VoteClimate: Alex Cunningham MP: Climate-Related Speeches In Parliament

Alex Cunningham MP: Climate-Related Speeches In Parliament

Alex Cunningham is the Labour MP for Stockton North.

We have identified 30 Parliamentary Votes Related to Climate since 2010 in which Alex Cunningham could have voted.

Alex Cunningham is rated Very Good for votes supporting action on climate. (Rating Methodology)

  • In favour of action on climate: 25
  • Against: 1
  • Did not vote: 4

Compare to other MPs:

Why don't you Contact Alex Cunningham MP now and tell them how much climate means to you?

Alex Cunningham's Speeches In Parliament Related to Climate

We've found 40 Parliamentary debates in which Alex Cunningham has spoken about climate-related matters.

Here are the relevant sections of their speeches.

  • 16 Jan 2024: Energy-intensive Industries: Decarbonisation

    12. What steps her Department is taking to help energy-intensive industries to decarbonise. ( 900974 )


  • 28 Nov 2023: Oral Answers to Questions

    14. What steps her Department is taking to help energy-intensive industries to decarbonise. ( 900344 )


  • 22 Nov 2023: Autumn Statement Resolutions


    I would have liked to have seen the Chancellor announce a proper package of support to get our net zero cluster under way and a strategy that supports businesses as they transition to net zero. Commitments have been made, and I welcome them, but the stream of organisations that have come to talk to me about net zero, CCUS and industry all say the same thing: the lack of a proper industrial strategy and snail-paced decision making is hampering their ability to get on with their job and often win the investment needed from their overseas bosses. The more the Government dither and delay, the more they will hinder the UK’s chances of leading the world on the path to net zero. The UK has led the world in clean energy investment, and its market is mature, ambitious and ready to invest to hit net zero, but the failure to get on with the decision making is impacting businesses confidence.


  • 5 Sep 2023: Energy Bill [Lords]


    The migration to sustainable aviation fuel is vital as the world decarbonises, not only because it is an essential first step towards decarbonisation, but in the long term—not for short-haul flights, which I think will be powered by hydrogen; by the 2030s, we will start to see short-haul hydrogen planes in operation. However, there is no technological approach yet that will take us to Australia or North America using anything other than sustainable aviation fuel, so it is a vital industry for the future of this country.

    One of the issues that I wanted to expand on is about some of the alternatives. We keep talking about electric vehicles moving down, but hydrogen combustion vehicles offer a real opportunity to move forward. We also talk about net zero, but this has now moved to zero-emission vehicles. That rules out hydrogen combustion, so again, we are going down a rabbit hole of just having electric vehicles, but an electric vehicle is not a zero-emission vehicle. If it was, the underground would have the cleanest air in London, and it does not, because there are a lot of particulates around it.

    The Bill has an important role to play in ensuring that we meet our 2050 net zero targets, enhancing our energy security and creating new jobs, particularly in coastal communities such as the constituency I represent. In driving forward the measures in the Bill, I urge the Government to have in mind the following parameters.


  • 5 Jul 2023: Energy Infrastructure


    At Billingham in my constituency, we currently have the Mitsubishi Cassel works working towards final closure, with the loss of several hundred jobs. CF Fertilisers has ceased the production of ammonia just down the road, although I remain hopeful that at least that will restart if energy costs come down. For the record, that is the only remaining ammonia plant in the country, and CCUS would help ensure long-term production.

    Yesterday at departmental questions, I raised the issue of the pipeline associated with the proposed Teesside CCUS project. I was concerned that the Government have changed their proposals considerably for the pipeline that BP is charged with developing. My comments are in no way critical of BP, but I am concerned that many businesses are being shut out of the project. Apparently, according to industrialists on Teesside, the proposed pipeline system will not connect CF Fertilisers and Kellas to the system, and it will not pass by the proposed £1.5 billion Alfanar sustainable aviation fuel plant. Is that because insufficient resources are being provided to what I thought was one of the Government’s flagship projects? When I asked the Minister for Energy Security and Net Zero, the right hon. Member for Beverley and Holderness (Graham Stuart), for an update on this very specific matter yesterday, he and the Secretary of State looked at each other with blank expressions on their faces, before there were a few sentences of general waffle about how committed the Government are to CCUS. Well, that simply will not do.

    On Teesside, we desperately need the assurance that will unlock the real potential of CCUS, not some sort of second-class project that will not meet the need. We have had too many false dawns for CCUS. I really believed that the Government were finally doing the right thing, but I can tell the Minister that confidence is starting to wane. I was delighted when some of the projects in my area were given the green light to move to the next development phase, but I am disappointed that the announcements missed out so many other projects. Those projects would have been financed by the private sector if only the Government had got their act together and created that necessary business environment.

    The Government shortlisted 20 projects for CO 2 capture but, as we know, none on the Humber was selected, and there were just three on Teesside. Now we have learned that the onshore CO 2 collection pipework will not be built to the extent originally planned and will therefore not go to CO 2 emitters CF Fertilisers and Kellas Midstream or pass the all-important aviation fuel plant I mentioned. There are also no plans for a spur to be built to the Wilton International site, which is also of concern because the chemical park has 200 hectares of freeport tax zone and is a prime site for direct foreign investment. My message to the Minister is that we need the onshore CO 2 collection pipework to be built in full and as planned to enable those and other companies to capture their CO 2 , and so that companies wanting to invest in new plants that require CCUS facilities will come to Teesside, because we will be able to say that the CO 2 pipework is in place, or is at least planned to be built soon.

    However, none of that investment can be guaranteed any longer, and I am sure that the Minister will share my concern at the contents of the Climate Change Committee report, which states:

    One example in the report says that the Government have “no policy to deliver” on decarbonising the steel industry. I have also heard that a Chinese petrochemical complex is being equipped with CCUS, which means that we could easily lose our first-mover advantage in this area if we do not get on with this.

    “It is essential that the UK acts quickly and decisively. There is a new global race to maximise the growth potential from net zero at a time of wider geopolitical uncertainty. We are now at a crunch point where the UK could get left behind.”

    The private capital is there, but it needs to be released. Ministers need to act. They need to ensure that they have sufficient committed expenditure in these estimates to do the whole job—not just on Teesside but across the country. Failure to do so will leave the UK lagging behind on CCUS. We will see current investment proposals withdrawn and end up with a project so limited that it will fail to deliver the huge potential benefits to Teesside and the rest of the country.


  • 9 May 2023: Energy Bill [Lords]


    Ministers have said that there is no way for us to achieve net zero without carbon capture and storage. The target set by the Government is to capture and store 20 to 30 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide a year—including removals—by 2030, but while that is welcome, I personally believe that there could be an even higher target to benefit our country. The Carbon Capture and Storage Association says that the UK’s CCUS project pipeline would be able to store some 70 million tonnes of CO. The industry is ready to deliver, and we need to let the industry get on with it.

