Connecting the Watts: The case for a net zero delivery authority

Recent power outages across the north of England and in Scotland from Storm Arwen show the current energy system is failing individuals. The country must use the transition to net zero to put this right, through a joined-up approach, says cross-party think tank Policy Connect, in a new report co-chaired by Darren Jones MP, Wera Hobhouse MP and Alexander Stafford MP.

The Heat and Buildings Strategy and Net Zero Strategy set ambitious targets and commitments to bring the UK in line to achieve our net zero goals. Achieving this needs clear and strong delivery leadership, learning from the UK’s past successes such as the world-acclaimed London Olympics.

Policy Connect’s action-focussed report, Connecting the Watts, calls for a Net Zero Delivery Authority to provide delivery leadership in England to make net zero happen. It would ensure delivery on the strategies, facilitating cross-departmental action. The Authority would be the lynchpin in a whole-systems, coordinated approach that connects central to local, people to policymakers and the UK to its net zero carbon future.

The Authority should be established in statute so as to have the autonomy to make the necessary implementation decisions. It would need to work with the UK’s nations and regions. To provide assurance to business and people about its longevity and clout, it should be sponsored jointly by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Her Majesty’s Treasury (HMT).

The report also calls for:

  1. Every government department to publicly sign up to apply a Net Zero Test to its individual strategies and policies and be held to account.
  2. Local government and its partners – who have the reach into local communities and businesses – to be empowered to plan the transition and resourced to make it happen, street by street.
  3. The government to establish a network of independent consumer information hubs, which would provide information about net zero, consumer protections and offer tailored advice, ensuring no one is left behind.

Report co-chair Darren Jones MP, chair of the BEIS Select Committee, says:

“I would like to thank Policy Connect for their report detailing a roadmap to Net Zero.

“Now Parliament must consider which pathways will help us to reach our legally binding Net Zero targets and achieve a just transition. The Government must not waste the momentum that we've gained from COP26.

“Now is the time for delivery, so I welcome the publication of this action-orientated report.”

Report co-chair Wera Hobhouse MP says:

“A coordinated response involving local people is vital for the UK to reach Net Zero.

“My constituents have many questions about reaching net zero and how this might impact their lives and this report sets out an impressive approach that connects local people to policymakers as the UK works towards a zero carbon future.

“A just transition must be central to any net zero programme.”

This report has been sponsored by Baxi Heating, E.On, Energy & Utilities Alliance, IGEM and Worcester Bosch Group.