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MPs press case to Energy Secretary for delivering an Energy Revolution for Yorkshire

In advance of this week’s Spending Review announcements by Government (scheduled for Wednesday, 26 June), discussions have taken place between Ed Davey MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, and representatives of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Yorkshire & North Lincolnshire, to help further promote the case for investment to unlock an unprecedented “Green Energy Revolution” across the region.

Regional MP’s, industry and local government representatives formed a small APPG delegation that met with the Secretary of State on 19 June to discuss UK energy policy as a driver for economic regeneration throughout Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire.

The meeting addressed all of the key topics to securing successful future energy provision for the UK – from infrastructure investment around the region’s ports, to improving skills, and providing the stability industry needs to invest and create new jobs. It also emphasised the fact that Yorkshire and Lincolnshire was uniquely primed and ready to deliver this revolution in energy generation and renewable technologies, for the benefit of the whole of the UK.

The delegation discussed the need for Central Government to provide right policy framework, measures and incentives that can support both existing energy providers, as well as encourage new sources of energy provision and investment in the renewables sector.

Andrew Percy, Conservative MP for Brigg & Goole and APPG Co-Chair stated that: “This was an important opportunity to emphasise, on a cross-Party basis, Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire’s unique potential for energy-led growth - not just for our own local jobs and communities, but also in terms of wider UK energy security and sustainability.

It’s evident that Government has been working very hard with the key potential investors, to give them the security they need to invest in our region – and we need the right mix of support, for both our existing energy industries as well as those wanting to invest in new renewables technologies”.

Barry Sheerman, Labour MP for Huddersfield and APPG Co-Chair added that: “It’s critical that the local supply chain benefits from these major investments are fully understood. Our existing local businesses and major prospective investors alike need a stable policy framework, in order to prepare for growth and minimise the risk that investment and jobs might be lost to other parts of Europe – in particular with regard to the expanding North Sea wind farms.

The APPG delegation was therefore much encouraged to hear the Secretary of State outline a range of further announcements, to give even greater certainty for businesses working in the Offshore Wind sector, expected very soon”.

In shaping policy and support to industry, the Secretary of State was particularly asked to recognise that the Humber and North Yorkshire Ports are also competing with state-owned facilities on the continent, including North Sea ports in Germany and Denmark directly competing for Off Shore Wind investments, and who receive state-subsidised incentives and infrastructure.

The delegation also noted the need for Government Departments to join up as effectively as possible – to link together the various low carbon, economic growth, skills and employment aspects of the energy and renewables agenda. In this regard there was an open offer from the APPG, for DECC and wider Whitehall Departments to treat Yorkshire & Northern Lincolnshire a “test bed” for how all these policies are impacting on the ground; and to work with the region’s businesses, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and local councils to join up and maximise the benefits.

Cllr Derek Bastiman, Deputy Leader at Scarborough Borough Council and in attendance at the meeting to support the MPs further noted that: “Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire provides over 100 miles of coast as a ‘shop front’ to the offshore wind industry, with the industrial and manufacturing powerhouse of the wider region there to support it.

What is needed is clear and continuing support from the Government to work with councils and businesses locally to turn this opportunity into a reality.”

The Secretary of State responded favourably to the comments made by the APPG delegation and provided some particular re-assurance by stating that the Government intended to announce details of the eagerly awaited draft “strike price” for renewables , alongside an ‘Offshore Wind Industrial Strategy’, hopefully before the Summer Parliamentary Recess.

Mr Davey also indicated that further Electricity Market Reform announcements were in the pipeline; and highlighted that a £250 million support package had been made available to help those affected by the implementation of carbon reduction measures.

Increasing levels of support for smaller businesses were also being rolled out to help them reduce energy and carbon intensive activities, in a similar way that the “Green Deal” was being made available for domestic properties. Here the Secretary of State stated the potential for his Department to work with and through the region’s LEPs, to make sure businesses and commercial properties receive the help they need to save energy, cut carbon emissions, and save money.

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