    I have been banging the drum for CCUS deployment for quite some time now. Support from the Government has been shaky in the past, with several false dawns—funding whisked away, or not provided at all—so I am pleased to see what looks like real progress, although today’s delay in planning permission for our Teesside project is a worry. Teesside is a vital area for the net zero agenda. Its proximity to offshore wind sources and its cluster of energy-intensive industries that require decarbonisation make it a good location for hydrogen production and carbon capture. I was certainly pleased when the Department selected a handful of carbon capture projects on Teesside to progress to the next stage of development, but I was very disappointed that of the 40 longlisted projects only eight are going forward. and that many in the east coast cluster, including one in the Humber, are missing out. What, I ask the Minister, will happen to them next? That said, I welcome the Government’s statement that the Bill

    I know from speaking to industry representatives, especially those in the Teesside cluster, that investors see the timely passage of this legislation as critical to maintaining confidence and momentum in the sector after a decade of those false dawns and U-turns. Representatives of the Chemical Industries Association tell me that their sector also wants the Bill to be passed, pointing out that, while it is imperfect, it contains some fundamental provisions. They say that it will give the sector certainty, including the provisions relating to hydrogen and CCS business models, network charges and Ofgem's remit to include net zero, and they like it. Essentially, however, they are asking for a net zero energy transition at the lowest possible cost, creating competition in the energy market to minimise the risk of domestic and non-domestic consumers’ picking up the cost. How, I ask the Minister, will that be delivered?

    Of course, the quickest, cheapest and best answer for our national energy security is a clean energy sprint. New renewables are nine times cheaper than gas. They would not only fight the climate crisis but increase our energy security and sovereignty, bring down bills, and create jobs. However, at this crucial moment for our country and our planet, the Bill does not provide the clean energy sprint that we need, so perhaps the Minister could tell us why the ban on onshore wind—the cheapest, cleanest, quickest energy available—remains. Furthermore, the Bill does not deliver the “green plumbing” measures that are necessary to accelerate the deployment of low-carbon power and grid management, failing to solve the grid connection problems, leaving our planning system unreformed, and failing to add a net zero duty to relevant regulators such as Ofgem. It is certainly not the complete answer to all our needs.

    A number of amendments to the Bill were introduced by the Lords: moving the hydrogen levy away from customer bills; establishing a net zero duty for Ofgem; banning new coalmines; introducing a local electricity Bill; and mandating reporting on EPC standards for homes. I trust the Government will welcome those amendments. I will also support further changes, such as ending the onshore wind ban, banning fracking, expanding targets on the energy efficiency of homes and dealing with grid connection delays.


  • 21 Mar 2023: Oral Answers to Questions

    17. What fiscal steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to support the economy in reaching net-zero carbon emissions. ( 904224 )


  • 16 Mar 2023: Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation


    “We look forward to seeing which projects have been chosen to move to construction, the forward timeline for selecting the next CCUS clusters that need to be operational this decade, and a swift passage of the Energy Bill through Parliament, to finalise the regulatory framework for the industry.”

    We have had enough anguish over the years on Teesside, as elsewhere, and I know that everyone involved is hoping and praying that this will not be yet another false dawn for carbon capture and storage and something will actually happen. When we look beyond the initial clusters, it is clear that further support will be needed to decarbonise all the UK’s industrial regions.

    “chemical business leaders will feel this is better than first feared, especially with confirmation of full expensing of qualifying capital investment in year one…investment zones…the extension of the climate change agreement scheme”

    as well as the support for CCUS. However, he also made the point that


  • 28 Feb 2023: Tees Freeport: Net Zero

    14. If he will have discussions with Cabinet colleagues on the potential contribution of the Tees freeport to meeting the UK’s net zero targets. ( 903797 )


    Well, we will see what that transformation really brings. I am actually blocked out from any face-to-face briefings by the Tees Mayor, even from his social media, so I have to rely on news releases and third parties for information about the site, thus my question today. It is absolutely critical that the Government work across Whitehall to support this initiative and ensure that the benefits derived are delivered to the community with well-paid jobs in the net zero sector, not just profits for a few local businesspeople. Can the Minister confirm that, despite countless promises of 30,000 jobs, just one company has so far signed a contract to set up premises at the Tees freeport?


  • 13 Dec 2022: Point of Order


    Tim Farron, supported by Ed Davey, Daisy Cooper, Wendy Chamberlain and Wera Hobhouse, presented a Bill to require Parliamentary approval of coal extraction from new coal mines commissioned after November 2022; to require the Secretary of State to set targets for phasing out the extraction and use of coal and to report to Parliament on performance against those targets; to require the Secretary of State to publish a strategy for increasing the use of renewable energy sources for steel production in place of coal; and for connected purposes.


  • 20 Oct 2021: Carbon Capture and Storage


    I am absolutely delighted, with my Teesside and Humber colleagues, that we will be at the forefront of Britain’s carbon capture, utilisation and storage plans as part of the east coast cluster. I have long made the case that Teesside should be the home of the first cluster, because it offers the best opportunity to decarbonise industry of anywhere in the UK. With the east coast cluster, as everybody now knows, almost 50% of the carbon emissions in the UK could be removed.

    I set up the all-party parliamentary group on carbon capture, utilisation and storage about seven years ago, when it was not exactly fashionable to talk about it. We wanted to ensure that the Government recognised the importance of CCUS in achieving net zero. To her credit, the former Energy Minister Claire Perry got on board, but she was badly let down by her Government and the then Chancellor, George Osborne, who at the stroke of a pen the night before Budget day set the industry back several years. Had he not stripped away £1 billion pounds of funding that dark day, we would already have a maturing carbon capture and storage industry and a much cleaner environment.

    Earlier today I attended an energy-intensive industries roundtable on energy prices and listened to Debbie Baker from CF Fertilisers—the company in my constituency that found itself at the centre of the recent carbon dioxide crisis. It has huge energy costs, huge gas transportation costs and huge carbon costs as well. It desperately needs the Government to take action in those areas. I hope that the Minister will recognise that it will take a wee while before we get the CCUS infrastructure in place, so it is critical that other action is taken in the shorter term to ensure that we do not lose companies such as CF Fertilisers and those in other energy-intensive industries in my area and across the country.


  • 9 Feb 2021: Renewable Energy

    What plans he has to support the development of the renewable energy sector. ( 912057 )


    We all know how essential it is to provide our industries with renewable energy at an affordable cost, but it is also essential for the transportation of energy through the national grid so that firms in my area such as CF Fertilisers do not face even greater costs. What will the Minister do to ensure that there is a first-class regulatory environment for all energy transportation, including a fair system for shorthaul gas still being considered by Ofgem?


  • 3 Mar 2020: Housing and Planning


    My hon. Friend the Member for Dulwich and West Norwood (Helen Hayes) spoke of land reform—that £5 million piece of land eventually being auctioned from £25 million; I don’t know what the final figure was. What an illustration of our failing system and our struggle to get the affordable homes we need. She linked housing and climate change, as well.


  • 3 Mar 2020: Energy-Intensive Industries: Decarbonisation

    Teesside is a major centre for high-carbon, energy-intensive industries, which are nervous about high energy costs, the future of the REACH regulations and carbon costs. It is good to have my near neighbour, the hon. Member for Stockton South (Matt Vickers), also supporting the CCUS campaign, but how can the Minister reassure the industry that the Government will address the high cost issues and, in particular, the REACH regulations that he is about to ditch?


