Saturday, July 2, 2022
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Airbus wing assembly plant in Wales flying high after enormous order from China for 292 aircraft

Photo credit: Airbus. Copyright: Airbus - Master Films - Pascal Pigeyre

It’s celebrations all over for Airbus’ wing assembly plant in Broughton after four Chinese airlines have ordered a total of 292 aircraft today with a list price worth nearly £31 billion.

Building on a proud 100-year British aviation heritage, Airbus is part of the very fabric of the UK.

Its 12,500-strong UK workforce is part of a global family of 130,000 employees around the world.

The company’s factory in Broughton, Flintshire is one of the biggest employers in North Wales with more than 5,000 staff. The factory produces the wings for all Airbus’ aircraft including the A320, A330, A340, A350 and the A380 superjumbo.

Airbus has confirmed the signature of orders with Air China, China Eastern, China Southern, and Shenzhen Airlines for a total of 292 A320 Family aircraft, demonstrating the positive recovery momentum and prosperous outlook for the Chinese aviation market.

The details of this immense order break down as follows –

  • China Eastern Airlines – A320neo (100)
  • Air China – A320neo (64)
  • Shenzen Airlines – A320neo (32)
  • China Southern – A320neo (96) plus an additional 19 of the type via lease agreements.

This latest order represents a daily order record for Airbus, which appears to be stretching its lead over its US-based rival in terms of orders for new planes in 2022. Once the relevant criteria are met, these orders will enter the backlog.

Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International said:

“These new orders demonstrate the strong confidence in Airbus from our customers. It is also a solid endorsement from our airline customers in China of the performance, quality, fuel efficiency and sustainability of the world’s leading family of single aisle aircraft.”

“We commend the excellent work by George Xu and the entire Airbus China team as well as our customers’ teams for having brought to conclusion these long and extensive discussions that have taken place throughout the difficult COVID pandemic.” 

By the end of May 2022, the in-service Airbus fleet with Chinese operators totalled over 2,070 aircraft.

The A320neo Family incorporates new generation engines and Sharklets, which together deliver at least 20 percent fuel and CO2 savings, as well as a 50 percent noise reduction.

At the end of May 2022 the A320neo Family had totalled more than 8,000 orders from over 130 customers. Since its Entry into Service six years ago, Airbus has delivered over 2,200 A320neo Family aircraft contributing to 15 million tons of CO2 saving.

Boris signs landmark science agreement with New Zealand

Photo: CP / screengrab

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has signed a historic agreement with New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at Downing Street today (Friday 1 July), strengthening the UK and New Zealand’s collaboration in research, science, and innovation.

The Research, Science and Innovation Arrangement demonstrates a commitment to developing deeper links between our science and innovation communities, strengthening collaboration between the two nations and building on areas of shared scientific and innovative excellence.

Co-operation under the Arrangement is expected to be wide-ranging, from joint research and development of new technologies, to visits and exchanges of scientists, and innovation missions between businesses.

The UK is working with New Zealand’s Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to deliver the agreement, which will support the ambitions set out in the UK’s Integrated Review to develop strategic science partnerships, and strengthen the UK’s presence in the Indo-Pacific region.

Science Minister George Freeman said:

This is another step in our Science Superpower mission to widen and deepen our post-Brexit global science programmes.

Today’s agreement with our New Zealand allies and partners represents another victory for our bilateral relations in science and innovation, particularly in the Indo-Pacific, where we are also building strong working relationships with Australia, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea. This is in addition to the Science and Innovation Memorandums of Understanding I have now agreed with Israel, Switzerland, Sweden and Canada.

As I made clear at the recent G7 science summit in Frankfurt, and at the 47 nation Eureka Innovation Summit in Lisbon last week, the UK is more committed than ever to deepening our international research collaborations.

The agreement made today will give us the chance to deepen our collaborations with New Zealand’s outstanding science and research community in a number of areas, from space, quantum and photonics, to Antarctic research and Agritech.

The combination of our long-standing UK leadership in plant and animal science with New Zealand’s world class AgriTech eco-system will also provide an exciting opportunity to build partnerships and collaborations, showcasing the best of UK innovation in efficient farming, and helping UK businesses grow and scale while enabling access to global markets.

The Arrangement will support the UK’s access to New Zealand’s niche capabilities in areas such as quantum technology, enabling collaboration that will further global scientific development in these important fields. The agreement will promote joint work between our most innovative businesses and brightest researchers, while supporting our ambition to become a global Science Superpower and Innovation Nation.

