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Queen outlines energy legislation to parliament

The Queen has outlined government plans to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses, establish a Green Investment Bank and reform the water and electricity sectors.

The Queen set out the government’s legislative programme this morning in a speech to Parliament. She said the forthcoming plans would focus on “economic growth, justice and constitutional reform”.

The measures include an Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill to repeal unnecessary legislation and limit state inspections of companies, set up a Green Investment Bank and reform competition law.

The GIB is being set up in Edinburgh with £3 billion of funding to stimulate private sector investment in green projects.

There will also be an Energy Bill, to create subsidies for low-carbon energy and incentives to deliver “secure, clearn and affordable electricity”.

A draft Water Bill will reform the water industry in England and Wales.

Responding to the announcements, Civil Engineering Contractors Association director of external affairs Alasdair Reisner said: “CECA hopes the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill will cut through red tape in the infrastructure sector, while protecting those regulations that play an important role in maintaining the sustainability of the industry, and the health & safety of those who work in it.

“Furthermore, the continuing commitment to the establishment of the Green Investment Bank, and the implementation of the legal powers required for it to function effectively, is a positive development. We recognise that more needs to be done to meet the coming infrastructure investment deficit, but believe the GIB is one small step in the right direction.”

Other changes announced in the speech include plans to reform the House of Lords, approve the accession of Croatia to the European Union, reform public sector pensions and set up a new National Crime Agency.

Paul King, CEO at the UK Green Building Council, said:  “The Green Investment Bank is a welcome example of the government intervening to help create a market, but on its own will not be enough to salvage the government’s green credentials.”

Mr King said the Energy Bill announced should provide a vehicle for the long-awaited roll-out of display energy certificates, which show energy use and carbon emissions and would help UK businesses save money.

He also called for greater intervention from government through incentives such as reduced stamp duty to encourage households to take up the Green Deal.

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