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I have already noted three pro-nuclear power maiden speeches from Thursday's debate on the Queen's Speech.

Two further newly-elected Conservative MPs making their Commons debuts spoke favourably about nuclear power in speeches discussing energy policy: Peter Aldous, who gained Waveney from Labour and Chris Heaton-Harris, the former MEP who steps into Tim Boswell's shoes in Daventry.

Peter Aldous Commons Peter Aldous was keen to see offshore renewables embraced:

"We need a new and radical energy policy. If we do not have it, the lights will go out. We need to be in control of our own destiny. We need energy security. We owe it to future generations to take a major step towards a low-carbon economy. We need a mixture of energy sources—green energy sources. To me, nuclear has a vital role to play; so, too, does clean coal, and micro-energy is also of great importance, but it is offshore renewables on which I want to focus. We have to get 15% of our energy supply from renewables by 2020. We have a lot of work to do, being at just over 5% now. There are great opportunities for green jobs; I see that it is estimated that there will be 1.2 million by 2015. If we do not do the work, we will fall a long way short.

"Lowestoft has a great opportunity, and great advantages in setting about giving us those green jobs and taking us forward. It has a great location, close to where the offshore turbines will be—the East Anglia Array and the Greater Gabbard. We have a skills base, built up over many years, in fishing, in shipbuilding, and in the North Sea oil and gas industry. Those skills are transferrable, and we can make best use of them in the renewables sector."

Chris Heaton-Harris Commons Chris Heaton-Harris, meanwhile, spoke out against onshore wind farms in his constituency:

"Yelvertoft, Crick, Preston Capes, Hanging Houghton, Maidwell, Draughton, Lilbourne, Watford, Winwick and West Haddon are all stunning villages in my constituency, but they are also linked by the fact that every one of them has, or has had, proposed planning applications for wind farms with turbines of up to 126.5 metres tall, which is almost the height of the London Eye. The total number of turbines suggested for this small swathe of my constituency is 53.

"This debate is about energy, and I must mention the folly that is onshore wind energy. Not only does it dramatically change the nature of the landscape for ever—and as we have very little beautiful English countryside left, so we should try to treasure the bit we have—but it does little to help us in our battle to reduce carbon emissions. Leaving aside the damage these turbines do visually, I believe that science is not on the side of this sort of wind power. We still need to have the ability to produce 100% of our energy requirements by other means for those times when the wind is not blowing, and when the wind does stop, there is plenty of research suggesting that firing up gas and coal power stations quickly to take the slack created by the wind stopping burns those fuels so inefficiently that much of the good that has just been done is undone. I also hope Ministers will give better planning guidance to local councils that have to deal with these matters. That guidance should perhaps borrow an idea from our European friends: a 2 km exclusion zone, meaning that no turbine can be constructed within 2 km of any dwelling.

"I am a great believer in renewable, sustainable and locally produced solutions to our energy problems of the future. Plenty of miscanthus grass is grown as a true biofuel across my constituency. I also believe we have to face up to the fact that nuclear energy must play a part in the medium and long term."

Jonathan Isaby

51 comments for: Peter Aldous backs offshore renewables while Chris Heaton-Harris attacks onshore wind farms in maiden speeches on energy policy

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