Detailed guide: Oil and gas: environmental policy

Published 22 January 2013
Last updated 4 December 2020 + show all updates

  1. The guidelines for the UK risk-based approach programme for the management of produce water discharges from offshore installations have been updated. Technical report on the updated dilution factors for the UK RBA has been added. The RBA implementation programme progress has been removed.

  2. Updated Risk Based Approach Implementation Programme Progress

  3. United Kingdom Risk Based Approach Implementation Programme – (updated)

  4. Risk Based Approach Implementation Programme Progress

  5. Oil and Gas: Added document for June to July Environmental Issues Register

  6. Oil and Gas: Updated Research Programme Funded Projects document

  7. Environmental Register (Oil & Gas) – March to May 2015 – (added)

  8. Oil and gas: Environmental Register (Oil & Gas) – August to November 2014 – (added)

  9. Oil and gas: Insert of OSPAR – Risk Based Approach For The Management Of Produced Water section.

  10. Oil ans gas: Environmental Register (Oil & Gas) – July 2014 – (added)

  11. Oil and gas: Environmental Register (Oil & Gas) – January to June 2014 – (added)

  12. Oil and gas: Environmental Register (Oil & Gas) – August to December 2013 – (added)

  13. Environmental Register (Oil & Gas) – April to July 2013 – added

  14. First published.


Open consultation: Greenhouse gas removals: call for evidence

This call for evidence aims to strengthen the government’s evidence base on greenhouse gas removals (GGRs).

GGRs are likely to make a contribution to the UK’s net zero ambition, but many GGR methods are at an early stage of maturity and are not yet ready to be deployed at scale.

We invite evidence and views on:

  • the viability of different GGRs in the UK – including technology readiness, cost, deployment potential, lifecycle emissions, and wider constraints to deployment
  • the role of government in addressing market barriers and stimulating the development and deployment of GGRs
  • supporting policies needed to enable deployment and scale-up, such as a robust framework for monitoring, reporting and verification of negative emissions

This builds on the Vivid Economics study on greenhouse gas removal policy options, published by BEIS in 2019.

We welcome views and information from a wide range of stakeholders with an interest in GGRs, such as:

  • developers
  • researchers
  • investors
  • academics
  • social scientists
  • accreditation bodies
  • think tanks

The information we receive will help to inform the government’s future policy in this area.

See the BEIS consultation privacy notice.

Please do not send responses by post to the department at the moment as we may not be able to access them.


National Statistics: Building materials and components statistics: November 2020

Construction building materials: tables, November 2020

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Construction building materials: time series of discontinued and replacement price indices, November 2020

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Open consultation: Measures to reform post-termination non-compete clauses in contracts of employment

Non-compete clauses are used in contracts of employment to restrict an individual’s ability to work for a competing business, or to establish a competing business for a defined period after they leave.

To support economic recovery from the impacts of COVID-19, the government is exploring avenues to boost innovation, create the conditions for new jobs and increase competition.

The purpose of the consultation is to seek views on:

  • proposals to make non-compete clauses enforceable only when the employer provides compensation during the term of the clause, and whether this could be complemented by additional transparency measures and statutory limits on the length of non-compete clauses

  • an alternative proposal to make post-termination, non-compete clauses in contracts of employment unenforceable

See the BEIS consultation privacy notice.

Please do not send responses by post to the department at the moment as we may not be able to access them.


Open consultation: Measures to extend the ban on exclusivity clauses in contracts of employment

We are seeking views on a specific proposal to extend the ban on exclusivity clauses beyond zero hours contracts, to contracts where the workers’ guaranteed weekly income is less than the Lower Earnings Limit, currently £120 a week. The intention is to allow low-income workers who are not able to secure the number of hours they would like from their current employer to seek additional work elsewhere.

Following the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies are not always in a position to offer enough hours for every worker. If more workers are able to take on additional work, on short hours contracts, this could also increase businesses’ confidence to create jobs with contracts which suit them and their current circumstances.