The UK government is also announcing an Innovate UK Global Business Innovation Programme (GBIP) in AgriTech with New Zealand today, an endeavour which will support innovative UK businesses to build high-potential connections with New Zealand’s AgriTech industry.
The programme will enable access to New Zealand businesses, universities, labs and investors, allowing innovators to work with their counterparts to develop solutions to common industry challenges, such as advancing the use of robotics and satellite data for more efficient and precise farming. British SMEs will also be supported in bringing their products and services closer to global markets. Recruitment for eligible individuals is planned to commence today.

Opportunities are already being explored with the British High Commission in Wellington to put the Arrangement into action, and deepen the connections between our research and innovation communities.

Britain’s freeports are ‘energising areas and sowing the seed of future economic success’ says Jacob Rees-Mogg

Minister for Brexit Opportunities Jacob Rees-Mogg visits Immingham docks, Grimsby and Cleethorpes. Picture by Tim Hammond / No 10 Downing Street

Brexit Opportunities Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg has paid visits to Immingham docks, Grimsby and Cleethorpes this week to explore Brexit opportunities to the fishing industry.

Mr Rees-Mogg says the Humber region is seeing a major boost after the Government’s levelling up agenda has been put into action and pointed to the Freeport status granted to the region which include the ports at Hull, Goole, Grimsby and Immingham.

“Freeports are something we couldn’t do under the European Union because they view it as improper state aid but it’s actually it’s about energising areas and sowIng the seed of future economic success.”

Speaking to local business owners he said: “Levelling up is a project which is in hand. You have the Freeport coming and that’s really important because that’s creating at least 7000 jobs.

“That’s bringing people into the area with tax advantages. Things that encourage enterprise and business are what levelling up is all about.

“It’s not about Government expenditure – it’s about letting businesses get on with their job.”

Mr Rees-Mogg also said the area’s freeport status will bring in investment due to certain tax advantages that will make it favourable to be based there.

“Freeports are something we couldn’t do under the European Union because they view it as improper state aid but it’s actually about energising areas and sowing the seed of future economic success” explained the minister.

Picture by Tim Hammond / No 10 Downing Street

Mr Rees-Mogg also suggested that planning regulations in the freeport areas established around the country after Brexit could be relaxed, paving the way for the construction of Canary Wharf-type developments.

Speaking in more detail about his freeport plans he told GB News this week there would also be tax incentives saying:

“There is an argument we should make the whole of the UK a freeport, but perhaps we will have to be a little patient for that!”

“Brexit allows us to do it in a way that we couldn’t possibly do it whilst in the European Union because the EU says it’s state aid and so on and so forth.

“You can do all sorts of things with a freeport. It depends how far you want to go but you can give tax advantages, you can have customs-free areas for the freeports.

“You can have, as they had in the [London] docklands when that was developed, you could have specific planning authorities so that you don’t have to go through cumbersome planning regulations.

“There are all sorts of things you could do with freeports, but it is a fundamental freedom being outside the European Union, and what does it do? It allows enterprise to flourish.

“There is an argument we should make the whole of the UK a freeport, but perhaps we will have to be a little patient for that!”

Creative Commons License

Photo licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License.

‘We’re backing Britain’ says bp with plans to invest £18 billion in UK energy system by 2030

bp's assets in the North Sea include 45 production fields, 33 platforms and 10 pipeline systems, plus an estimated 3 billion barrels of oil equivalent reserve potential in their North Sea portfolio. Photo credit: bp

bp intends to invest up to £18 billion in the UK’s energy system by the end of 2030, demonstrating bp’s firm commitment to the UK, and helping the country to deliver on its bold ambitions to boost energy security and reach net zero. 

As one of the largest oil and gas producers in the UK, bp intends to continue investing in North Sea oil and gas, while driving down operational emissions.

bp is also in action on a range of lower carbon energy investments in the UK, which are expected to bring jobs and develop new skills and capabilities.

Bernard Looney, chief executive officer, bp, said:

“We’re backing Britain. It’s been our home for over 110 years, and we’ve been investing in North Sea oil and gas for more than 50 years. We’re fully committed to the UK’s energy transition – providing reliable home-grown energy and, at the same time, focusing on the drive to net zero. And we have ambitious plans to do more and to go faster. Our plans go beyond just infrastructure – they see us supporting the economy, skills development and job opportunities in the communities where we operate. We are all in.” 

These projected investment figures are in addition to bp’s significant operating spend in the UK. In 2019, prior to the pandemic, an estimated 0.5% of UK GDP was supported by bp’s activities. 

bp also anticipates paying up to £1 billion in taxes for its 2022 North Sea profits, on top of around £0.25 billion that it has paid annually in other taxes in the UK in recent years.

