The Energy Act 2008 becomes law

01.12.08 Share


Last week saw three important pieces of legislation added to the statute books - the Climate Change Act, the Energy Act and the Planning Act. The Government has placed much store on the ability of these three pieces of legislation to deliver the seismic changes needed to enable the UK's ambitious targets on climate change to be met.

The Government hopes that these three pieces of legislation will "facilitate the UK's transition to a low-carbon economy, deliver a long-term, secure energy supply, and enshrine in law ambitious targets to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent". These are bold aims, and the potential impact of the legislation is huge.

Before this potential can be fully realised, however, the broad policy set out in the primary legislation will need to be converted into more detailed secondary legislation. The wheels of UK legislation are turning therefore, but are they turning quickly enough? And will the eventual legislation deliver the results the Government hopes? Either way, these three new Acts will have a fundamental impact on those involved in the energy sector:

  • The Energy Act contains a host of important provisions - from feed-in tariffs to smart meters and from nuclear decommissioning to carbon storage. A more detailed analysis of its contents can be found here.
  • The Climate Change Act sets a legally binding target to reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. It also contains powers to establish emissions trading schemes in the UK, such as the proposed Carbon Reduction Commitment. Wragge & Co's energy experts will publish a more detailed note on the Climate Change Act shortly.
  • The Planning Act provides a new planning regime for large infrastructure projects, including power generation assets above 50 MW onshore and 100 MW offshore and electric wires above 20kV. The Act paves the way for the new Infrastructure Planning Commission, which will determine applications for major new infrastructure projects, following the designation of national policy statements by the Secretary of State. Again, Wragge & Co will publish a detailed analysis of the Planning Act shortly.

The 'Energy Act 2008' and the 'Planning Act 2008' are not to be confused with the 'Planning and Energy Act 2008' - a single Act that became law the previous week.

Key Contact

Derek Goodban, partner, +44 (0)121 685 2710,

This alert may contain information of general interest about current legal issues, but does not give legal advice.

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