The Brexit Opportunities Minister said that the Government had to “face up to” the issue of climate red tape and that efforts to cut emissions must not rely on “endless regulation.” The Government is planning to get rid of £1billion of EU red tape with Mr Rees-Mogg leading efforts to scrap 1,500 Brussels rules.
However, the former Leader of the House of Commons warned the net zero drive meant that it would not be possible to introduce the “one in, one out” initiative.”
This refers to a situation where a piece of regulation has to be scrapped for every new one that is added.
New rules and regulations are being introduced in order to meet the Government’s target of ensuring Britain goes carbon neutral by 2050.
Ministers are expected to push for more heat pumps and solar panels as well as regulating how much carbon can be produced by heavy industry.
Speaking at an event organised by the Centre for Policy Studies, Mr Rees-Mogg warned of the “huge regulatory cost”.
He said: “Net zero is going to be a huge regulatory cost and that is an issue for the country to face and to face up to.
“If we were to have a ‘one in, one out’ or ‘one in, two out’ rule, you would end up excluding net zero, as we previously excluded EU regulation, and then you’re tinkering at the edges because you’re ignoring the biggest piece of regulation.”
The North East Somerset MP’s comments reflect a concern about the economic impact of net zero from certain members of both the Cabinet and the Conservative Party.
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One example of this is the Net Zero Scrutiny Group of backbench Tory MPs, which was formed in the run-up to the COP26 summit in Glasgow last year.
Mr Rees-Mogg added that keeping the costs of net zero as low as possible is “fundamental”, saying it should be driven by technological innovation rather than “endless regulation”.
It is likely that net zero policies, such as the banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 and ending the sale of new gas boilers from 2035, will create new rules and regulations.
In October last year, the Government published a 368-page document detailing the changes that will be needed to hit the net zero target by 2050.
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The Treasury has warned it would face a £37billion deficit from the loss of tax revenue generated from the driving of polluting vehicles, such as fuel duty.
Supporters of the net zero drive argue that the financial and humanitarian consequences of failing to deal with the impact of climate change outweigh the negatives caused by the policies themselves.
David Cameron brought in a “one in, two out” policy on new rules and regulations in a bid to cut down on red tape – a long-held wish for Conservatives to liberalise the free market even further.
However, Government sources have told the Telegraph that the drive failed to secure the changes it should have because EU laws were effectively exempt from the policy.
Former Brexit negotiator Lord Frost was said to have tried to reinstitute the “one in, two out” policy last year but the move was blocked by Cabinet colleagues.
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