Angus Brendan MacNeil MP, Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, issued the following statement in response to the announcement that the Department of Energy and Climate Change is to be abolished:
"The Government has announced that it will abolish the Department of Energy and Climate Change and transfer its functions to other Government Departments, notably the new Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The exact details remain unclear.
My Committee's reports have recently identified serious concerns about reduced investor confidence in the UK energy sector. An historic agreement at COP21 in Paris last December still requires ratification, and the fifth carbon budget is still yet to be set in law. 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 DECC.
DECC's disappearance raises urgent questions. To whom falls the central statutory obligation, contained in the Climate Change Act 2008, to reduce the UK's carbon emissions by 80% from their 1990 baseline? Which Department will take responsibility for the energy and climate aspects of negotiations to leave the EU? Who will champion decarbonisation in Cabinet? Who will drive innovation in the energy sector?
Turning to my Committee and the crucial role we play in scrutinising the Government's energy and climate change policies, we are established under Standing Orders of the House of Commons. There will be no immediate change to our remit, operations or membership, which can only be done by order of the House. I am immensely proud of our work over the last year to hold the Government to account on achieving a balanced energy policy, setting the agenda on an innovative future energy system, and influencing the Government's long-term approach to climate targets. Over the coming weeks I will speak to colleagues to explore how we can ensure that effective Parliamentary scrutiny on the crucial issues of energy and climate change continues."