  • 15 Oct 2019: Britain's Place in the World


    The Government can do better by ending this crisis in investment to ensure that our country’s place in the world is not put deeper in jeopardy. Successive Conservative Governments have created a climate of uncertainty, a clear lack of direction and a meaningless strategy that is just leaving investors nervous. The additional carbon costs that I mentioned are adding to those nerves. The Government can act now by giving carbon capture and storage in the north-east the verbal and financial support it needs but is simply not forthcoming. INEOS, which I raised in this House prior to Prorogation, is an essential part of the supply chain in the Teesside chemical industry. I will be meeting the Secretary of State about that. There is still no chance of that company investing locally, yet it can invest billions in the middle east. All industry can see is the doom and uncertainty of what Brexit will bring and a tariff regime that will cripple their businesses. Perhaps the Prime Minister will prove me wrong and will now take investment in Teesside seriously, not as a means of its being politically beneficial but because it is the right and imperative thing to do. If we are serious about reaching net zero emissions by 2050, carbon capture is not a choice—it is a necessity.


  • 5 Jun 2019: Industrial Strategy: North-East of England


    The high cost of energy is a major factor in the steel crisis and for many other industries in our area. That is one reason I have been focusing on the needs of energy intensive industries not just on Teesside but across the country, from chemicals to cement production and from steel to ceramics. They also include the companies developing wind turbines and related products, which have exploited the skills of our talented engineers to produce the goods for offshore and onshore wind farms. All those industries exist in the face of the highest energy costs in Europe, but there is no plan from the Government, or anyone else, to address that or the high carbon taxes.

    Our region has a huge advantage when it comes to expanding low-carbon generation through hydrogen production, in which Teesside is the bigger producer in the country; the development of energy storage; the opportunity to develop smart grids to better support our industry and communities; and, of course, carbon capture, use and storage. I set up and chair the all-party parliamentary group on carbon capture and storage, and I was pleased to lead the demands that Teesside should be the first place to utilise its skills and knowledge in that area. CCUS has the potential to create thousands of jobs and protect thousands more. It is also important in meeting the grand clean growth challenge that the Government face and, crucially, in delivering a long-term sustainable future for the other industries based in our region.

    We have heard some kindly noises from Ministers but, unfortunately, the Government have been slow to support CCUS. They talk the good talk—we have had statements, ministerial visits and news releases by the dozen—but we await the concrete commitment that will make the Teesside project roll. That is why it is vital that our local industrial strategy really counts in its support not just for CCUS but for our existing industries, and the new ones, that are critical to our future. We need a strategy that provides certainty and direction for local industries, a sound base to attract funding, and support to help the industries to grow.


  • 16 Jan 2019: British Bioethanol Industry


    Transport is the biggest offender when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, contributing 28% of the UK’s total, but that figure can easily be reduced. With regards to emissions, in 2013, the use of biofuels was equivalent to taking hundreds of thousands of cars—some say as many as 1.35 million—off the road, and it is predicted that many more could come off the road as well.

    Mandating the use of E10, as we have already been told, would help us fulfil our commitment to the Climate Change Act 2008, in which the UK led the way in a legally binding 2050 target to reduce emissions by at least 80%. Furthermore, the EU renewable energy directive set a target for the UK to produce 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.


  • 10 Jan 2019: European Union (Withdrawal) Act


    As some Members might know, I have a long-standing interest in UK energy, having spent a large part of my career working in the gas industry. A year on from the launch of the Government’s industrial strategy and the Helm review into the cost of energy, a new report published last month by UK Steel shows that UK producers face electricity prices twice those of their direct competitors in France, and 50% more than those of German producers. Gas prices also remain high, at more than twice those of US manufacturers and three times those of Russian producers. Carbon prices have also sustained new peaks during the autumn period. In short, the cumulative impact of the cost of decarbonising energy risks becoming unaffordable for chemical businesses in my constituency. The truth is that this deal does nothing to help that and little to allay the fears of industry in any of those areas.


  • 14 Nov 2018: Former Steelworks Site in Redcar


    As a result of the proposed changes to the emissions trading scheme and escalating energy costs, we are facing a perfect storm that could land our big industries carbon tax bills running into millions, and cost hundreds more jobs on Teesside and thousands more across the country. We need an environment that can attract investors to the region, but daily news releases promising much but delivering nothing will not do that.


  • 30 Oct 2018: Budget Resolutions


    The financial health of industry in my area is absolutely critical. The attempts yesterday by the Chancellor to bury the bad news for industry, in particular energy-intensive industries, did not help at all. He did not mention it, but he did not bury the news very deep either: it is there for all to see on page 47 of the Red Book. If the changes in carbon taxes materialise in response to Brexit, it will cost individual firms millions of pounds. The carbon emissions tax is significantly higher than the average emissions trading scheme price over the past 12 months, which was just £12.30. This would increase the cost of carbon for UK installations across the country, currently covered by ETS, by 30%.

    The Chancellor acknowledges the increasing high total carbon price, but proposes to freeze it at £18 a tonne of carbon dioxide for 2021. He might think that that is an ambitious move, but these plans come with little notice and a particularly high cost for industry. Firms like CF Fertilisers in Stockton are significantly exposed to the additional extra costs. The EU energy trading scheme is a market-based instrument for which companies had developed a strategy over time to ensure they were able to comply. Now, on top of the perfect storm of high electricity and gas prices, this carbon tax, coupled with the doubling of the gas climate change levy, is a very real issue for energy-intensive industries.

    The Chancellor could have helped an industry facing such a dilemma by giving some indication of Government support for carbon capture, use and storage, but he did not. As I have said on numerous occasions, Teesside is ripe for investment in carbon capture, use and storage. The industry needs some indication that the Government are capable of making the right call on this matter. Perhaps once the task group on CCS reports we will hear something more positive from the Chancellor in the new year.


  • 25 Oct 2018: Carbon Tax

    5. If he will hold discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on proposals to introduce a carbon tax to replace the EU emissions trading system in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal. ( 907263 )


    The carbon tax as outlined would be devastating for companies such as CF Fertilisers in Stockton and energy-intensive industries across the country. Will the level of relief against the proposed carbon tax or any other new arrangement for energy-intensive industries leave exposed industries with no greater financial burden than they have under the EU emissions trading scheme?


  • 19 Jul 2018: Oral Answers to Questions

    T2. My Stockton North constituency is home to some of the country’s most energy-intensive industries, and the future nature of the greenhouse gas scheme is a key business issue for them. The Chequers agreement suggests that we might remain in the EU emissions trading scheme. When will we know? ( 906561 )


  • 18 Apr 2018: Industrial Strategy


    I want to concentrate on one particular aspect of the Government’s industrial strategy, which is what seems to be their limited work to deliver carbon capture and storage projects, with the thousands of new jobs CCS could create and the hundreds of thousands it could protect.

    I chair the all-party group on carbon capture and storage, and I know that both parliamentarians and people from industry have been very disappointed and frustrated at the lack of comprehensive action on this issue. Two years ago, the Government cancelled the CCS competition to establish one or two projects at the Humber and in Scotland. Since then, we have been trying to play catch-up, and while there have been encouraging words from the Government about possible investment, every moment of delay is a continued failure. Delays are also giving countries the opportunity to steam ahead of us so far that we will never reap the benefits that CCS can bring to the UK.