The UK projects in which bp is looking to invest – and the wider activities supporting them – include:

North sea:

Developing lower emission oil and gas projects to support near term security of supply, for example, at the Murlach, Kate and Mungo fields around the bp-operated ETAP hub in the central North Sea and the Clair and Schiehallion fields West of Shetland.

Investing in exploration around its existing North Sea hubs.

Progressing asset electrification projects in the Central North Sea and West of Shetland to further reduce operational emissions and supporting the North Sea Transition Deal.

Offshore wind:

  • In partnership with EnBW:
    • Developer** of two 60-year offshore wind leases in the Irish Sea (combined potential generating capacity of 3GW).
    • Developer** of a lease option (potential generating capacity of 2.9GW) off the east coast of Scotland in the ScotWind round.
    • Together, these three areas could generate enough energy to power over six million UK homes every year.
  • Investing in infrastructure, ports, harbours and shipyards, including the construction of four ships to support the offshore wind projects across the UK, subject to technical and commercial due diligence. These new-builds are anticipated to involve an investment of more than £100m and would be expected to support 500 associated jobs. 
  • Committing more than £1 million, as part of the successful ScotWind bid with EnBW, to X-Academy in Scotland in a five-year deal, supporting both reskilling experienced workers and the creation of entry-level energy transition roles.
  • Making Aberdeen bp’s global operations and maintenance centre of excellence for offshore wind and creating up to 120 new direct jobs.

EV charging:

  • Planning to invest £1 billion in electric vehicle charging in the UK over the next 10 years – bp’s largest-ever EV charging expansion – approximately tripling the number of bp’s UK charging points by 2030 and deploying more rapid and ultra-fast chargers in key locations. The investment is expected to support hundreds of new jobs in the UK. 


  • Planning to create two large-scale hydrogen production facilities:
    • H2 Teesside (blue)
    • HyGreen Teesside (green)
  • Together, aiming to produce 1.5GW of hydrogen by 2030 – 15% of the UK government’s 10GW target by 2030.
  • H2 Teesside could create more than 600 operational jobs and another 1,200 construction jobs by 2027. 
  • bp has also signed an agreement with Redcar & Cleveland College in Redcar, Teesside, to support green skills and education initiatives on Teesside.


  • Leading the Northern Endurance Partnership, to serve the East Coast Cluster (ECC). The ECC has recently been named as one of the UK’s first CCS projects and aims to remove nearly 50% of all UK industrial cluster CO2 emissions.
  • Leading Net Zero Teesside Power (NZT Power) which could be the world’s first commercial scale gas-fired power station with carbon capture – with the ‎potential to deliver enough low carbon, flexible electricity to power around 1.3 million homes.
  • NZT Power could support more than 3,000 jobs during construction and over 1,000 jobs once operations begin. 


Working with Aberdeen City Council in a joint venture to deliver a scalable green hydrogen production, storage and distribution facility powered by renewable energy.

Partnering with the local authority to support their ambition for Aberdeen to become a climate positive city.

Working with the Port of Aberdeen on decarbonisation projects.


  • Continuing to develop the retail network across the UK, providing advanced fuels and market-leading convenience, through their partnership with M&S Food. There are more than 1,200 bp-branded retail sites in the UK, including around 300 operated directly by bp.

Thousands of rural primary schools across England to get huge broadband upgrade

Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits St Mary Cray Primary. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street

Up to 3,000 primary schools across rural England will get lightning-fast gigabit broadband.

Hundreds of thousands of pupils living in the countryside will enjoy lessons powered by better digital connections as the government invests to level up internet access in rural primary schools.

A joint £82 million investment from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Department for Education (DfE) announced today will mean pupils in classrooms from Cornwall to Cumbria will reap the benefits of full fibre broadband capable of delivering up to 1,000 megabits per second.

This means an estimated 500,000 primary school pupils will be able to use the internet with no interruptions, even if multiple classes are using it at the same time. They will benefit from being able to link up with others anywhere in the world to learn from one another, with access to an ever-growing library of online tools designed to make lessons more fun and engaging.

Over the next three years, up to 3,000 eligible schools will be able to embrace efficiencies through modern ways of working – generating cost savings and reducing workload for frontline professionals. The programme will cover the costs of connecting rural schools not likely to be connected by commercial rollout currently stuck on outdated copper cables.

Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said:

Children’s opportunities in school should not be pre-determined by where they grow up.

Today we’re announcing millions of pounds to get lightning fast broadband connections to rural schools and level up children’s access to the best possible teaching.