The responses to the consultation will help inform decisions on detailed policy questions such as the appropriate level to set the earnings threshold and the appropriate level of hourly wage cap for which an exemption to the ban may be warranted.

These reforms will affect businesses and organisations who use exclusivity clauses in their contracts of employment, and low-income workers who are subject to exclusivity clauses and are looking to take on additional work to boost their income.

See the BEIS consultation privacy notice.

Please do not send responses by post to the department at the moment as we may not be able to access them.


Press release: Government to consult on crackdown on unfair employment clauses in a boost for low paid workers

  • Proposed crackdown on restrictive employment contracts will ensure up to 1.8 million low paid workers across the UK can pick up extra work if they want to
  • other reforms will remove unfair barriers that prevent workers in technology, legal and other sectors from starting up or joining competing businesses
  • plans will give workers more freedom over where and when they work – helping millions boost their incomes during this difficult time

New proposed measures to allow workers’ greater freedom to find new or additional work have been unveiled by Business Secretary Alok Sharma today (4 December 2020).

In a major win for the UK’s lowest paid workers, the government will consult on banning the use of exclusivity clauses in contracts, which prevent workers from taking on additional work with other employers, This would apply to a worker’s who’s guaranteed weekly income is below the Lower Earnings Limit, currently £120 a week.

This change will put more power into the hands of an estimated 1.8 million low paid workers across the UK to top-up their income with additional work if they want to – ending an unfair penalty on hardworking Britons who want the freedom and flexibility to make a living and support their families.

It will also greatly expand the pool of talent available for businesses who rely on part-time and flexible workers, as those already in low-paid part-time employment will no longer be bound by restrictive contracts.

Today’s plans also look to reform the use of non-compete clauses, which can prevent individuals from starting up or joining competing businesses after they leave a position. The move will ensure talented individuals have the freedom to apply their skills in another role if they wish while unleashing a wave of new start-ups across the country.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:

We want to ensure every worker has the freedom and flexibility to work in the way they want, where they want – whether that’s topping up their pay packet by taking on additional work, or being able to start their own business with the skills they’ve gained throughout their career.

Today’s reforms are another step on our path to making sure the UK is the best place in the world to work, start and grow a business as we build back better from the pandemic.

Plans involve introducing a mandatory compensation requirement for any employer that wishes to use non-compete clauses, ensuring that workers receive a fair settlement if they are restricted from joining or starting a business within their field of expertise. This aims to discourage the unnecessary and widespread use of non-compete clauses by employers.

The government is also seeking views on whether it is necessary to go further and ban non-compete clauses all together.

Exclusivity clauses were banned for workers on zero hours contracts, where employers are not obliged to provide any minimum working hours and the worker is not obliged to accept any work offered, in 2015.

Andy Chamberlain, Director of Policy at IPSE said:

It is a welcome step in the right direction that the government is consulting on ways to crack down on restrictive contracts.

Paring back restrictive contract features such as exclusivity and non-compete clauses should, we hope, help open up opportunities for the self-employed and support them in adapting to these challenging times.

The 2 proposed reforms form part of the government’s plans to build back better, ensuring the UK’s recovery from COVID-19 creates new jobs, increases competition and maximises opportunities for the most talented innovators, job creators and entrepreneurs in the UK.

View the 2 consultations:

Notes to editors

Other countries have also restricted exclusivity clauses in order to stimulate innovation, including Germany and France.

In Germany, exclusivity clauses are not used in employment contracts, and taking on an additional job (as long as it is not in competition to your first employer) is never prohibited.

Germany have also created mini-jobs, to promote higher employment rates through income tax-free marginal employment, with workers making at most €450 a month in part-time jobs (under the limit for social security contributions and exempt from income tax). All German industries are allowed to offer mini job contracts, but the most common types of mini jobs are in the fields of catering, retail, and domestic work.