    I was a little encouraged when the Government published their clean growth strategy in October last year, which includes the intention to develop a new approach to carbon capture and storage, but I am concerned about its ambition of deploying CCS at scale during the 2030s, subject to cost reduction. I am afraid we need much more than ambition when it comes to this issue; we need robust plans that deliver our capability and need. I am afraid that the 2030s will be far too late—long after other countries have steamed ahead of us and taken the opportunity.

    I am proud to represent a Teesside constituency, and it is deeply frustrating for me to see the potential that we have to be a key CCS site while the Government talk a good talk but appear slow to real action. The Teesside Collective is based in my area, and one of its main projects is decarbonisation. The collective is industry-led. Those industries know what they are talking about, and they know what they can achieve given the right environment. Teesside’s concentration of industrial emitters and proximity to potential storage sites under the North sea means that the area is industrially and geographically suited to be the starting place for large-scale industrial decarbonisation in the United Kingdom. We also have the potential for a large-scale CCS-ready power station, which would add huge value to any project in the area.

    While I trust that I will always be Teesside-focused, it is important for us also to focus on developing CCS in other countries and regions, such as Scotland, Yorkshire and Humber, the north-west and Wales. A number of potential projects are already being considered, and the Government need to create a framework in which they can be successfully delivered.

    CCS is also an essential part of the lowest-cost route to achieving the UK’s climate change targets. The Committee on Climate Change has said that the Government should not even be considering any scenario to meet the 2050 target that does not include CCS. If we are not to be left behind, we need the first CCS projects to begin operating in the 2020s. While the £100 million to support that work is welcome, the Government will need to do much more to ensure its success. The development of low-carbon industrial clusters would constitute a major upgrade to UK infrastructure for a decarbonised economy, supporting regional growth at a time when the outlook appears shaky at best.

    Sadly, by the time we see the report from the Cost Challenge Taskforce we shall be three years behind where we should have been. The time is now. I believe that the Minister for Energy and Clean Growth who visited Teesside recently, does “get” CCS, but we need her to bang on the doors of the Treasury and come up with the money that is needed to push these matters further forward.

    It is vital for the deployment pathway to set out a strong and clear approach to CCS that will enable the first projects to begin operating in the 2020s—and that is 10 years earlier than the Government appear to be planning. Our industries need to know that the Government are on their side and are prepared to work in partnership and share the financial risk as CCS is developed.


  • 19 Oct 2017: Carbon Capture and Storage


    My interest in the Government’s new approach to CCS in the clean growth strategy goes wider than Teesside, but I am pleased that new colleagues from our region are present, including the hon. Member for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland (Mr Clarke) and my hon. Friend the Member for Hartlepool (Mike Hill). They join the work that many of us have been doing for years to persuade the Government to get serious about CCS. I am surrounded by no fewer than five Teesside MP colleagues; 100% of us are here, and we are 100% behind the debate.

    I hope my new Tees colleagues recognise that the Government’s reaffirmed commitment to CCS, two years after withdrawing £1 billion in funding, is only a small step along what will be a very long road if our country is truly to reap the benefits of carbon capture. We need more than tens of millions in investment; we need billions. We need big leaps, not tiny steps. Nevertheless, this new recognition of CCS is testimony not only to the impressive body of evidence that continues to emphasise the key role of CCS in delivering least-cost decarbonisation, but to the energy—no pun intended—and enthusiasm of the industry, which has kept up a steady drumbeat on CCS since November 2015. I pay tribute to the Carbon Capture and Storage Association for its work and for its support of the APPG.

    In the clean growth strategy, the Government have recognised what the industry has been saying for years: CCS is vital to broad sections of the UK economy. Power aside, key industries such as steel, cement and refining are increasingly looking for ways to remain competitive in a low-carbon world. CCS offers the only solution for deep decarbonisation in these industries that helps to enable their sustainable future, which is crucial for regions such as the Humber, the north-west and Teesside.

    I agree entirely with my hon. Friend. The company he refers to consumes the same amount of gas at its other plant in Runcorn. It is crucial that CCS be spread across the country.

    May I address that question now, in case I forget later? The hon. Member for Stockton South (Dr Williams) is right to focus on the effect on companies such as CF Fertilisers. He will be pleased to know that I had a meeting with that company yesterday. We have had conversations on several issues, but the impact of this technology on its carbon dioxide emissions and its cost base is clear.

    I thank the Minister for that helpful intervention. I have seen companies across the area, including those that make up the Teesside Collective, working hard to decarbonise their processes, but engineering can only do so much. The Government appear to understand that. The clean growth strategy estimates that CCS could provide almost half the required emissions reductions in energy-intensive industries, helping them all on their way.

    A recent study by Summit Power gives a simple explanation as to why the first CCS projects must begin operation in the 2020s: achieving the CCS capacity needed to meet the UK’s 2050 target requires a 30-year build-out rate. Any attempts to significantly shorten that period would place unrealistic expectations on the supply chain and the construction companies. The end result would either be a failure to meet the 80% target by 2050 or the deployment of alternative low-carbon solutions that are likely to be considerably more expensive. We need the first CCS projects to begin operation in the 2020s. Although the £100 million of funding to support that work is welcome, the Government will need to do much more if we are to realise our ambitions.

    The Government’s recommitment to CCS sets out an ambition to deploy it at scale during the 2030s, which throws up some interesting questions. What exactly is meant by “at scale”? Does it mean deploying the first CCS projects in the 2030s, or does it mean that the projects will be up and running in the next five to 10 years and at the required scale 10 years later? To achieve large-scale deployment of CCS in the 2030s, it will be essential to have at least one phase, if not two phases, of operational projects in the 2020s to enable learning and cost reduction.

    That was just one of the messages from yesterday’s APPG meeting, where we heard about CCS progress in three fantastic projects that could be the first building blocks in the construction of a world-leading CCS industry: the Caledonia Clean Energy project, the Teesside Collective and the Liverpool-Manchester hydrogen cluster. They are all in a strong position to get work under way to deliver projects that could be expanded or replicated with relative ease.

    The Teesside Collective spells out what it needs in its briefing note, which the hon. Member for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland alluded to. It asks for the allocation of £15 million in capture plant FEED funding to enable it to develop phase 1 of the project. It wants support for investment in a suitable CO 2 store. It states that transport and storage costs will come down through new delivery models and that it is keen to work in partnership with Government to look at a cost-effective solution. It also wants the establishment of a funding mechanism to build and operate an industrial CCS network.

    I hope I will be forgiven for being a bit more parochial now. As other hon. Members have mentioned, NEPIC has identified Teesside as a location with a particularly strong competitive advantage in the deployment and commercialisation of CCS. My Teesside constituency is home to the Teesside Collective, a consortium of industries developing the first CCS project in the UK. Teesside has the workforce and the strong engineering skills required for CCS, largely as a result of long-standing expertise in the oil and gas, energy supply, chemical and process industries.

