Thank you to everyone who has contacted me about nuclear power in recent weeks.
I appreciate there are strongly held views on both sides of the debate about nuclear energy.
I am firmly committed to promoting renewable energy generation and infrastructure. Renewables are now the cheapest form of electricity generation in the UK and I believe infrastructure projects that accelerate the uptake of renewable energy should be prioritised.
As I am sure you will be aware, the UK Government published its Energy White Paper on 14 December 2020, and this includes plans for new nuclear capacity. The Government has said it aims to bring at least one large-scale nuclear project to the point of final investment decision by the end of the current Parliament and will enter negotiations with EDF in relation to the Sizewell C project in Suffolk.
The Prime Minister has previously stated his view that nuclear power is a significant potential contributor to the UK’s net zero ambitions.
I believe nuclear does have a role to play in the UK’s energy mix and could create jobs. However, there has been no definitive statement one way or the other on financing, costs or an overall plan and I will certainly be holding the Government to account on these points.
More widely, I am concerned that the Energy White Paper has little to say on onshore wind, tidal and solar and does not go far enough on hydrogen. I believe we must go further and faster in decarbonising our energy system and at the very least, the UK Government must meet its target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 68% (compared to 1990 levels) by 2030. I would also like to see it meet the proposal by the Climate Change Committee for a 78% reduction in emissions by 2035.
We need a comprehensive strategy for achieving both the 2030 target and the 2050 net zero target and I will continue to press for an ambitious plan that meets the scale of the task we are faced with in fighting against the climate crisis.