Teaching has been revolutionised by digital technology and we need to make sure all pupils can benefit from the opportunity it brings.

Schools Minister Robin Walker said::

High speed, reliable internet is crucial to helping schools provide the best possible experience for pupils. This investment will open a whole world of possibilities for schools and teachers in hard-to-reach areas, whether that is through more access to online resources for children, or fast, top quality video streaming.

It is more important now than ever for schools to be connected and this welcome investment comes on top of the programme of upgrades to connectivity and Wi-Fi that we are delivering through our Priority Education Investment Areas.

Russell David, Head of The Acorns and Whitley Village Federated School in Ellesmere Port, which has already been connected to gigabit broadband through Project Gigabit, said:

Our pupils now feel more connected to each other, their teachers and our community than ever before.

Fast, reliable connectivity is vital in today’s classrooms and gigabit broadband, along with the fantastic new WiFi provided through the Connect the Classroom programme, has allowed us to transform how we teach using the latest educational tech, giving pupils and staff access to a huge library of new tools and resources to thrive and engage with the curriculum.

Our remote location is no longer a constraint to our participation with the rest of the Rowan Learning Trust in our exciting journey.

Funding for up to 2,000 schools will be from the DCMS GigaHubs programme, which is part of Project Gigabit, the government’s £5 billion programme to deliver lightning-fast, reliable broadband in hard-to-reach areas of the UK. The scheme is set to connect up to 7,000 rural public sector buildings including schools, GP surgeries, libraries and other public buildings.

The new infrastructure will bring gigabit-capable connections (1,000 megabits per second) to the heart of communities, incentivising more investment in hard-to-reach areas and providing ‘hubs’ from which the commercial sector can connect surrounding homes and businesses.

An additional 1,000 schools will be funded by DfE as part of their mission to enable every school in England to access high-speed internet by 2025.

To ensure teachers and schools can make the most of these connections in the classroom, DfE is also investing £30 million in the pilot project ‘Connect the Classroom’, which aims to upgrade technology in thousands more schools in priority areas, meaning pupils will benefit from fast Wi-Fi and cloud services and will be able to link up with peers, experts and specialists in countries from around the world via live video calling.

The government is investing in ‘Connect the Classroom’ in its Priority Education Investment Areas, 24 areas of the country where education outcomes are weakest and support is being targeted.

The delivery of new gigabit connectivity also underpins the government’s net zero ambitions – helping schools to move away from inefficient locally-hosted servers and embrace more efficient and secure cloud data storage, services and devices.

Bears, chimpanzees and pangolins to be better protected after new funding boost for world’s most endangered animals


Endangered and threatened plants and animals, including bears, chimpanzees and pangolins, are set to be better protected thanks to new funding to tackle the illegal wildlife trade announced by the UK Government today (Friday 01 July), further cementing our position as a leading contributor to the end of this devastating illegal trade.

The illegal wildlife trade not only threatens species with extinction, fuels corruption, creates instability and deprives some of the world’s poorest communities of sustainable livelihoods, but is linked to organised crime and zoonotic disease outbreaks.

Grants of up to £1.5 million will be made available to environmental organisations across the world which tackle the vile and devastating illegal trade in animals.

Beneficiaries include two projects in Liberia which are working to reduce the demand for chimpanzee bushmeat and improve wildlife law enforcement, and a project in Laos which will boost the capacity of law enforcement agencies to tackle the trafficking of wild bears by criminal gangs and support wildlife sanctuaries to create livelihood and educational opportunities.

It is thanks to the decisive action taken by this Government that the UK is tackling the illegal wildlife trade head on and leading efforts to bend the curve on biodiversity loss around the world, including through the commitment to halt and reverse global biodiversity loss as set out in the world leading Environment Act.

There are 22 successful projects in total. Other projects being awarded funding today include:

Dismantling illegal pangolin trade in Vietnam

  • Building on past successes in three key pangolin habitats, this project will strengthen law enforcement and improve livelihoods to reduce the demand for critically endangered pangolins.

Preventing the extinction of Bolivia’s critically endangered red-fronted macaw

  • The project will fund teams of local farmer stewards to patrol nest sites and help prevent the trafficking of eggs and chicks which threaten the survival of Bolivia’s critically endangered red-fronted Macaws. (Fundacion Natura Bolivia)

Demand reduction for threatened freshwater turtles and tortoises in Bangladesh

  • The project will identify freshwater turtle and tortoise consumption and trade hotspots and then conduct a targeted behaviour change campaign to reduce demand for products linked to these species. (Wildlife Conservation Society)

Harnessing technology to end the illegal trade in succulent plants

  • This project will address the supply and sale of illegally trade South African succulent plants to stop their extinction. Development of chemical fingerprinting and marking techniques will enable traceability and transparency in trade, while aiding the reintroduction of confiscated plants. (Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and TRAFFIC)

International Environment Minister Lord Goldsmith said:

Biodiversity loss is one of the greatest challenges humanity faces today. The illegal wildlife trade threatens wild animals and plants with extinction, destroys precious ecosystems and increases the risk of zoonotic diseases spreading.