    We know from the clean growth strategy that CCS has to do more than demonstrate carbon reduction and low cost. It also has to offer a competitive opportunity for the whole of the UK. There is every reason to believe that that aim can be realised. The UK has some of the best CO 2 storage capacity in the world, a world-class oil and gas industry with the ideal skill set for CCS, and industries already located together in key regions. The economic benefits of CCS could be immense, with the Summit Power report concluding that developing it in the UK could deliver an estimated £129 billion of benefits. The clean growth strategy includes a commitment to developing a deployment pathway for CCS in 2018, but there is no detail about how that pathway will be developed or about the actions that may be included, so I hope the Minister can help us in that regard.

    To make sure that, come the 2020s, the first CCS projects are operational, the Government need to implement a number of key actions in this Parliament to kick-start CCS clusters in a number of key regions. Countries such as Norway and the Netherlands have come forward with strong commitments on CCS, and it is time for us to step up and take our place among the leading group of countries that are developing this transformational technology.


  • 14 Sep 2016: Oral Answers to Questions

    Q11. On Monday, the parliamentary advisory group on carbon capture and storage published a report about the potential of CCS to create thousands of jobs, save the country billions of pounds, and play a major role in meeting the UK’s emission reduction targets. CCS is critical to Teesside, so will the Prime Minister tell the House when the Government will publish their long-awaited new strategy? ( 906349 )


  • 4 Jul 2016: Energy Spending Priorities: Investors and Consumers


    Moreover, the Government are failing to provide the investment that we need in energy efficiency to support a low-carbon economy here in the UK, and have ditched support for low-carbon technologies such as carbon capture and storage, or CCS. I know through my chairmanship of the all-party parliamentary group on CCS that, following the decision in last year’s comprehensive spending review to withdraw the £1 billion for the CCS competition, the industry has spent several months considering and developing its thinking on the way forward for the technology in the UK, but industry wants answers from the Government.

    Although the EU referendum result has undoubtedly left UK politics in a state of turmoil, the climate change agenda and therefore the CCS agenda must remain a strong priority. Just last Thursday, a mere week after the EU referendum, the UK agreed its fifth carbon budget as part of the Climate Change Act, committing the UK to cut emissions by 57% from 1990 levels by 2032. This is a more rigorous target than the collective EU agreement to cut emissions by 40% before 2030 as part of the Paris accord, and as such was a commitment to be welcomed and embraced. However, there is no doubt that CCS and, I would argue, industrial CCS, must have a significant role to play if we are to meet that goal.

    The carbon budgets determine the direction for the UK’s low-carbon transition. Any uncertainty about the status of the target is therefore disruptive at best and catastrophic at worst. The Government have already slashed funding for greener energy options. Further ambiguity will not secure the investment needed, but will lead to increased costs. We need the Government to clarify the status of climate targets in the light of the outcome of the EU referendum, and to clearly prioritise energy spending intentions to ensure that realistic and responsible goals are retained and achieved.

    I would argue that following the referendum, it is more important than ever that the Government commit to being a world leader in important areas such as climate change and energy policy, driving innovation and investment, rather than sitting in the passenger seat attempting to give directions.

    The importance of carbon capture and storage to meeting the UK’s climate change targets was confirmed when, on the same day as the fifth carbon budget was agreed, the Committee on Climate Change published its 2016 progress report, which specifically recommended that the Government urgently come forward with a new approach to CCS technology.

    I know that the Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, the hon. Member for South Northamptonshire (Andrea Leadsom), has been busy working for an EU exit and is now preoccupied with becoming the next Tory leader, but she has promised a new plan for CCS for eight months now, and it is time that we saw it. I firmly believe that in the light of what happened less than two weeks ago, the Government’s new approach now promised towards the end of this year is far too late, and Ministers need to come to the House much sooner. I would none the less welcome hearing from the Minister’s boss, the Secretary of State, that the events of 23 June will not be allowed to cloud our collective judgment and create a barrier to progress.

    The absence of the CCS demonstration projects, which had been expected to contribute towards decarbonisation of power generation by around 2020, is extremely worrying and is something that I know the energy intensive users group has raised previously with the Energy Secretary. I share the group’s view that it is difficult to see how the Government’s absence of policy ambition for CCS can be reconciled with the recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change for power sector decarbonisation, or with the Government’s stated desire to enable energy-intensive industries to remain part of the UK economy in the longer term.

    The Tees valley, in which my Stockton North constituency falls, represents one of the largest clusters of manufacturing industries in the UK. Industries in the region contribute more than £10 billion to GVA— gross value added—annually, provide more than 25,000 manufacturing jobs in the local area, and produce a significant share of the UK’s manufacturing output, but they also emit some 22% of the UK’s total emissions from manufacturing industries, meaning that industrial CCS has the potential to protect these energy-intensive industries from future high carbon prices, while curtailing CO 2 emissions.

    We know that CCS is a core component in a number of energy-intensive sector 2050 industrial road maps developed by the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, alongside industry. However, despite that and the expectation that CO 2 abatement costs may be lower for some industrial applications than for power generation, there is no specific support policy for industrial CCS deployment. I would be grateful if the Secretary of State could outline what steps her Department is taking to address that disparity.

    Some energy-intensive industries have started to benefit from the Government’s carbon compensation package, following approval from the EU. I welcome that, but what is the future for carbon taxes and compensation post EU membership? Will the burden of EU carbon taxes still exist? If so, to what extent? Will the extra costs imposed by the British Government, over and above the EU costs, be removed any time soon?

    Importantly, the Committee on Climate Change singled out new CCS transport and storage infrastructure as crucial for meeting future carbon budgets, and it recommended that separate consideration be given to the support needed to enable the development of that infrastructure. Only by developing it in places such as Teesside, which has the capacity and expertise to make such projects work, can the UK even hope to secure a stable future post EU.

    Investment in such infrastructure holds the potential to secure thousands of jobs, which are more important now than ever before, in the light of the failures in the Government’s handling of the steel crisis and the subsequent rises in unemployment on Teesside. However, with the UK having stated its intention to vacate its seat at the top table as far as policy making at the EU level is concerned, can the Minister reassure the House that plans are in place to guarantee that DECC officials can continue to collaborate with their EU counterparts as policies for CCS are developed?

    I would also welcome the Minister confirming that the industry will not lose out on current or future support as a result of our leaving the EU and that backing for these technologies will be a priority for the Government. She will be aware that EU funds have supported, and continue to support, CCS projects in the UK, such as the Don Valley project, which receives in the region of €180 million from a European economic recovery package. I would be grateful if she could outline how the Government intend to replace those moneys for existing and potential future projects once the UK ceases to be part of the EU.


  • 14 Mar 2016: Energy Bill [Lords]


    I rise specifically in support of new clause 7 relating to carbon capture and storage, both as chair of the APPGs on CCS and energy intensive industries and as a Teesside MP who sees it as a major generator of jobs and potential saviour of many of the country’s manufacturing plants.

    The absence of CCS policy in the UK is a major concern, it being a critical technology for reducing emissions from steel, cement and other industrial processes, as well as power stations. In the past 72 hours, another steel company at Stillington in my constituency has decided that it will close its doors in May with the loss of 40 jobs, so it is critical that we start making the right decisions now.

