BEIS aims to publish energy white paper despite coronavirus outbreak

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THE DEPARTMENT for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is aiming to have the long-awaited energy white paper out in spring.

Speaking to Current± before the parliament’s Easter break, a BEIS spokesperson said that this was still the plan despite the COVID-19 outbreak.

However, as the crisis continues and resources are redirected, there is the possibility that anything unrelated to the pandemic will be “put on the back burner.”

This follows previous statements made by the government that the white paper would be released by the end of Q1 2020 rather than spring.

In October, then-energy secretary Angela Leadsom said that the paper remained a work in progress but would be published by 31 March 2020, during a BEIS select committee meeting.

At the beginning on March, Baroness Bloomberg seemingly reconfirmed this date during a session at the House of Lords.

In February junior energy minister Lord Duncan stated that the long-awaited energy white paper was due to be published in ‘a matter of weeks’, however this never materialised.

The white paper was originally due to be published in the summer of 2019 but has been repeatedly delayed.

The document is set to outline the road map for net zero, helping the industry to move forwards towards this now legally binding target.

However, despite the confirmation from BEIS today, many will be skeptical of this new date given the current pandemic.

Parliament closed early for Easter on 25 March amid coronavirus fears and are set to return to work on 21 April.

It seems likely that the release of the white paper will be once again pushed back.

Currently all non-essential parliamentary resources are being redirected in an effort to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, further throwing the publication of the paper into doubt.