UK abolishes Department of Energy and Climate Change

20 July 2016

The UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has been abolished and its activities transferred to the newly created Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) department. Formation of BEIS was announced on 14 July following the appointment of Theresa May as the new UK Prime Minister. Greg Clark was appointed minister in charge of BEIS.

DECC 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. 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. Leadsom has been appointed Environment Secretary.

Following his appointment 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." Clark was appointed as Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in October 2008, when the Conservative Party was in Opposition. His website says 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".

Angus Brendan MacNeil, chairman of the UK Parliament’s 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." MacNeil said his committee’s reports have recently identified serious concerns about reduced investor confidence in the UK energy sector.

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