Peter Aldous urges Government to work collaboratively with industry on North Sea Offshore Wind regulatory framework

5th November 2020

Speaking in an Adjournment Debate on Offshore Wind Transmission Connections, Peter Aldous welcomes the huge potential of the North Sea basin to generate jobs and to achieve our carbon reduction targets and urges the Government to work collaboratively with industry when developing the regulatory framework to ensure industry is not disadvantaged.

Peter Aldous MP speaking in the House of Commons, 5 Nov 2020, Offshore Wind
 
 

I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this debate. He is making his case extremely passionately. He has clearly done an awful lot of research for this debate, but I do not know whether he has seen this week’s Policy Exchange report, “The Future of the North Sea” that highlights the enormous potential of the North sea basin to generate jobs and to achieve our carbon reduction targets. Does he agree that the way to do this is to work collaboratively with industry, which wants to help, and to look at reviewing and changing the regulatory framework, as indeed Policy Exchange has suggested, but in a way that does not disadvantage industry?

My hon. Friend has, as he always does so beautifully and succinctly hit the nail on the head. This is all about our wanting to promote, help, collaborate and work together on such an important issue. Ever since we have been involved in this whole discussion, we have come together with the industry, and worked with people from across the world, mainly in Europe, who have brought such brilliant ideas to the table. Only through collaboration and working with them do I even stand here today to try to present some of the issues and why it is so important to work together. I thank him enormously for that contribution.

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I appreciate the point that my hon. Friend is trying to make, but for coastal communities such as mine, these developments have been an absolute godsend in bringing jobs to the area.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. There is enormous generation of jobs on the back of this green energy revolution. He is absolutely right to point that out and I do not dispute it in the slightest. The point I was making was that in coastal communities, where we are trenching into the side of cliffs—in areas of outstanding natural beauty—I want to make sure that we can properly improve things for the future.

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Does the Minister agree, given the highly innovative solution that he is working up, that industry has been working ingeniously in the North sea for more than 50 years, and it has come up with the most remarkable technological solutions? Industry must be involved, along with us, with business, with the Government, and with regulators.

My hon. Friend will know that I have visited his constituency and seen the wind farm installations off the coast of Suffolk. Industry and the operators of offshore wind farms, National Grid, and others, will be involved, and I am sure they will be consulted. They have come up with their own review, and people are very much engaged in that wider debate.

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