One of Theresa May’s first actions as she takes up office as Prime Minister has been to close the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), merging it with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to form the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
The new Department is to be led by former Communities Secretary Greg Clark MP whom served as Shadow Energy Secretary for the Conservative Party from 2008 to 2010.
Speaking of his appointment, 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 announcement comes alongside a string of new appointments and cabinet reshuffles including the appointment of Andrea Leadsom as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and former DECC Secretary Amber Rudd as the new Home Secretary.
A mixed response has come from industry in the wake of the collapse of the Department of Energy and Climate Change with the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) stating the news signals that improving the energy efficiency of our existing buildings has been pushed ever further down the list of Government priorities.
Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “Three years ago Cameron told his officials to “cut the green crap” and May has taken this further still by dissolving DECC. This means that there will be no Cabinet-level Minister championing climate change issues at the highest level of Government, which is bound to result in less emphasis and less action.
“Andrea Leadsom’s appointment as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs provides little solace when you consider that she has regularly voted against measures to tackle climate change in the past. This matters because for May’s newly-formed Government to side-line its green policies would be to sacrifice their numerous economic benefits.”
However, others view the newly formed Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as a positive for the industry, so long as the commitments to sustainable business are made clear.
Julie Hirigoyen, CEO of the UK Green Building Council, commented: “The newly created Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy represents a golden opportunity to put sustainable business at the heart of jobs and prosperity. We warmly welcome the appointment of Greg Clark as its Secretary of State. As a priority he needs to provide reassurance to businesses so they can invest with confidence in a low carbon future.
“However, the loss of a dedicated climate change department has the potential to send the wrong signal to the international community. The Government needs to reconfirm its commitment to the Paris Agreement at the earliest opportunity.”