    The Chancellor’s decision to axe the funding to develop the two power station projects on Humberside and at Peterhead was a major blow not just to those two projects but to the entire industry and also very specifically to Teesside, where the country’s first industrial CCS project is still being planned by the Teesside Collective.

    When the Energy Minister attended a packed meeting of the CCS all-party group just over a month ago, she claimed that the economics did not add up, despite the fact that the final business cases were yet to be submitted. She said that an updated policy would be developed by the autumn, but then went on to suggest that we learn from other countries as they develop their CCS industries. Well, that is not good enough. Britain has tremendous capability in this area, and could be leading where the Minister says that we should follow. I am also worried that the Chancellor does not even understand what CCS is—a worry made all the worse when I asked him a question at Treasury questions a few weeks ago. I asked him what funding would be available for CCS projects once the Department of Energy and Climate Change comes up with its new policy in the autumn. He answered:

    “We have set out our capital budget and our energy policy, which will see a doubling of the investment in renewable energy over the next five years.” —[ Official Report , 19 January 2016; Vol. 604, c. 1269.]

    There was no capital for CCS projects there. The Chancellor talked not of CCS but of renewable energy. I would like to think that he was just dodging my question, but I am not too sure that he understood it or the need for him to send a signal to industry that he was personally committed to making CCS a reality in our country.

    New clause 7 provides the Government with a new opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to CCS and to develop a real strategy with a real intention to make the UK a leader in the field.

    CCS is vital, because it gives a means by which steel—and other existing energy intensive industries—manufactures the very foundation product that then goes into wind turbines and other mechanisms that we need for renewables. This is absolutely and fundamentally dependent on carbon-intensive technologies, such as virgin steel capacity and oxygen burning intensive processes. If we want a renewable strategy, whether 42% or higher, we need to have steelworks that burn in the traditional sense.

    Being a leader is critical to our energy-intensive and other industries if we are to overcome the competition threat from across the world. It is no use hanging back when other nations look like stealing a march on us. I have mentioned the Teesside Collective project to develop an industrial CCS project on Teesside, home to some of the country’s most energy-intensive industries. I invite the Minister and the Chancellor to the next meeting of the all-party parliamentary group on 23 March to learn about those ambitious plans. I know the Chancellor will be busy until the night before, but I guarantee that the APPG will be much more focused on the needs of industrial Britain than will his Budget.

    I know that some may have reservations about the use of fossil fuels, but what an opportunity for the Government to put some meaning into the much abused term “northern powerhouse”—a large-scale power plant, an opportunity to develop it with CCS, but with the immeasurable bonus of doing it with the Teesside Collective and developing an exciting project that could mean boom time for Teesside, with the kind of inward investment that only people in the south believe can be a reality.

    I know that projects such as a power station are always fraught with planning complications, but I hope that when the time comes the doors of Ministers in both the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Department for Communities and Local Government will be open to ensure a quick decision on the planning application.

    It is difficult to see how some of our industries, many of them critical to our economy, can remain located in the UK without CCS if our long-term national carbon reduction commitments are to be met. The Government appear to have no strategy for CCS development, let alone a means of funding it.


  • 7 Mar 2016: EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy


    EU analysis suggests that further progress on resource efficiency is possible and identifies major environmental, economic and social benefits to greater efficiency. To that end, the Commission has identified net savings of as much as €600 billion for businesses in the EU, or 8% of annual turnover. That is quite a lot of money. Furthermore, the new package could reduce total annual greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 4%, which would be a major contribution to climate change measures.


  • 29 Feb 2016: UK Steel Industry


    The EU commission provided state-aid approval for proposals to compensate the industry in relation to the costs of the renewables obligation and feed-in tariffs in December 2015. Although we await the full implementation of the first part of the compensation scheme, there remains a second application that concerns competitors of those receiving compensation. Until that second application is approved, some companies are without access to much-needed compensation and exposed to 70% of climate change policy costs. I hope the Minister can give us an update on what is happening with that second application.


  • 26 Jan 2016: Draft Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2...


    It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship for the very first time, Mr Streeter, and to have the opportunity to share my thoughts on the regulations, which appear to lack any element of controversy, although that, of course, does not minimise their significance. The Minister spoke of packaging as important for both its planned use and its recycling value, but the management and disposal of packaging waste and batteries can result, among other things, in the production of greenhouse gases and, if not handled correctly and effectively, further environmental consequences through the impact of landfill.


  • 19 Jan 2016: Oral Answers to Questions

    T8. I have just chaired a packed meeting of the all-party parliamentary group on carbon capture and storage with the Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change. There was a lot of anger in the room over the Chancellor’s decision to axe the funding for the CCS competition projects. What funding will the Chancellor provide when DECC comes up with its new CCS strategy in the autumn? ( 903097 )


  • 6 Jan 2016: Flooding


    The Government are even less enthusiastic about revealing precisely how much of the capital spending is simply maintaining existing flood defences at their current level without providing increased protection. As the Committee on Climate Change has identified and the events of recent weeks have confirmed, the impacts of a changing climate will see defences that might otherwise provide protection against a one-in-100-year flood provide a much lower level of protection, risking their being overtopped more frequently.


  • 10 Nov 2015: Oral Answers to Questions

    T9. The Minister appears to be a little shy about telling us exactly when the compensation scheme for energy-intensive industries such as steel is likely to be introduced, or whether it will be ahead of the original planned date. While she is thinking about that, will she also give thought to other industries, such as chemicals, ceramics, paper and cement, with a view to providing sufficient compensation for them? They face greater competition, uniquely, because of the high cost of additional UK Government energy and climate change electricity taxes. ( 902080 )


  • 26 Oct 2015: Finance Bill


    I will now turn to value added tax, enforcement by deduction from accounts and the climate change levy—unless any Member wishes a quick run-around again on inheritance tax, but I suspect not.



    I now wish to turn to new clause 11 on the climate change levy, and to amendment 90, which would delete clause 45 on the CCL. In a sense, the proposal is a double negative. If clause 45 were deleted, the exemption would be restored. Again, I urge the Government to look at both these measures, which retain, certainly for the moment, the exemption on the climate change levy and, as stated in new clause 11, look at the effect of the abolition of that exemption. As I understand it, there was no consultation to speak of before the measure was announced. In contradistinction, when a fundamental change to the tax regime of combined heat and power units was introduced, that industry got two years’ notice of exemptions. In this case, this year, there was 28 days’ notice, which is next to no notice at all, because these things have long lead times.

    I accept the Government’s figure that a third of this exemption is claimed by overseas producers—if only that were not the case. When many, if not all, western countries address the issue of greenhouse gas emissions, which is the nub of what we are talking about, they tend to offshore the problem. Carbon dioxide intensive manufacturing, using lots of non-renewable fossil fuels, gets relocated by capitalists to places such as China and India, making it look as if the CO 2 emissions per capita in the United Kingdom are falling quite dramatically, but if the CO 2 emissions in the United Kingdom were to include those for which UK residents and consumers are responsible, we would see a rather different picture. Of course Labour Members are not happy about a third of this exemption money going overseas, but in one sense that is all part of offshoring. As far as one can see, successive Governments have been turning a blind eye to the offshoring of greenhouse gas emissions to China and India and so on, but when we are talking about measures to lessen that, no offshoring is to be allowed under this Government. They should think again.

