Sunday, 19 May 2013

Energy Bill - thoughts on a speech?

In 2 weeks parliament is debating the Energy Bill, and I am inviting contributions on the content of my speech on this issue. I can think of few more important Bills going through the parliament on a multitude of levels. It addresses national issues of huge importance, and local issues that matter tremendously to the local people I try to represent in Northumberland.
On the one hand is government's fundamental obligation to keep the lights on.
On the other is our desire to tackle climate change.
Whilst we have to acknowledge that all governments have to address declining oil reserves, the legacy that comes with nuclear power, the carbon impact of coal, the innate difficulties of fracking and the unintended consequences of using all our trees for biomass plants.
Balance that with our upset in rural Northumberland that we have random applications for wind farms that are, at best, inefficient and, at worst, an expensive eye sore.
Talk to the miners and there are the arguments from local Labour MPs that we need a return to more coal mining, whilst the citizens of Whittonstall and Halton Lea Gate would disagree.
Add in the problems of the rising prices of the most important energy of all - the petrol / oil and diesel that runs our vehicles and heats our homes... not to mention the thousands of my constituents who are off grid and relying on unregulated LPG.
Who would be the lead energy minister? In cabinet this is Ed Davey. He is a decent man, doing a very difficult job.

Some of you will have read previous speeches I have given on this issue: a full list of the speeches on fuel poverty, biomass, the actions of the heating oil companies, fracking, my clashes with Caroline Flint, Labour's shadow energy minister, LPG, wind farms, the weakness of the OFT, issues in rural Northumberland, off grid heating, open cast and lots more are set out on They work for you:

But I have decided to take a different approach to the speech in a couple of weeks time.
I am meeting on Friday 24th with a number of the representatives of the heating oil buying groups in Northumberland to try and get their specific input. Bear in mind that Mike Murray and Lauren Langton have already become the unofficial key advisers to the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee and recently Lauren met with the Energy Minister, Michael Fallon.
I have specifically asked them to give me information - both for onward transfer to the Ministers and the OFT, and also for potential inclusion in an energy bill speech.
As always the creation of a 6-10 minute speech is a composite effort of a variety of influences but I welcome the input of constituents one and all. My email, as everyone I hope knows, is

Details on the Energy Bill can be found here: