021

The UK government has formally committed to investment in green business and to setting binding environmental targets.

In the Queen’s Speech, an annual address to mark the opening of parliament, Queen Elizabeth outlined the policies that the ruling Conservative Party intends to enact over the coming year – including a number of bills centred on environmental and social issues.

The government has said its plans will be a spur to investment in environmental issues and provide clarity for businesses for the future.

In her speech to parliament the Queen said the government would “invest in new green industries to create jobs, while protecting the environment”.

“The United Kingdom is committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and will continue to lead the way internationally by hosting the COP26 Summit in Glasgow,” she stated. “Legislation will set binding environmental targets.”

These measures are contained in the Environment Bill, which, once passed into law, will require the government to set specific targets on air quality, waste, biodiversity and water quality by October 2022.

In a policy paper issued last year the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said: “Environment Bill targets will help stimulate investments in green technology and innovative practices by providing long term certainty for business.”

The Environment Bill has been on the parliamentary agenda for almost three years. First proposed in 2018, the bill’s progress on to the statute books has been slow, partly due to its size and complexity but also due to disruption from the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit negotiations.

The government has said it aims to complete the passing of the Environment Bill before the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow. It is currently at the report stage in the House of Commons, the UK’s lower house of parliament.

The Queen’s Speech also addressed other environmental and social issues, including the announcement of “measures to address racial and ethnic disparities and ban conversion therapy”. Race and gender equality and other anti-discrimination issues have been on the agenda at many corporates over the past few years.

Last Updated: 14 May 2021