Press release: UK sets ambitious new climate target ahead of UN Summit

  • Prime Minister announces ambitious new emissions target setting the UK on the path to net zero by 2050, leading the way in tackling climate change globally
  • new plan aims for at least 68% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade, compared to 1990 levels
  • UK commits to reducing emissions by the fastest rate of any major economy, ahead of the Climate Ambition Summit later this month
  • target follows the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan to create and support 250,000 jobs whilst helping to eradicate our contribution to climate change

The Prime Minister has today (Friday 4 December) announced a new ambitious target to reduce the UK’s emissions by at least 68% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

Recognising the urgency to go further to tackle climate change, the UK’s new target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – our Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Climate Agreement – is among the highest in the world and commits the UK to cutting emissions at the fastest rate of any major economy so far.

Today’s target is the first set by the UK following its departure from the EU, demonstrating the UK’s leadership in tackling climate change. Over the past decade, the UK has cut carbon emissions by more than any similar developed country and was the first major economy to legislate for net zero emissions by 2050.

The announcement comes ahead of the UK co-hosting the Climate Ambition Summit on Saturday 12 December, which will coincide with the fifth anniversary of the historic Paris Agreement. The summit calls on countries around the world to submit ambitious NDCs or other climate plans as we head towards the UN COP26 climate talks, which the UK government is hosting in Glasgow next year.

This new target meets the recommendation of experts at the independent Climate Change Committee who advise the government on emissions targets.

The UK’s path to meeting this target is backed by the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a green industrial revolution, which will create and support up to 250,000 British jobs by 2030. The plan sets out ambitious policies and investment, with the potential to deliver over £40 billion of private investment by 2030, so that we can develop innovative technologies and make significant strides in cutting emissions across energy, transport and buildings. It also provides a roadmap of further action the UK will be taking to reduce emissions in the coming decades, encouraging similar levels of ambition from businesses, organisations and nations around the world.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

We have proven we can reduce our emissions and create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process – uniting businesses, academics, NGOs and local communities in a common goal to go further and faster to tackle climate change.

Today, we are taking the lead with an ambitious new target to reduce our emissions by 2030, faster than any major economy, with our Ten Point Plan helping us on our path to reach it.

But this is a global effort, which is why the UK is urging world leaders as part of next week’s Climate Ambition Summit to bring forward their own ambitious plans to cut emissions and set net zero targets.

Business and Energy Secretary and COP26 President Alok Sharma said:

Tackling climate change is the one of the most urgent shared endeavours of our lifetimes, demanding bold action from every nation to prevent catastrophic global warming.

As a country, we have demonstrated we can both rapidly cut carbon emissions, while creating new jobs, new technologies and future-proof industries that will generate economic growth for decades to come.

The UK’s new emissions target is among the highest in the world and reflects the urgency and scale of the challenge our planet faces. I hope other countries join us and raise the bar at next week’s UN Climate Ambition Summit, and ahead of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow next year.

Each party to the Paris Agreement – including countries and international blocs such as the European Union – determines what domestic action it will take and communicates it in a Nationally Determined Contribution.

NDCs are at the heart of the Paris Agreement goal, set at COP21 in 2015, to hold the global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees and pursue best efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C.

Together, these plans will determine whether the world will achieve the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement, including global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible.

Many countries have now made net zero commitments and this round of NDCs, which set a 2030 emission reduction target, will need to be consistent with those longer term commitments. The UK’s announcement, which reflects the independent Climate Change Committee’s advice on net zero, does just this.

Today’s announcement comes ahead of the UK co-hosting a virtual Climate Ambition Summit on 12 December, which will coincide with the fifth anniversary of the historic Paris Agreement.

The Climate Ambition Summit provides a platform for leaders who are ready to come forward with announcements of new, more ambitious nationally determined contributions and long-term strategies to net zero, as well as new climate finance pledges and ambitious adaptation plans.

Peter Simpson, CEO of Anglian Water and Co-Chair of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group, said:

Credible plans matter in the race to zero, so today’s announcement is welcomed. It’s why the water industry recently launched its own routemap to net zero by 2030. There’s never been a more important time for companies to step up, invest, and take action to support both national ambition and global need, and this expectation is something our customers have been very clear about. COP26 means the spotlight is on. Climate change won’t wait for us, and the time for action is now.

