UK's new premier axes Department of Energy and Climate Change

15 July 2016

The UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has been scrapped and its brief folded into the newly created Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) department. The formation of BEIS, which was announced yesterday following Theresa May's appointment as the new British Prime Minister, adds energy-related matters to the remit of its predecessor the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

DECC worked to make sure the UK has secure, clean, affordable energy supplies and promote international action to mitigate climate change. It was supported by eight agencies and public bodies - Ofgem, the Oil and Gas Authority, the Civil Nuclear Police Authority, the Coal Authority, the Committee on Climate Change, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management and the Nuclear Liabilities Financing Assurance Board.

Following his appointment yesterday as the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark said: "I am thrilled to have been appointed to lead this new department charged with delivering a comprehensive industrial strategy, leading government's relationship with business, furthering our world-class science base, delivering affordable, clean energy and tackling climate change."

The BBC reported that decisions on the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant and the government's Low Carbon strategy due later this year "will offer genuine pointers to the significance of the death of DECC".

Clark was appointed as Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in October 2008, when the Conservative Party was in Opposition to Gordon Brown's Labour government.

According to Clark's website, he was responsible for two "landmark policy papers" in energy and climate change policy - The Low Carbon Economy and Rebuilding Security, which set out how a Conservative government "will make Britain a leading player in the low-carbon economy".

Yesterday, DECC's former Energy Minister, Andrea Leadsom, said in the House of Commons that the UK's decision to leave the European Union does not change the country's commitment to investing in low-carbon energy, including new nuclear, nor its efforts to tackle climate change.

May's appointment as Prime Minister this week followed David Cameron's decision to resign after the result of a nationwide referendum held on 23 June showed that most voters wanted to leave the EU.

May yesterday appointed Leadsom the country's new Environment Secretary, while Amber Rudd, previously Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, is the new Home Secretary. Clark was formerly Communities and Local Government Secretary.

Angus Brendan MacNeil, chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, said: "While members of my committee differed in their views on the European Union, the immediate impact of the vote to leave has been to amplify uncertainty at a time when major investment is needed to deliver affordable, clean and secure energy. In this context, I am astonished at the prime minister's decision to abolish the DECC."

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News