    This whole issue cannot be divorced from carbon capture and storage and the need for the Government to confirm their support for the two projects in the competition—I think we are due a decision on that in the new year. After that, we need to encourage industry with industrial CCS, especially on Teesside where my constituency sits and where, nearby, we have just lost a large section of the British steel industry.


  • 11 Sep 2014: Energy-intensive Industries


    That this House welcomes the measures announced in the 2014 Budget Statement which reduce cost pressures created by the imposition of carbon taxes and levies; notes that without such measures, there is a serious risk of carbon leakage; further notes, however, that UK manufacturing still pays four times as much for carbon compared with main EU competitors because of taxes such as the carbon floor price; and calls on the Government to build on the measures announced in the Budget by producing a strategy for energy-intensive industries, as recommended by the Environmental Audit Committee in its Sixth Report of Session 2012–13, HC 669, in order to produce a fairer and more efficient system which delivers genuine potential for investment in a low-carbon economy.

    Before I get into the main body of my speech, I formally declare my membership of the all-party parliamentary group for energy-intensive industries, which campaigns on the issues to be raised today and whose members helped to secure this debate. Much of the debate will centre on the impact that carbon taxes and levies are having on our energy-intensive industries—EIIs—and will seek to encourage progress in working towards a strategy for EIIs that will deliver genuine potential for investment in a low-carbon economy.

    Whether it be through petrochemicals, nitrate fertiliser or steel production, the Tees valley, where my Stockton North constituency sits, has long been synonymous with heavy industry and the thirst for energy that it necessarily entails. The town of Billingham, which is home to a large chemical centre, has played a particularly significant role in Britain’s industrial back story. The cooling towers and chimney stacks that still adorn, if not dominate, parts of the region’s skyline—along with the famed transporter bridge—are testimony to Teesside’s proud industrial heritage, but the decline of those industries will be hastened if actions are not taken to lessen the burdens imposed by carbon taxes and levies.

    If I may borrow a phrase from my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Test (Dr Whitehead), the next Government will come to power at a time when the three prongs of an “energy trilemma” are driving potentially competing agendas that must be addressed by any emerging energy policy. That means that, at the same time as taking steps to guarantee that our energy supply is secure, we require measures to ensure that energy prices for consumers, both domestic and industrial, are affordable, as well as movement towards decarbonising supplies to ensure that the energy sector contributes to carbon reduction rather than undermining it.

    While the decarbonisation of electricity generation will be critical, along with measures to improve the energy efficiency of homes and transport, industry—which accounts for about a quarter of UK emissions—is rightly expected to make a substantial contribution. Given that EIIs account for more than 50% of industry-related emissions, they are expected to deliver reductions of at least 70% from 2009 levels by 2050. However, those obligations, although noble and justifiably ambitious, come with a set of associated difficulties.

    The situation is set to get much worse over the next decade. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills forecasts that UK energy and climate change policies will add around £30 to every megawatt of electricity for EIIs by 2020, substantially more than for any other country in the world. Needless to say, that is a huge threat to the entire energy-intensive sector—a threat that the next Government, regardless of colour or composition, must take steps to meet.

    I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this debate. Does he agree that the huge energy security and energy affordability issues that we face place our manufacturing industries right at the cutting edge of how this debate is to be taken forward, but we must also not lose sight of the need in the long term to decarbonise, and in doing that we will be making our manufacturing industries more competitive? As my hon. Friend rightly says, there is a short-term issue in terms of transition to that low-carbon economy and it is for that reason that the Environmental Audit Committee, which I chair, recommended that there should be a particular strategy for companies that are intensive users of energy. We have not really seen any progress on that, and I hope that when the Minister replies to the debate we can really look at how we can make our manufacturing companies competitive, losing no time in making sure that we have an international agreement on climate change—because we must not lose sight of that—but keeping our manufacturing processes there in the short term to be there for the long term.

    Of course, the situation with regard to these energy costs is set to get much worse over the next decade. As I have said, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills forecasts that UK energy and climate change policies will add around £30 to every megawatt of electricity for energy-intensive industries by 2020—substantially more than for any other country in the world.

    I have a great deal of sympathy with what the hon. Gentleman is saying. Does he agree that it is now time to scrap these ludicrous carbon taxes?

    Carbon taxes have been imposed by consecutive Governments for very good reason, but if our industries are to be competitive, the time has come to examine them carefully and to determine how we go forward. This is not just about taxation, however; we must also take into account the issues that my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent North (Joan Walley) raised a moment ago.

    In my role as a member of the all-party group—not to mention as an MP representing an industrial centre—I have regular contact with those in the energy-intensive sector and frequently listen to the issues that they find themselves contending with. Through those conversations, I understand that no other country has imposed a policy similar to the carbon price floor here in the UK, nor are there plans to do so. It has been widely acknowledged that the carbon price floor does not, in fact, reduce emissions from power generation; those are capped at EU level. Instead, the carbon price floor significantly increases the proportion of decarbonisation costs that is borne by UK electricity users. Those are costs that drive investment decisions and can lead to companies relocating overseas rather than developing their businesses in the UK.

    Indeed, as industries approach the limits of what is realistically achievable with current technologies, the capacity of businesses to invest in the UK is ultimately undercut and the sustainability of the entire sector in the UK placed under threat. That, of course, brings with it the simultaneous possibility of the loss of jobs and investment to other countries with less vigorous climate change policies. That is disheartening, not just because of the obvious negative impacts for local economies and for the national economy more broadly, but because it overlooks the necessity to safeguard our existing industries and the employment they provide in order to make that all-important transition towards a low-carbon economy. Only through the continued provision of support to these industries can we hope to attract new investment.

    We need look no further than Air Products in my constituency for an example of the types of investment in low-carbon industries that successful industrial clusters can attract. Shortly after committing to invest in building one of the world’s largest renewable energy plants on Teesside, the company announced investment in a second similar plant, influenced no doubt by the favourable business conditions that will see the wide availability of feedstock while allowing for local knowledge, skills and infrastructure to be used constructively and competitively. It speaks volumes that Sembcorp is developing with SITA a similar 35 MW plant on Teesside also to provide electricity from waste, further highlighting the potential for investment in the low-carbon economy that can result from the development of strong industrial clusters.

    There can be no doubt that the UK must strive to avoid meeting its carbon targets by offshoring state-of-the-art energy-efficient EIIs. The objective must be sensible and economically sustainable decarbonisation, not de-industrialisation. In that respect, the UK’s status as the least energy-intensive economy in the G7 should perhaps be treated with caution rather than celebration.

    We must think outside the box and look beyond punitive taxation schemes for alternative means to decarbonise, sending a signal to the rest of the world that it is possible to retain industry and decarbonise simultaneously and leading by example. A report last year by the American Chemistry Council found that 97 chemical industry projects worth a staggering $71.7 billion have been announced as a result of the US’s shale gas boom.

    Our EIIs need support through this place, with a re-examination of taxes, carbon capture development and new energy sources. As recommended in the Environmental Audit Committee report, we need to set that path for maximum feasible decarbonisation, and I hope that we will do that soon.



