Department of Energy and Climate Change

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DECC, 3 Whitehall place, London



The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) says it aims to create a “thriving, globally competitive, low carbon energy economy” in the UK. [1] It is responsible for nuclear energy policy and describes nuclear as “low-carbon, affordable, dependable [and] safe”.[2] In his first major cabinet position, Ed Miliband created a high profile for the department aided by the bipartisanship offered by David Cameron who rallied his colleagues in support of the Climate Change Act. Miliband is said to have ‘raised the department’s international ambition and took a key role in the UN negotiations in Copenhagen.’ [3]

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It runs the Office for Nuclear Development which “focuses on removing potential barriers to investment, and signals clearly to the industry the serious intent of the Government to push forward nuclear new build.”[4]


DECC was created in 2008 by Gordon Brown and brought together much of the Climate Change Group, previously housed within the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), with the Energy Group from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR).[5]

Controversies, criticisms and conflicts of interest

Spinning Fukushima nuclear meltdown

On 7 April 2011, the DECC's Office for Nuclear Development invited companies to attend a meeting at the lobby group Nuclear Industry Association (NIA)'s London headquarters as part of a public relations strategy to play down the Fukushima nuclear accident. The aim was 'to discuss a joint communications and engagement strategy aimed at ensuring we maintain confidence among the British public on the safety of nuclear power stations and nuclear new-build policy in light of recent events at the Fukushima nuclear power plant'.[6]

Nuclear industry secondees

In February 2013 Freedom of Information requests by Spinwatch revealed that Rolls-Royce, which describes itself as 'part of the UK's nuclear industry for the past 50 years' had lent DECC their employee Sophie Macfarlane-Smith to serve as DECC's head of ‘new nuclear capabilities and removing barriers’. At DECC she is responsible for 'enhancing the capability' of the UK's 'new nuclear supply chain and skills'. DECC says it meets her salary cost.[7]

Revolving door

In February 2015 DECC's former director general of energy Simon Virley was appointed a partner of big four firm KPMG UK, and head of its energy deal team.



Previous ministers

  • Jonathan Marland, parliamentary under secretary of state from 2010 to 2012.[8] He was replaced by Baroness Verma.
  • Charles Hendry was minister of state from 2010 to 2012.[9]
  • Ed Davey, secretary of state 2012-2015. He replaced Chris Huhne in February 2012, but lost his seat in the 2015 general election and the Lib Dems lost their place in Government. Under the previous government the now Labour leader Ed Miliband held this position.
  • Matthew Hancock, MP, replaced Michael Fallon in the July 2014 reshuffle. Fallon had previously replaced John Hayes as minister of state for energy in March 2013, with responsibility for nuclear
  • Greg Barker, minister of state for climate change, fuel poverty and green economy from 2010 to 2014.
  • Baroness Verma, parliamentary under secretary of state for energy and climate change[10]

Chief scientific adviser for DECC

John Loughhead was appointed as chief scientific adviser on 2 October 2014 and took up the role on 22 October. Loughhead also continued as executive director (part time) at the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) [11] until the end of 2014.


  • Giles Scott, Head of National Infrastructure Consents at DECC since February 2010 [12]

Special advisers

  • Mo Hussein - appointed special advised to Amber Rudd in May 2015. Former senior press officer in the Prime Minister’s Press Office.
  • Guy Newey - appointed special adviser to Amber Rudd in May 2015. Previously worked as the head of policy at energy supplier Ovo Energy and as head of environment and energy at think tank Policy Exchange.

Former special advisers

  • Paul Hodgson - from February 2013 to May 2015. Previous to this, Hodgson was Associate Director at Fishburn Hedges for seven years. He was also a Media Relations Manager at RAC. One of his first roles in parliament, saw him as a Senior Adviser to the Liberal Democrat Party in 1999 to 2005. [13] Is now head of media relations at Drax Power.
  • Lottie Dexter - was appointed as special adviser to Matthew Hancock in July 2014. Her previous jobs include executive director at the government-backed Year of Code initiative. [14] Has followed Hancock to his new role in the Cabinet Office.
  • Chris Nicholson - from March 2012 to 2015. Prior to this Nicholson was chief executive at the think tank CentreForum for two years. Chris was also UK partner at KPMG and spent four years as KPMG's head of public sector in the Corporate Finance Group. He was also a consultant at KPMG from March 1985 until October 1993. [15]
  • Maria Allen - was special adviser to Greg Barker from July 2013 [16]and more recently Amber Rudd since the UK cabinet reshuffle in July 2014. Left after the 2015 general election.
  • Duncan Brack - left February 2012 after Chris Huhne resigned
  • Joel Kenrick - left February 2012 after Chris Huhne resigned
  • Katie Waring - replaced by Paul Hodgson

Civil servants working on nuclear issues in 2012-13

Civil servants previously working on nuclear issues

DECC communications personnel

In September 2014 the DECC Communications Directorate consisted of 59 full time staff, which includes 12 press officers and the Head of News. [19]

Nuclear Development Forum

The following people from DECC attended the Nuclear Development Forum in May 2012:

In November 2011 the attendees were:

Personnel under Labour until May 2010

  • Minister of State - Mike O'Brien MP
  • Minister of State - Lord Hunt of Kings Heath OBE (jointly with Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs); and Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
  • Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State - Joan Ruddock MP

See also Civil Servants and their roles under Energy & Climate Change International in 2009



The DECC is also responsible for the Committee on Climate Change.



Contact details, Resources, Notes


Head Office

  • Address: 3 Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2HH
  • Phone: General enquiries: 0300 060 4000
  • Email:
  • Fax:
  • Website:

External Resources


  1. DECC Who we are, undated, accessed 12 October 2012
  2. DECC New Nuclear, undated, accessed 12 October 2012
  3. Guide to Department for Energy and Climate Change "The House Parliament's Magazine", Vol. 3, 07.2012, accessed 30 september 2014
  4. DECC Office for Nuclear Development, undated, accessed 12 October 2012
  5. DECC Department of Energy and Climate Change, Page last modified: 16 October 2008, Page published: 3 October 2008
  6. Rob Edwards, Revealed: British government's plan to play down Fukushima, The Guardian, 30 June 2011
  7. Richard Cookson, Nuclear industry secondments to Government departments responsible for policy and regulation, Spinwatch, 22 February 2013
  8. [ Jonathan Marland profile], TheyWorkForYou, undated, accessed 12 October 2012
  9. [ Charles Hendy profile], TheyWorkForYou, undated, accessed 12 October 2012
  10. DECC Who we are, undated, accessed 12 October 2012
  11. DECC appoints new chief scientific advisor GOV.UK, 02.10.2014, accessed 3 October 2014
  12. LinkedIn
  13. Paul Hodgson] LinkedIn profile, accessed 2 October 2014
  14. Sam Shead Year of Code leader steps down just four months into role Techworld, 27.06.2014, accessed 3 October 2014
  15. Chris Nicholson] LinkedIn profile, accessed 2 October 2014
  16. Crowdfunding could bridge community energy investment gap Scottish Energy News, 07.05.2014, accessed 3 October 2014
  17. DECC corporate organogram, DECC, undated, accessed 12 October 2012
  18. DECC Organogram, available at, accessed 4 June 2012
  19. DECC communications team, Freedom of Information Request response, Ref: 2014/20255, updated 29 September 2014
  20. Nuclear Development Forum Attendees, DECC, 15 May 2012
  21. Nuclear Development Forum Attendees, DECC, 27 October 2011
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