Alison Rose, Chief Executive Officer NatWest Group, principal partners of COP26:

NatWest Group is committed to helping the government deliver green investment and growth. As the leading bank in the UK for business customers we have a significant responsibility to lead the way in helping people across the UK tackle climate change and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and we welcome the government’s announcement today.

Anders Opedal, CEO of Equinor, said:

As a significant and growing investor in the UK, Equinor welcomes this increased climate ambition, which will encourage more investment and job creation in a UK low-carbon economy. Equinor aims to be a net-zero company by 2050, and works together with the UK government and society to develop solutions towards a low-carbon future. Equinor is currently actively involved in technology development, offshore wind, and hydrogen and carbon capture and storage projects in the UK. We look forward to future exciting announcements.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, Chief Executive, SSE, said:

The UK’s 2030 ambition set out by the Prime Minister today is among the most ambitious in the world and we’re excited about working alongside government to deliver it. This kind of bold and decisive policy-making will help unlock the investment needed to deliver on our net zero ambitions, tackle climate change and help spur a green recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

This target provides a clear, long-term signal for businesses like SSE to get on and deliver. With a £7.5 billion low-carbon investment programme, including building the world’s largest offshore wind farm at Dogger Bank, we’re playing our part and want to do more to demonstrate the UK’s international leadership as we build towards COP26 next year – from pioneering carbon capture and storage technology to building the network infrastructure needed to accommodate the coming surge in renewables, electric vehicles and heat pumps.

Stephen Moorhouse, Vice President and General Manager, Great Britain, Coca-Cola European Partners, said:

At Coca-Cola European Partners in GB we have reduced our carbon impact by more than a third over the last decade but we know much more is needed. We are one of many organisations who have signed the Business Ambition for 1.5 pledge as we understand the importance of businesses collaborating with clear and ambitious targets to tackle climate change. We welcome the bold commitment from the UK government as a crucial step to accelerate the transition to net zero.

Jason Tarry, CEO, UK & Republic of Ireland, Tesco, said:

It’s critical Britain sets a clear pathway of action to lead the fight against climate change, and this confirmation of an ambitious NDC is an important step on that journey. Our supply chain and long-term business sustainability depend on the health of the natural environment, and our customers and colleagues expect Tesco to play its part in caring for the planet, which is why we’ve brought forward our own ambition to reach net zero in our UK operations by 15 years, to 2035.

Jeremy Darroch, Group Chief Executive, Sky, said:

This is a vital step forward and should focus all our minds on the urgency of the climate crisis. How we respond to this crisis will define our generation, so it’s right that the government has set bold and ambitious targets. We only have one chance to get this right and business wants to work with the government as we approach COP26 to be a positive part of the solution, helping us build back in a sustainable way.

Keith Anderson CEO ScottishPower said:

Today’s announcement marks a significant acceleration in the race to zero and aligns with our own ambition at ScottishPower to build back greener and help lead the response to the climate emergency.

We are investing £10 billion in the next 5 years towards doubling our renewable generation capacity, delivering the network infrastructure required to support decarbonisation across transport and heat as well as offering our customers 100% clean power – all of which will create jobs, strengthen supply chains and drive innovation across the energy sector. This ambitious new target will help shape a decade of delivery with both purpose and momentum, putting us all on the path to a better future quicker.

Andy Wales, Chief Digital Impact and Sustainability Officer at BT Group said:

We welcome today’s announcement by the UK government, which sets ambitious targets and sends a clear signal that we need to transition to a low carbon economy. It’s encouraging to see the UK using its presidency of the G7 and COP26 to demonstrate leadership on climate action and inspire others to raise their ambitions.

BT has long recognised the importance of setting ambitious carbon reduction targets. We were one of the first companies in the world to set a 1.5°C aligned science-based target – to reduce the carbon emissions intensity of our business by 87% by 2030. Beyond that we’ve pledged to become a net zero carbon emissions business by 2045.

Notes to editors

The UK’s previous NDC target was 53%.

The UK will communicate its full Nationally Determined Contributions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by the Climate Ambition Summit on 12 December, including the accompanying Information to Facilitate Clarity, Transparency and Understanding (ICTU).

