The minister for Brexit opportunities said the government had to “deal with” the problem of climate bureaucracy and that efforts to cut emissions should not be based on “endless regulation”. The government plans to get rid of a billion pounds of European bureaucracy, with Mr Rees-Mogg leading the effort to scrap 1,500 rules from Brussels.
However, the former leader of the House of Commons warned that net zero meant it would not be possible to introduce the ‘one in, one out’ initiative.
This refers to a situation where a regulatory item must be removed for each new one that is added.
New rules and regulations are being introduced to meet the government’s goal of ensuring Britain becomes carbon neutral by 2050.
Ministers are expected to push for more heat pumps and solar panels, as well as regulating the amount of carbon that can be produced by heavy industry.
Speaking at an event hosted by the Center for Policy Studies, Mr Rees-Mogg warned of “huge regulatory cost”.
He said: “Net zero is going to be a huge regulatory cost and it’s something the country has to deal with and has to deal with.
“If we were to have a ‘one in, one out’ or ‘one in, two out’ rule, you would end up excluding net zero, like we previously excluded EU regulation, and then you tinker around the edges because you’re ignoring the biggest chunk of regulation.
The comments by the MP for North East Somerset reflect a concern about the economic impact of net zero from some Cabinet and Conservative Party members.
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One example is the Net Zero Scrutiny Group of Conservative backbenchers, which was formed ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow last year.
Mr Rees-Mogg added that it was “fundamental” to keep net zero costs as low as possible, saying it should be driven by technological innovation rather than “endless regulation”.
It is likely that net zero policies, such as 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 released a 368-page document detailing the changes that will be needed to achieve net zero by 2050.
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The Treasury has warned it faces a £37billion shortfall due to the loss of tax revenue generated by driving polluting vehicles, such as fuel taxes.
Proponents of the net zero campaign argue that the financial and humanitarian consequences of failing to address the impact of climate change outweigh the negative effects caused by the policies themselves.
David Cameron has implemented a ‘one in two’ policy on new rules and regulations in a bid to cut red tape – a long-standing Tory wish to liberalize the free market even further.
However, government sources told the Telegraph the campaign failed to secure the changes it should have made because EU laws were effectively exempt from the policy.
Former Brexit negotiator Lord Frost reportedly tried to reinstate the ‘one in, two out’ policy last year but the move was blocked by Cabinet colleagues.