Johnson’s 10-point energy plan needs ‘flesh on the bones’
- Tuesday 17 November 2020
Unite said that Boris Johnson should expand on his proposals in greater detail and his jobs’ programme needs to be more ambitious.
Unite is disappointed that there was no specific reference to give the go-ahead to the development of the Sizewell C nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast – the type of large-scale nuclear project the UK needs, as renewables, such as offshore wind power, won’t provide all the country’s energy requirements in future.
Unite has repeatedly called for the publication of the much-delayed energy White Paper, now expected to be published in the next month, to pave the way for a ‘mixed’ energy future with the prospect of thousands of new jobs and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: "We welcome the commitment to nuclear as an important low carbon element of the energy ‘mix’, but we also need meat on the bones as to how these projects are to be financed and brought forward to completion.
“We strongly believe the target for jobs must be more ambitious and it is crucial that the UK supply chain is fully integrated into a cohesive and overarching plan.
“We don’t want the prime minister’s announcement to be a missed opportunity to forge a comprehensive and joined-up UK energy strategy for the decades ahead.
“What has been outlined is a canvass half-painted – we need to see the full picture.
“We need to be confident that the energy strategy is going to meet the increasing energy demands of industry, businesses and consumers.
“It is very disappointing that there was no explicit go-ahead for Sizewell C as that would tick a number of key boxes, including the generation of thousands of highly skilled jobs, which will benefit the post-pandemic, post-Brexit UK economy.
“A new nuclear power station in Suffolk could generate up to 25,000 jobs during construction and at least 1,500 apprenticeships. An estimated 2,500 businesses in the supply chain would also benefit. It would provide 900 operational jobs during the 60 years it is expected to be in service.
“Once more, Unite calls for the publication of the energy White Paper that will enhance UK’s energy security; assist in keeping the lights on; and burnish the UK’s climate change credentials with president-elect Joe Biden.
“The White Paper is expected to be announced in the next month, but we can’t afford as a country to have any more slippage in its publication.”
Besides supporting the development of Sizewell C, Unite is also a member of the Moorside Clean Energy Consortium which proposes a new nuclear power station, following Toshiba’s withdrawal from the Cumbrian project in November 2018.