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Policy Update

Megan O’Donnell writes with the latest news from the policy team

The policy team have had a busy few months of events and developing written submissions to Government and Parliament. In March, six early career geoscientists represented the Society at the annual ‘Voice of the Future’ event in the Palace of Westminster, where they were given the chance to put some hard-hitting questions to a panel of senior representatives from Parliament and Government. In responding to one of the questions, the Government Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance, noted our demand for Earth resources will increase as technologies continue to develop and emphasised the need to consider the long-term ethical, political and moral impacts throughout the entire supply chain.

The Society’s policy team travelled to the Senedd in Wales for June’s ‘Science and the Assembly’ parliamentary engagement event where scientific organisations, learned societies, and representatives of the Assembly and Welsh Government gathered to discuss science in the context of ‘Education and Skills’. A similar collection of stakeholders met in Westminster in June for ‘Parliamentary Links Day’ to celebrate the contributions of science to the ‘New Frontiers’. Professor Sanjeev Gupta, a planetary geologist from Imperial College London, represented the Society on a discussion panel highlighting the contributions of geoscientists to advances in space exploration and planetary science.

The society has recently submitted evidence to a number of consultations including a summary of the challenges and opportunities posed by the recovery of materials from electronic waste and implications for a circular economy for the Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee. We also consolidated evidence about the re-use of oil and gas infrastructure for future carbon capture and storage projects for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. These responses can be read in full on our website at

And finally, an update on ministerial and government appointments. Lord Ian Duncan, a Fellow of the Geological Society with a PhD in Palaeontology from University of Bristol, was appointed Minister for Climate Change in the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on July 26. Professor Gideon Henderson (Earth Sciences, University of Oxford) has been appointed the new Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.