The head of the UK Climate Change Committee (CCC) is stepping down from the role.

Chris Stark is leaving the independent body which advises ministers on environmental issues after serving as chief executive for the last six years.

Mr Stark was critical of Rishi Sunak’s rollback of climate policies, saying the Government was slipping further off track from meeting its legally binding 2030 emissions targets.

The Prime Minister announced in September a delay on a ban on new petrol and diesel cars by five years, the axing of energy efficient requirements in homes, and the weakening of the plan to phase out new gas boilers.

“I would say that the wishful thinking here is that we have not got a policy package to hit the legal targets that this country has set in law through the Climate Change Act,” Mr Stark said at the time.

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Earlier in June, Mr Stark’s organisation had warned the UK was not on track to meet 2030 targets – seen as a key milestone towards achieving net zero by 2050.

The Government is legally required to reduce its emissions by 68% compared with 1990 levels and has committed to this internationally through the Paris Agreement.

Mr Stark’s departure comes days after the resignation of ex-net zero tsar Chris Skidmore as an MP in protest at Mr Sunak’s plans to boost oil and gas drilling in the North Sea.

During Mr Stark’s tenure as a top Government climate adviser, the CCC recommended a UK net zero emissions target by 2050, which was legislated by Theresa May’s government.

Mr Stark said: “It’s been a privilege to lead the Climate Change Committee team over such an important period. I’m so proud of the analysis and advice we have produced in the last six years.

“The dedication and professionalism of the CCC team, coupled with the vast knowledge of our committee members are central to the organisation’s success. The CCC is in great shape for its next phase of work. I’ll continue to be one of its loudest supporters.”

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Mr Stark’s final day will be April 26, with the committee’s chief economist James Richardson set to serve as interim chief executive.

The CCC has been tracking the Government’s decarbonisation efforts since the introduction of the Climate Change Act 2008.

Peter Chalkley, director of the non-profit Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, said: “Under Chris’s leadership and that of his predecessors, the CCC has become internationally recognised and respected, and an example of British leadership on climate change.”