Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, is set to chair a new climate change cabinet committee, aiming to aid action across the government in protecting the environment, reducing emissions and improving air quality.
It is not yet known exactly who will be on the committee or how often it will sit.
However, the climate change committee will be the first of its kind in government, with ministers who are responsible for both domestic and international climate change policy being brought together. Departments will also be held accountable for their actions in combatting climate change.
The Prime Ministers said: “I want us to become the cleanest, greenest society on earth, and inspire countries around the world to follow our lead so that our children can breathe clean air and benefit from the wonderful flora and fauna of this earth.”
He added: “We know that people across the UK are passionate about protecting our planet, and we need to continue building on the excellent progress this government has made in tackling climate change and improving our environment.”
Those that are likely to be involved in the agenda of this new committee are thought to include the Foreign Secretary, the Chancellor, the Business Secretary, the Environment Secretary, the International Development Secretary and the Transport Secretary among others.
A key item on their agenda will be overseeing the UK’s preparations to host the UN’s climate summit (COP26), that is being held in Glasgow, in November 2020.
An environment department spokesman has said: “Given the scale of the challenges we face our targets have to be ambitious and deliver sustainable results. And we will need to give businesses and the public sufficient time to make the necessary changes to help us get there.”
They added: “As part of the proposals in the bill this, and any future government, would have to report annually on its progress to the independent Office for Environmental Protection which will hold the government to account to make sure it is on track.”
Some have been sceptical of the ability of this new committee to reach a “carbon-free future”, including Friends of the Earth.
Their Chief Executive, Craig Bennett said: “With the planet facing a climate emergency, we need urgent action not just warm words.
“The Prime Minister’s pledge to make the UK a global leader on the climate crisis will only be realised if slashing climate-wrecking emissions is at the very heart of every government policy.”
The Friends of the Earth Chief Executive continued: “This means scrapping plans for a third runway at Heathrow, halting the multi-billion pound road-building programme and abandoning support for fossil fuel development at home and abroad.
“The solutions for building a carbon-free future already exist – but has Boris Johnson got the political will to make it happen?”