Departments across government have worked to identify the highest possible ambition for the UK’s target, building on robust analysis of domestic decarbonisation potential; reflecting advice from the CCC and reflecting the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement and the equity principles identified in the IPCC 5th Assessment Report.

The UK’s NDC target does not include international aviation and shipping. This is in line with common NDC practice. The UK is supportive of multilateral action to tackle international aviation and shipping emissions through the International Civil Aviation Organisation and International Maritime Organisation, and has set out action to reduce emission in aviation and shipping as part of the 10 point plan.

The UK was the first major economy to legislate for a net zero target, which as the CCC has outlined is compatible with the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement.

In July 2020, the COP26 President-Designate, Alok Sharma, set out the UK’s ask for countries to submit more ambitious NDCs and long-term strategies to net zero emissions.

We intend to meet our NDC through domestic action, and not through using international credits.

As incoming COP Presidency, we remain firmly committed to working with all UNFCCC Parties to agree Paris Agreement rules on international market cooperation at COP26.


Speech: Facilitating ambition within a green recovery

Greetings to everyone on this event and thank you so much for dialling in. Many of you will be dialling in from places where it is late in the day or really very early. So, thank you so much for your commitment, we really are incredibly grateful.

At the opening of the Climate Change Dialogues last Monday, I made the point that, despite the great difficulties we have faced this year, it is absolutely vital that we that maintain momentum on climate action.

Over the past months I’ve spoken to very many colleagues across the world and individual governments,

I have spoken at almost 50 events virtually. And whilst we’ve all acknowledged the need to do as much as we can to support our populations, protect jobs, protect livelihoods, in terms of our individual countries, it is also the case that climate change hasn’t taken time off. The clock is still ticking and those two hands on the face of the clock are getting closer to midnight.

So, it is important that we keep encouraging ambition across the world. Archie talked about some of the areas that we are looking for leaders to come forward at the Climate Ambition Summit on 12 December. What we want to do is to encourage that ambition on mitigation, on adaptation and support.

So that we are in prime position to realise the full potential of the Paris Agreement in Glasgow next year. We absolutely owe that not just to our generation but actually generations to come in the future.

All of you are vital, you’re absolutely integral to that. That is how we’re going to make progress at COP26. And I’ve said this before but I want to repeat this point – the UK and our friends in Italy may have the presidency of COP but success at COP is going to belong to each and every one of us as individuals and as countries.

It’s only by working together that we will succeed in tackling climate change.

Whether that’s in Governments, regions, cities, indigenous peoples, business, civil society, and or as individuals, it is going to be vital that we all play our part.

That is why events like this Open Dialogue are so important. Bringing together representatives from a whole range of constituencies.

And it is also why our COP26 campaigns are bringing people together to focus on these five critical areas: clean energy, clean transport, adaption and resilience, nature based solutions, and finance, which ties the whole thing together.

I’d like to speak for one moment directly to all our representatives from observer organisations.

The reality is reaching net zero and building our resilience will only be achieved through this joint effort.

And for this, you are absolutely vital. You are vital for helping to raise awareness, for generating support, and asking us to do more.

And very rightly you encourage us to go further.

And help to create the conditions for the Parties to raise their ambition around the negotiating table.

We saw this in Paris in 2015.

And we continue to see this drive for us to go further today as well.

For me what is really important is that you are working on the ground. You are building that resilience you are helping us reduce emissions.

You are creating the changes we need.

Whether that is indigenous leaders applying their knowledge to protect our biodiversity and ecosystems.

Or indeed, International Trade Union Confederation’s campaign to climate-proof work and jobs.

Or the advocacy we have seen from YOUNGO members around the world.

Your role within the official UNFCCC process is equally important. It really matters, and it really matters to me on a personal level.

And I want to thank the nine UNFCCC constituency groups for the leadership they have shown.

As you know, we are committed to a comprehensive agreement in Glasgow.

One that covers each of the key issues.