The UK is leading calls to halt and reverse global biodiversity loss and the funding announced today comes less than six months ahead of the crucial COP15 Biodiversity Summit, where we will be leading a coalition of high ambition countries committed to agreeing a new global biodiversity framework with targets for 2030.

Independent Chair of the Illegal Wildlife Trade Advisory Group John Scanlon said:

Illegal wildlife trade drives many species towards extinction. It is also highly destructive to entire ecosystems, including their ability to sequester carbon, and is disrupting their ability to support local and indigenous communities. Preventing and combating these serious crimes is one of the biggest environmental challenges we face today.

The UK Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund is a unique and highly valuable source of funding dedicated to preventing and combating wildlife crime. Its well-targeted projects – such as reducing the demand for endangered pangolins, protecting the iconic red-fronted macaw and using technology to end the illegal trade in succulent plants – will help ensure that wild animals and plants are not plundered by organised criminals, thereby ensuring their many benefits can flow to the local and indigenous peoples of source countries and the global community.

To date, the IWT Challenge Fund has supported 136 projects in over 60 countries to a value of over £43 million. Previously supported projects have included efforts to protect the endangered Royal Bengal Tigers in Nepal by building capacity in park rangers and strengthening wildlife enforcement, as well as protecting elephants along the Nigeria-Cameroon transboundary Green Corridor by improving co-operation between agencies tasked with conserving this iconic species.

Round 9 of the IWTCF is now open for applications. For more information on previous projects as well as how to apply please visit:

British startup Tevva launches first hydrogen electric truck to be designed, manufactured and mass produced in UK


Electric and hydrogen truck pioneer Tevva has made history today by launching the first hydrogen fuel cell-supported heavy goods vehicle (HGV) to be manufactured, designed and mass produced in the UK.

The Tilbury-headquartered scale-up, which has so far raised $140m in funding, has unveiled its hydrogen electric vehicle alongside its latest full-battery electric HGV at the Road Transport Expo in Warwickshire.

Hydrogen has been used safely in buses and other vehicles in more than twenty countries for many years and has a higher energy density than lithium-ion batteries or even diesel. Because of these properties, it is particularly attractive for use in larger, commercial vehicles.

By adding a hydrogen fuel cell system to its battery-electric HGV design, Tevva is delivering zero-emission solutions that will work for the overwhelming majority of fleet operators across a range of industries and sectors. The fuel cell system tops up the battery, extending the vehicle’s range and allowing the truck to carry heavier loads over longer distances.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell. Photo credit: Tevva

One advantage of using the fuel cell as a range extender, rather than the primary source of power, allows Tevva to smaller, cheaper and lighter fuel cells and operate these at the highest possible efficiency.

Tevva’s 7.5-tonne hydrogen electric truck comfortably meets (and exceeds) demanding duty cycles for nearly all urban and extra-urban use cases. Tevva’s innovation means that its customers can drive for longer (with a range of up to 310 miles or 500 kilometres) and will have reassurance because of the technology’s reliability and safety.

Crucially, hydrogen refueling typically takes a similar time to diesel truck refueling (5-20 minutes) and the dual-use of both battery electric and hydrogen energy sources futureproofs Tevva and its customers as the transition away from fossil fuels and the decarbonisation of the transport industry continues.  In 2019, for example, HGVs contributed 18% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector, according to UK government figures.

Tevva’s proprietary software systems also operate battery and hydrogen fuel cells at the highest efficiencies to optimise cost-effectiveness, carbon effectiveness, resilience and refueling convenience. 

Alongside its 24/7 customer support, Tevva will offer hydrogen services to customers, helping customers to access sustainable and affordable hydrogen supplies safely and conveniently, alongside their purchase or lease of Tevva Hydrogen Trucks.

Tevva is on-boarding diverse hydrogen suppliers that can provide innovative and hydrogen services to cater to the needs of our growing customer base.

Tevva CEO and founder Asher Bennett said: 

“We are excited to launch our hydrogen electric HGV, creating a landmark moment for Tevva and UK manufacturing. We firmly believe that the post-fossil fuel future, which is quickly approaching, will see a new range of technologies and fuels take centre stage in the transport industry.

