Call for urgent four nations summit on climate change

Scottish and Welsh Ministers press UK Government on new partnership.

The Scottish and Welsh governments have written to the UK Government calling for a new four nations summit on reaching net zero, to be chaired by the independent Climate Change Committee.

The call follows the Prime Minister’s speech on climate change last week.

The letter, co-signed by Scotland's Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan and Wales' Minister for Climate Change Julie James, highlights the weakness of current arrangements for working with the devolved nations and calls for greater UK collaboration in agreeing the pathway towards the UK's legally-binding net zero targets.

The two governments propose that the summit be chaired by the independent Climate Change Committee, which acts as a statutory adviser to all four nations.

The full text of the letter to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Minister for Intergovernmental Relations is below:


Rt Hon Michael Gove MP
Secretary of State for Levelling Up,
Housing and Communities
and Minister for Intergovernmental Relations
House of Commons

28 September 2023

Dear Michael,

This is a joint letter from myself and Julie James, Minister for Climate Change, Welsh Government.

We write to highlight our disappointment in relation to the Prime Minister’s statement last week (20 September) announcing that the UK Government is significantly changing course on key net zero commitments.

Despite the far-reaching implications of the announcements made - with substantial changes in policy that will impact progress in delivering net zero and have profoundly negative implications for the environment and economy across the UK and further affect the UK’s international reputation – there was no prior engagement with the devolved governments. Given that delivery of the climate ambitions of the four nations of the UK are intrinsically linked, this is deeply unsatisfactory.

In addition, almost a week later, it is hugely frustrating that the UK Government has not provided the level of detail required by such significant announcements. We would urge you to provide this immediately to enable devolved governments to fully assess the implications.

Regarding Scotland, the Scottish Government will separately be writing to the UK Government shortly, in more detail, setting out areas in which progress urgently needs to be clarified. Regarding Wales, the Welsh Government has also separately written to the UK Government, seeking further clarity on the impacts of the recent policy changes on Wales.

Tackling the twin crises of climate change and nature loss is one of the most significant challenges facing people and planet this century and all nations of the UK must work in partnership to complete the net zero journey. Delivering progress on net zero requires urgent action and higher ambition from the UK Government on issues reserved to Westminster to complement the action taken under devolved powers. The Climate Change Committee has been clear that action by the UK Government is important for delivery of climate change targets around the UK, just as action in Scotland and Wales is crucial to UK targets.

Since last week’s process shows the weakness of current arrangements, we are now urging you to establish a new, mutually respectful partnership, with the aim of developing an agreed four nation approach to net zero in a collaborative manner. We therefore invite you to commit, in the first instance, to a high-level summit for a four nation approach and to agree with us that our statutory advisers, the independent Climate Change Committee, be invited to chair the summit.

We are also copying in Katrina Godfrey, Permanent Secretary at the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs and the Secretary of State at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.

Yours sincerely,



Media enquiries

Back to top