New environment recommendations could have a ‘significant’ impact on trade

The chair of the government’s net-zero review has been hit with backlash after publishing the latest environmental recommendations, with policy and trade experts saying it could have a “significant impact on trade” in the UK.

Chris Skidmore MP handed over the review to the government last week, which includes more than 100 recommendations to ensure the UK meets its target of slashing carbon emissions by 2050.

However, experts at the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) have said that they could significantly impact supply chains and international trade relationships, due to the proposed idea of accelerating the use of renewable power while “doubling down” on nuclear energy.

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In his review, Skidmore said the move to net zero was an opportunity to put the UK at an “economic advantage globally”.

A number of retail businesses have already begun to switch to more eco-friendly freight options in order to tackle carbon emissions – from the UK’s largest retailer Tesco swapping trucks for rail freight to German discounter Aldi introducing renewable biomethane-powered HGVs.

“As a key interlocutor between the UK’s traders and government, we will be observing closely which of the recommendations the government will implement and how this will affect the trade community,” said trade policy and research specialist at IOE&IT, Hunter Matson.

“However, the fact that Mr Skidmore was given the mandate to complete this report highlights that it was recognised as a valuable piece of work by the government.”

Moreover, experts agreed that some of the changes in regulation proposed by the Tory MP in terms of renewables investment could make the UK more appealing for businesses.

“The review is right in saying that the move to net zero has economic advantages for the UK,” interim director of the IOE&IT Academy, Vicky Payne said.

However, she argued it was “vital that the right business environment is created through policies, regulations and taxation regimes that incentivise investment in decarbonisation”.

The news comes as the National Farmers Union (NFU) has warned the government’s changes to the Environmental Land Management schemes (ELMs) could be “too little, too late.”



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