“By embracing hydrogen, we are futureproofing ourselves, our clients and the industries and communities they operate in.

“We also pride ourselves on the fact that our vehicles are safe, reliable and go the distance. Combined with our commitment to customer service, we believe that Tevva’s hydrogen electric truck will be a popular choice for fleet operators across the UK, Europe and eventually North America.

“I am extremely proud of the hard work the team at Tevva have put into this vehicle. We have reached this milestone by leveraging our years of experience designing, innovating and manufacturing dual-energy vehicles.”

Transport Minister Trudy Harrison said:

“Hydrogen fuel cells and other zero emission technology will be vital in helping us decarbonise transport. A thriving UK hydrogen industry could not only help us meet our climate change obligations, but also support thousands of jobs across the country in years to come.

“UK-based manufacturers like Tevva continue to build on the skills and expertise we have in hydrogen in the UK, developing new technologies, supporting economic growth, and working towards net zero.”

Zoe Hall, Head of Competitions and Projects, Advanced Propulsion Centre, said:

“I am very proud that the technology we have supported through our collaborative research and development programme is now being put to real-world use.

“The launch of this truck, with its hydrogen fuel cell range extender, is an exciting outcome of the APC-funded project to completely eliminate CO2 at the tailpipe and lower the total cost of ownership compared to existing diesel vehicles. This smart zero-emission vehicle, with rare earth metal free electric motors, has the potential to make heavy goods transport sustainable.” 

Ben Nyland, Loop Energy President & CEO, said: 

“We are extremely happy to provide our fuel cell system to power the revolutionary zero-emissions truck Tevva is bringing to market. From the tender process through to the integration of the first vehicles, we have been consistently impressed with the vision and execution of the entire Tevva team.

“Trucks like Tevva’s hydrogen-electric platform will be critical to achieving the emissions reduction targets necessary to address climate change. Their commitment to scale quickly reflects the sense of urgency with which the transportation industry needs to approach the deployment of zero-emission commercial vehicles.

“We believe the combination of Tevva’s proven range-extended platform with Loop Energy’s leading fuel cell system can be a key contributor to the decarbonization of transportation in Europe and North America. We look forward to a very fruitful relationship over the coming years.”

Barrister Steven Barrett: The parallel world of EU law


Rules matter says Steven Barrett, a leading barrister at Radcliffe Chambers.

The EU courts are not like our courts. They are given a specific purpose of advancing the union.

That purpose can be hard to spot and does get denied. I would say that is a court being required to do politics.

Our courts do not try to advance the interests of our country – they just do law.

In 2014 on the EU Courts the more diplomatic Foreign Office said ‘Both principles [subsidiarity and proportionality] are “legal” principles in that the EU institutions are bound by them and cannot legally act in breach of them. However, given their nature, they require significant political judgment’. Those quote marks in paragraph 2.7 are doing a titanic amount of heavy lifting.

But they are not like our courts and we’ve just seen the European Court of Justice accused of constructing a parallel universe by one eminent professor of law and being akin to something out of Alice in Wonderland by another.

they are not like our courts and we’ve just seen the European Court of Justice accused of constructing a parallel universe by one eminent professor of law and being akin to something out of Alice in Wonderland by another.

So what’s happened? Well, a lot comes down to the type of lawyers I, and these two professors, are.

We are private international lawyers. Just as inside the UK I play my part in making the economy function, so outside the UK this type of law keeps the global economy ticking along. And unlike public lawyers, we are not constantly exposed to politics in our day jobs.

Now, if you are a member of the EU there is a system where each member state recognises each other state’s courts as legitimate. Lots of courts exist around the world and just as we only recognise some parts of international law – so other countries, including the EU, only recognise some courts. When we left, the EU said the UK could no longer be a part of this system of mutually recognising each other’s courts as courts.

They refuse to recognise our courts. That was a political decision and people have different views on that.

But private international law is a system designed to make business happen. As a global structure, it wants trade to be possible. And we have the 1958 New York Convention – that’s a system of international law designed to overcome problems with courts. If two businesses don’t trust local courts – they use arbitration. So if any country takes the political decision to stop business happening by trying to prevent a court system working, we private international lawyers answer in chorus ‘use arbitration’.

Just nine days before we left the EU, a fight between Spain and an insurance company got referred by an English High Court to the European Court of Justice. Both sides had agreed to use arbitration.

But Spain changed its mind (which you can’t do) and wanted to use its own courts. Using your own court is something the EU likes to do too.