And, really importantly, any agreement has to be informed by the voices that have too often been marginalised. I make this point again and again in public and private.

By representing those voices. And by contributing your expertise and support. You strengthen our work.

Whether that’s the Women’s Environment and Development Organisation. Supporting equal participation in UN climate negotiations. Through the Women Delegates Fund.

Or indeed, the expertise of the Women and Gender Constituency. Which, at COP25, informed the renewed Gender Action Plan, placing gender equality at the heart of climate action.

This is again a really important thing we need to keep pressing on.

The UK has committed to implementing the Plan. And I urge all Parties to do the same.

I am very much committed to working with observers to make COP26 a success.

I’ve had quite a few engagements over the past few months and will absolutely be ramping up the engagement in the year coming up to COP26.

That is why I spoke at the Local Governments for Sustainability’s event in October. And it was about encouraging climate ambition among city leaders.

And supported Indigenous People’s Day in August. To emphasise how important Indigenous People’s knowledge and experiences are in tackling the climate crisis that we all face.

I know our Italian partners are working closely with YOUNGO too. Preparing for Youth COP, and hosting the Youth4Climate series. And I was very pleased to join one other their webinars recently.

It’s also really good to see the Research and Independent NGOs working closely with our COP26 universities network. Ensuring the academic sector, which is so important, and universities play a role in delivering a successful COP.

And of course, universities are part of the Race to Zero campaign as well.

So I am really looking forward to hearing from you in today’s discussion on the vital issue of the green recovery.

Urging countries to build back better in response to the coronavirus pandemic is absolutely central to the UK’s COP26 presidency.

But we really have to do this in a way that involves the whole of society. We have to excite everyone across the world and ensure that COP26 really has meaning for them.

Just as our work to reduce emissions and build resilience, we must take all interests into account.

That means bringing in the voices of civil society, young people, Indigenous Peoples, businesses and others in government decision-making.

And here, non-state actors can help.

So I urge all parties to look at how you can work more closely with observer groups and non-state actors. To increase ambition in your countries in a way that is fair to all.

And I am keen to hear examples of successful initiatives from both Parties and Observers today.

By listening to each other, learning from each other, and working together, we can boost ambition, take action, and strengthen this process. All of this will help pave the way for a successful COP26.

Thank you so much for being with us today.


Decision to approve Rebased Network Replacement Outputs and to modify Special Condition 2M of the electricity transmission licences held by the onshore electricity transmission network operators

On 26 August 2020, we published a consultation on a proposal to approve the Rebased Network Replacement Outputs and modify the contents of ‘Table 1: Network Replacement Outputs’ in Special Condition 2M (Specification of Networks Replacement Outputs), of the electricity transmission licences held by the onshore electricity transmission network operators.

We received two responses to the consultation. Following consideration of those responses, we have decided to approve the Rebased Network Replacement Outputs for the onshore electricity transmission network operators and to modify SpC 2M in the manner set out in the consultation. The licence modification notice is published alongside this decision. These licence changes will take effect from 29 January 2021.


New Work Trust Company Limited- Notice of grant of a gas supply licence


Pursuant to section 7B(9)(c) of the Gas Act 1986 (“the Act”), the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (“the Authority”) hereby gives notice that on 3 December 2020 a gas supply licence (without standard conditions) was granted under section 7A(1)(a) of the Act to New Work Trust Company Limited (company number 01585927) whose registered office is situated at Station Road Workshops, Station Road, Kingswood, Bristol, Avon, BS15 4PJ, authorising the supply to the below premises gas which has been conveyed through pipes to those premises otherwise than by a gas transporter:

Units 1-80, plus main reception and café, Station Road Workshops, Station Road, Kingswood, Bristol, BS15 4PJ.

A copy of this licence is available from the Ofgem Library, 10 South Colonnade, Canary Wharf, London, E14 4PU or by email at

[1] [Without standard conditions] In accordance with the Act section 8(2). The licence referred to in this Notice authorises only the supply to premises of gas which has been conveyed to the premises otherwise than by a gas transporter.

Barry Coughlan

Duly authorised on behalf of the Authority