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UK committee urges staying in EU carbon market to 'at least 2020'

London — * Panel urges staying in EU ETS at least until 2020
* Government should avoid disrupting energy sector: lawmaker
* Committee warns over Brexit impact on nuclear industry

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An all-party UK parliamentary committee on Tuesday urged the UK to remain part of the EU's carbon emissions trading scheme with uncertainty in the energy sector following the UK's June 2016 vote which narrowly supported an exit from the European Union.

In a statement accompanying a report on the UK's negotiation priorities for energy and climate change policy, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee said it "recommends retaining membership of the EU Emissions Trading System until at least 2020."

"The report recognizes that in practice, the EU ETS is performing poorly but says that the UK should seek to negotiate longer term membership on the condition of commitments to future reform," the committee said.

"In the short term, the Government should seek to avoid disruption [in] the energy sector and domestic climate change agenda," said lawmaker and committee chair Iain Wright.

"Government needs to provide as much clarity and stability as possible to support investment and avoid damaging UK competitiveness and adversely affecting consumers," he said.

"In the long term, the UK must maintain standards and seek to retain our influence," he added.

The committee also recommended that the UK should seek to maintain ongoing access to the Internal Energy Market, with no accompanying tariffs or barriers to trade.

"This should include continued participation in trading arrangements established by the European Network Codes to ensure efficient use of interconnectors," the committee said.

"The UK must also remain committed to domestic climate change policies and not let Brexit undermine emissions reduction targets, enshrined in domestic law," it said.

"The report notes calls for clarity on the Government's long term objectives and prompt publication of the Clean Growth Plan, which has [been] delayed since the end of 2016," it added.

The committee also took aim at the government's stance on membership of Euratom -- the European Atomic Energy Community.

"The impact of Brexit on Euratom has not been thought through. The Government has failed to consider the potentially disastrous ramifications of its Brexit objectives for the nuclear industry," said Wright.

"Ministers must act as urgently as possible. The repercussions of failing to do so are huge. The continued operations of the UK nuclear industry are at risk.

"The Prime Minister has made it politically unfeasible to remain in Euratom long term. The Government has a responsibility to end the uncertainty hanging over the industry and ensure robust and stable arrangements to protect trade, boost research and development, and ensure safeguarding of the highest level," he added.

The committee is appointed by the House of Commons to examine the administration, expenditure and policy of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

BEIS is made up of elements of the former Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Energy and Climate Change that were merged and re-named in 2016.

The committee's report comes as the UK's parliament was dissolved on Wednesday in the run-up to the June 8 general election.

As a result of the dissolution of parliament, all select committees cease to exist and members of parliament lose their status as MPs until a new parliament is elected.

--Frank Watson,
--Edited by Jeremy Lovell,