If you want to make a contract with a nation and you don’t trust its courts, we use arbitration.

So, the company made the arbitration happen anyway. In our jurisdiction. The High Court in London got appealed to the Court of Appeal for even asking the EU Court its thoughts – the High Court made a mistake even asking the ECJ. The law Spain relied on before the ECJ to try to wriggle out specifically says you can’t rely on this law to stop arbitration.

So every sane lawyer expected the EU court to agree with our courts. It didn’t. And the law the EU relied on to block arbitration also does not apply to arbitration. The EU used to know that – see the line here: ‘This Regulation should not apply to arbitration’. That’s what both professors say and what I agree with – they can’t do what they did. That’s where Humpty Dumpty comes in ‘“When I use a word”, Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less”.’ If a law says ‘Apples are fruit’ then a court that says ‘Apples are not fruits’ then the court is not applying the law – it has created a parallel world – a farce of law.

Because we are out, we’re OK. The UK will still have a functioning system of arbitration. And because our Court of Appeal is not mad, our legal system is safe and you can’t use this law against arbitration.

Why did the EU do this? Well, it means one billion dollars move from London to Madrid.

But by doing this the ECJ has messed up law inside the EU. That is what both professors object to – we private international lawyers care about our law. But this is not the first complete and total farce of law that the ECJ has been involved in. Here is one, here another. It is neck-deep in the EU-wide rule of law crisis which spans a lot of my writing. Soon MPs and peers will vote on whether or not we should be subject to it via the Northern Ireland Protocol – they should read up on it.

WRITTEN BY Steven Barrett, a leading barrister at Radcliffe Chambers.

‘We will ensure Putin fails’ says Boris with announcement of further £1 billion in military support to Ukraine

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine via video link. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

The UK will provide another £1 billion of military support to Ukraine, the Prime Minister has announced at the NATO Leaders’ Summit today (Thursday 30th June).

This uplift to funding will herald a new phase in the international community’s support to Ukraine.

It will go towards capabilities including sophisticated air defence systems, uncrewed aerial vehicles, innovative new electronic warfare equipment and thousands of pieces of vital kit for Ukrainian soldiers.

It represents the first step in enabling Ukraine to go beyond their valiant defence against the illegal Russian invasion to mounting offensive operations against Russian ground forces in order to restore Ukrainian sovereignty.

The UK is leading the way in providing vital military assistance to Ukraine. Today’s announcement brings the total UK military support since the outbreak of war to £2.3 billion – more than any country other than the United States. Support so far includes more than 5,000 NLAW anti-tank missiles made in Northern Ireland, long-range multiple launch rocket systems, artillery systems, including 155mm self propelled guns, and rapid design and production of short to medium range persistent loitering munitions by a UK start-up company.

Last week the Prime Minister also announced the UK was offering a comprehensive new training programme to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, helping them build long-term endurance in the face of continuing Russian barbarism.

The UK’s support to Ukraine represents the highest rate of UK military spending on a conflict since the height of the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. Speaking at a special meeting of NATO leaders addressed by President Zelenskyy yesterday the Prime Minister called on allies to step up their support to provide the strategic resilience Ukraine needs.

The Prime Minister said:

Putin’s brutality continues to take Ukrainian lives and threaten peace and security across Europe.

As Putin fails to make the gains he had anticipated and hoped for and the futility of this war becomes clear to all, his attacks against the Ukrainian people are increasingly barbaric.

UK weapons, equipment and training are transforming Ukraine’s defences against this onslaught. And we will continue to stand squarely behind the Ukrainian people to ensure Putin fails in Ukraine.

As well as bolstering and sustaining the Ukrainian Armed Forces, UK military support is supporting the thriving UK defence industry. Last week the Defence Secretary gathered representatives of the UK defence sector in Downing Street to discuss how to boost production in response to the increased demand created by the conflict in Ukraine.

UK defence companies are stepping up to provide the vital support Ukraine needs. We have provided £100 million worth of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles through a company based in Berkshire. These orders have allowed the company to significantly upscale their production and have used the lessons from the conflict in Ukraine to inform development of their products, advancing several years of development which will directly benefit both the UK and the defence industry.

The MoD has also launched a £25 million innovation fund to harness niche technologies within UK small & medium size enterprises. The fund will accelerate the development of equipment for the Ukrainian armed forces with the competition focusing on bolstering the existing provision for artillery, coastal defence and aerial systems.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

Britain’s commitment to Ukraine is real and constant and we will stand by them until Russia changes course. This military assistance will help them intensify their fight against Russian aggression and ensure they have the defence capabilities they need.

