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Eastern Powerhouse letter to Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero

Eastern Powerhouse Chair, James Palmer, and 11 Eastern Region MPs wrote to Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, Claire Coutinho MP, asking Government for an Energy Policy for the East.

The full text can be found below.

The Rt Hon Claire Coutinho MP Secretary of State Department for Energy Security and Net Zero By email

29 November 2023

Dear Secretary of State,

RE: An Energy Policy for the East

In recent years, government investment into the energy sector in the East of England has been significant. As the only region in the United Kingdom with oil, gas, nuclear, wind, and solar power, and one that produces around 30% of the United Kingdom’s energy, the importance of the energy sector in our region cannot be underestimated.

The Eastern Powerhouse welcomes the investment and dedication to the energy industry in the east, particularly the £700m commitment to Sizewell C. However, we feel that without a specific energy policy for the east, there is a risk that government may not gain the best possible value from their massive financial support. A well-drafted energy policy for the east would not only have the benefit of mapping current and future energy provision, but also it would be an opportunity to include the education sector, particularly in areas of deprivation along the east coast.

There are significant growth opportunities that could be harnessed successfully through a bespoke energy policy. A stronger wind industry and an improved electrical grid would not only bolster the east’s economic prosperity, but it would also truly enhance the country’s energy security, most particularly future hydrogen production and provision of hydrogen to our major industrial centres. We would also like there to be full consideration in the policy to piping carbon from the near continent to empty oil and gas wells off the east coast. The Netherlands is only 125 miles from the Norfolk coast and carbon is currently taken by boat from Rotterdam to the arctic circle. We are confident that the UK can offer a better solution. A dedicated energy policy could explore such possibilities.

A detailed energy policy for the east would also create an inclusive industry that has a solid plan to really boost economic growth, create more green energy, secure our future energy needs as well as future energy production, and create education pathways into the industry that would allow local people a clear access to secure jobs. The East of England was where gas production first began in the North Sea, billions of pounds of investment and gas production followed. Vast numbers of export of both energy related machinery and skills made the area strong in the 1970s and 80s.

The east continues to be one of the strongest economies in the country, however links between the energy sector and the burgeoning Cambridge economy are weak and could be stronger. This ambition could and should be part of a dedicated energy policy for the east.

The Eastern Powerhouse is an independent, non-political organisation that works to promote sustainable growth in the East of England. We want to work with government to form a complete energy policy for our region, one that would offer a solid return on considerable public sector investment.

I hope you will agree to meet us and plan a way forward.

Yours Sincerely,

James Palmer

Chair, Eastern Powerhouse

Co-signed by:

John Baron MP

Jo Churchill MP

Jonathan Djanogly MP

George Freeman MP

Matt Hancock MP

Tom Hunt MP

Jerome Mayhew MP

Andrew Selous MP

Chloe Smith MP

Giles Watling MP

James Wild MP


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