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Policy update

BIGBENresized.jpgIt was a busy and eventful summer for the policy team in the run-up to and following the EU Referendum in June, writes Flo Bullough. 

There have been some big changes in Westminster, and work is going on across the science sector to raise awareness of the many areas and issues that will be impacted by the UK vote to leave the EU. 

In the run-up to the Referendum, we ran a questionnaire on the website to survey the Fellowship and geoscience community on how a ‘Leave’ vote might impact different geoscience sectors, both research and industrial.  Nearly two thirds of the respondents thought that a UK exit from the EU would have a negative impact on their sector.  You can read more about the survey results on the ‘policy’ area of the Society blog - W:

Musical chairs

Since the result was announced on the 24 June, there have been a number of high-level changes in Government, the impact of which has yet to be felt.  The Department of Energy and Climate Change has merged with the former Department of Business, Innovation and Skills to become the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and responsibility for Higher Education has moved from the former Department of Business, Innovation and Skills to the Department for Education.  The relevant Ministers are Andrea Leadsom, replacing Liz Truss as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Jo Johnson remains as Minister for Universities and Science, and Greg Clark is the Secretary of State for the newly-named Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. 


The policy team responded to a number of consultations and inquiries over the summer.  Many focused on the potential impacts and consequences of the ‘Leave’ vote on the geoscience sector.  We responded to the Science and Technology Committee inquiry on the implications and opportunities for science and research, which covered themes such as research funding, staff and skills, freedom of movement and geoscience research collaboration.  For this response we used evidence and comments collected during the survey to inform our response.  We also attended workshop sessions held by the Science Council and the Campaign for Science and Engineering around the implications for science and research. 

We also responded to the Energy and Climate Change Committee’s inquiries on ‘Leaving the EU: Implications for UK climate policy’ and their sister inquiry on UK energy policy - as well as the Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry into the ‘Future of the Natural Environment after the EU Referendum’.  You can find these and all other policy work on the policy area of the Society website: Policy and Media

We have published a resource page on the EU Referendum, where we will be publishing all the latest developments in government as they relate to geoscience.  Government planning and negotiations with the EU will be taking place for at least two years, and we will monitor developments and update the Fellowship via the EU Referendum resource page on the Society website

In addition to Referendum work, we also responded to inquiries on the teaching excellence framework as part of the Government’s continuing Higher Education Bill, and an Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee inquiry on rural tourism. 

All the Society’s policy work can be found on the policy area of the website