    That this House welcomes the measures announced in the 2014 Budget Statement which reduce cost pressures created by the imposition of carbon taxes and levies; notes that without such measures, there is a serious risk of carbon leakage; further notes, however, that UK manufacturing still pays four times as much for carbon compared with main EU competitors because of taxes such as the carbon floor price; and calls on the Government to build on the measures announced in the Budget by producing a strategy for energy-intensive industries, as recommended by the Environmental Audit Committee in its Sixth Report of Session 2012–13, HC 669, in order to produce a fairer and more efficient system which delivers genuine potential for investment in a low-carbon economy.


  • 20 Dec 2012: Oral Answers to Questions

    2. What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change on investment in green manufacturing jobs. ( 134534 )


  • 19 Dec 2012: Energy Bill


    The prices crisis extends to industry, and particularly to energy-intensive industries, of which I have many in my Stockton North constituency. We need to build confidence in our country’s energy policy and reverse the coalition Government’s failure to grow our economy. We know the UK renewable energy market has suffered under the weight of mixed and inconsistent messages from the Government. While we have dilly-dallied in Britain, other countries have simply got on with it. The EU contribution of renewables to total energy is around 13.4%, but we are third bottom of the EU renewable energy league table, and our renewables contribution is just 3.3%.

    From April 2008 to December 2012, the Department of Energy and Climate Change estimated that the carbon emissions reduction target and community energy saving programme cost the energy supply companies £5.5 billion, but it does not know how much each energy company paid per tonne of carbon saved. There is no clear audit trail of what happened to the money. Energy companies must be compelled to be transparent in their approach to how that money is invested—after all, it is a tax raised for the specific purpose of reducing fuel poverty and tackling carbon emissions.


  • 8 Nov 2012: Oral Answers to Questions

    10. What discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change on investment in green manufacturing jobs. ( 127307 )


  • 29 Feb 2012: Water Industry (Financial Assistance) Bill


    The Environment Agency last looked at the idea of a pipeline in 2006 and estimated that it would cost up to eight times more than developing the existing infrastructure. Water is heavy—1 cubic metre of water, which is what one person uses a week on average, weighs a full metric tonne—so the energy required for the construction, development and operation of large-scale water transfer systems also adds further to carbon emissions, which lead to climate change.


  • 29 Mar 2011: Solar Power and Feed-in Tariffs


    The aspiration of the industry—and, I hope, the Government—is to bring the technology to the point where renewable energy will compete with grid electricity without subsidy. To put the matter firmly on the record, I have been told that even BP concedes that electricity from solar PV will be cheaper than fossil fuels by 2020—a startling and very welcome statistic. To be clear, the Government’s decision to significantly reduce the tariff for schemes that are larger than 50 kW will cause havoc in this fledgling industry and make it less likely that community groups and schools, hospitals and churches will contemplate solar energy schemes, as they will simply be unaffordable. Schemes over 50 kW in size will see the feed-in tariff reduced by between 39% and 49%.

    If money is to be limited, does the hon. Gentleman agree that it would be best to prioritise larger-scale projects that offer a better return for the taxpayer and help to achieve our goal of increasing renewable energy?

    A 50 kW scheme is not a large scheme in any way, shape or form, despite what the Government would like us to think. We are talking about an area that is just the size of two tennis courts—hardly the large solar farms that the Government claim to be worried about. But do not just take my word for it. The Government should be listening to the Renewable Energy Association, which says that the industry has been “strangled at birth”, and to the Solar Trade Association, which calls the decision “a total disaster”.

    The fact is that solar energy is hugely popular. A study of public attitudes to energy generation technologies that was undertaken by Cardiff university last year showed 88% support for solar PV. It had the highest level of support of all technologies. More than 70% of people agree that supporting renewable energy sources such as solar or wind is a better way of tackling climate change than nuclear power.

    Back in 2008, the hon. Member for Wealden (Charles Hendry), who is now a Minister of State in the Department of Energy and Climate Change, stated when speaking about 5 MW projects:

    I could go on, but sadly I do not have the time to list all the projects and examples that I have been sent information on during the last few days. The Renewable Energy Association estimated, before the fast-track review of the FIT was announced, that, nationally, 17,000 new solar jobs would be created by the end of 2011. Those jobs are now unlikely to materialise as medium and large-scale projects are axed. At a time when the number of people unemployed stands at 2.5 million, we should be doing everything that we can to encourage the creation of green jobs. The Government’s review could end up costing jobs, rather than creating them.

    Just as important is the renewables target, which aims to see 15% of UK energy coming from renewable technologies by 2020 under the EU renewable energy directive. We are third from bottom of the list of European countries in meeting our renewable energy targets, and the Government’s decision will not help. Many people in the renewables industry are very angry about that decision, and confidence in the Government has been shattered thanks to the mismanagement of the fast-tracked review.

    Even if we accept that such large-scale sites are a potential concern, why can the Government not restrict the use of greenfield sites and set a reasonable kilowatt capacity limit to curb industrial-scale developments, as suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for Ogmore (Huw Irranca-Davies)?At a time when oil prices are rising and volatile, and when the nuclear crisis in Japan is highlighting to all the dangers of nuclear power, I am not alone in suggesting that the Government should look at ensuring that popular, green methods of meeting our energy needs get the support that they deserve. Medium and large-scale solar PV schemes can be part of the solution to serious energy security and climate change problems, but the Government seem intent on focusing just on domestic-scale installations.

    The fact is that we face a predicted energy gap in 2017, with power cuts anticipated for the first time since the 1970s. I am told that DECC had a taste of things to come last Thursday, when it was subjected to its own power cut, which meant that officials were unable to print important briefing notes for Ministers ahead of DECC questions on the Floor of the House. Perhaps that is why the Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, the hon. Member for Bexhill and Battle (Gregory Barker), was so badly prepared for questions that day and used the rather shabby comparison with Germany’s tariff scheme when seeking to defend the changes his Department has announced. He said:

    We were told this would be the “greenest government ever”, but I think that that will be added to their growing list of broken promises, given that energy policy is now being dictated by the Treasury. It is time for the Government to admit they have got this one very wrong, choked off many schemes at birth, turned enthusiastic potential developers away, broken promises to the industry, lost the opportunity to create thousands of jobs and set back our chances of ever meeting our renewable energy targets. I hope to get an assurance today that the Government will start listening to the industry and the many others who will doubtless respond to the consultation on feed-in tariffs, as well as to organisations such as the Norton sports complex.

    In summary, I would like to pose three questions. First, how do the Government propose to restore confidence in their renewable policy, which has been severely shaken thanks to the shambolic way in which the decision on feed-in tariffs has been handled? Secondly, what is the Government’s long-term vision for solar PV? Evidence from other countries demonstrates that it has the potential to play a significant part in renewable energy provision, yet the Government’s policy is geared towards sidelining it as a purely domestic, small-scale technology. We are not being ambitious enough when it comes to solar PV. Finally, will the Government promise today to listen to the industry during the consultation, because it is very angry about this unexpected change in policy? Will they then act to ditch that ridiculous change in policy? If not, they risk alienating not only the solar sector, but the whole renewables sector.


See all Parliamentary Speeches Mentioning Climate

Maximise your vote to save the planet.

Join Now