MPs say new National Policy Statement on energy must go further to support Net Zero

MPs scrutinising detail of a draft revised National Policy Statement for Energy (NPS EN-1) say it does not deliver our Net Zero ambition and it should give more support to key low-cost technologies like onshore wind, as well as giving stronger messages overall.
MPs on the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee said that, as currently drafted, the new policy “does not provide the ‘step change’ needed to deliver the required scale of new NSIPs at a sufficiently rapid pace to deliver the Government’s net zero aims.”
It warned that the policy is ambiguous about the weight of climate change relative to local impacts and said it should “make the government’s commitment to Net Zero more explicit and to provide a clear and unambiguous direction to the Secretary of State to prioritise the importance of climate change in decision-making.” It wants “clearer direction in favour of the presumption of the delivery of new energy infrastructure” and says EN-1 should explicitly take precedent over local or statutory bodies’ planning policies – although the government should work closely with those authorities, to make sure that their planning principles are broadly in line with the Net Zero commitment.
Top of the committee’s list of technologies that should be supported was onshore wind. It said, “We recognise the importance of onshore wind as a significant source of clean energy and as a key part of the energy mix required to achieve net zero” and said that it should be included in the NPS. It accepted a statement from the National Infrastructure Planning Association in evidence that the omission of technologies such as onshore wind, in the context of the White Paper and the government’s climate change and net zero policies, “potentially leaves the NPS susceptible to judicial review, on the basis it may be claimed such omission is unreasonable/irrational and so unlawful.”
It also wanted “explicit and precise wording on hydrogen, carbon capture and storage and other technologies that will more clearly demonstrate how the move away from fossil fuels will be achieved.” The committee noted that should refer to all the infrastructure required, for example for transmission (such as CO2 transport), and “not just the specific types of technology used at source, such as carbon capture.”
Read the full report here