The UK’s military support for Ukraine is in addition to the £1.5 billion of humanitarian and economic support provided to the country since February.

This support for Ukraine is in addition to the new commitments the Prime Minister announced to NATO’s collective defences at the Summit yesterday.

‘We have opened the door to the world’ says Trevelyan as British businesses helped to export to 61 countries


British businesses have been helped to export to 61 countries around the world over the past year with £7.4 billion of government support – providing a significant boost to jobs and the UK economy.

The finance provided by UK Export Finance (UKEF) in 2021-22 supported 72,000 UK jobs and added a gross value of £4.3 billion to the economy, meaning more money in people’s pockets and continued job security for British workers.

Of those supported by UKEF, 83 per cent were located outside of London and a record 81 per cent were small and medium-sized enterprises, according to the organisation’s annual results published today.

The £7.4 billion – the highest level for 14 years – brings the total support over the last five years to £33.4 billion.

It helped businesses to recover following the pandemic and is now supporting exporters facing challenges with global supply chains worsened by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

And in its first year without providing any support for overseas fossil fuel projects, UKEF has launched a new mission statement and made ambitious carbon reduction targets to address climate change.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Secretary of State for International Trade, commented:

The UK is awash with untapped export potential. We have opened the door to the world with historic trade deals and now we are helping businesses walk through it. That’s why our national export credit agency, UK Export Finance, is boosting firms’ ability to export to the world with record-breaking support year after year.

Benefiting small businesses

UKEF has stepped up its support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The number of SMEs that benefited from a UKEF support scheme increased by 25% compared to the previous year, with over 560 insurance and guarantee schemes issued.

In a new annual record, 81% of the companies UKEF supported directly with a scheme were SMEs. These milestones were underpinned by the ‘game-changing’ General Export Facility – a product designed specifically to give SME exporters more flexibility in accessing trade finance, unlocking almost £250 million of working capital loans.

A further £300 million was also awarded to 263 UK companies supplying to infrastructure projects UKEF has financed across the globe, supporting UK exports. These include doors made in Birmingham sold to an airport in Ghana, fridges made in Norfolk sold to a hotel in Dubai and critical medical supplies shipped from South Wales to hospitals in Zambia.

Moreover, UKEF provided £27 million to support importers buying from UK SMEs using its Standard Buyer Loan Guarantee Scheme, ensuring UK companies get paid upfront while overseas buyers benefit from more flexible repayment terms.

New emissions targets

As the need to address climate change becomes increasingly urgent, UKEF has launched a new mission statement, putting sustainability at the centre of its purpose.

In its report, UKEF set new targets to reduce absolute emissions (tCO2e) of oil and gas sector exposure by 75% by 2030 and reduce economic emissions intensity (tCO2e/£AAR) of power sector exposure by 58% by 2030 as it seeks to operate on a net-zero basis by 2050.

Further to its mission statement, UKEF was also recently recognised as the top export credit agency for sustainable financing in 2021, according to an independent ranking of ECA-backed deals.

It comes as UKEF maintained sizeable levels of financial support in its first year without backing overseas fossil fuel projects: it supported the clean energy, healthcare and critical infrastructure sectors with over £3.6 billion.

Mike Freer, Minister for Exports, added:

It was a pioneering and crucial step for UKEF to end its support for fossil fuel projects over a year ago. Now, with the new targets and mission statement we are launching today, UKEF is going even further to be a driving force behind the UK’s role in supporting the global energy transition. This can only be made possible with the skills and expertise of businesses across the UK, and UKEF is primed to offer its support as they seize these opportunities.

Protecting the UK taxpayer

As a self-funding department, UKEF takes on risk to make exports happen and works within an agreed framework set by the Treasury to ensure it makes measured decisions.

Since the start of the pandemic, UKEF enhanced its suite of products to meet the changing needs of UK businesses and stimulate exports – providing £8.2 billion of support through its Temporary COVID-19 Risk Framework since its inception.

Throughout this time, the department continued to operate efficiently and manage financial risk to protect the interests of the UK taxpayer in 2021-22, generating a net profit of £324 million for the Treasury.

Carl Stephen Patrick Hunter OBE, Chairman of the British Exporters Association, said:

UK Export Finance (UKEF) has provided vital support to exporters during the pandemic and is setting the pace amongst the ECAs in the global transition to sustainable trade. We at BExA look forward to working with UKEF over the coming year to continue to refine and develop its products to simplify and accelerate export journeys for UK SMEs.

This follows an announcement by the UK government today that it is set to unlock around 100 trade barriers worth more than £20 billion to help more businesses export.