The UK has been a global leader in changing to renewable energy sources and in reducing carbon emissions, while many other countries continue to increase their emissions. This fact seems to be lost on the extremist protest groups that seek to disrupt people from going about their day-to-day business, one of whom, ‘Just Stop Oil’, is bankrolled by the same man who donated £1.3 million to the Labour Party.
I’m proud of the Conservatives' record in reducing carbon emissions and we will continue to make strong progress to get to net zero, but we must stand up to the zealots who would wreck our economy, inflate our energy bills, and lose our energy security and supply if they had their way. Reducing the use of fossil fuels is vitally important, but it must continue to be in a sustainable way that doesn’t severely damage us in other ways, particularly in employment and energy security.
The Conservatives' approach to energy security and net zero is clear. Both will be achieved, but done in a way that improves people’s lives instead of destroying their livelihoods. We are on course to reach net zero by 2050 but the reality is this will still include a need of a quarter of our energy needs to be met by oil and gas.
The Labour alternative is quite alarming. In their virtue signalling and pandering to the eco-zealots, they’ve said their next government won’t issue any more licenses for exploration in the North Sea - news that I suspect was well-received in the Kremlin.
We’ve already seen Putin use energy as a weapon of war, which is why it would be madness to make our nation more vulnerable by deliberately relying on foreign imports. It is also environmentally perverse as importing gas has four times the carbon footprint of domestic gas.
Thankfully the grown-ups are in charge. Rishi Sunak has announced plans to unlock hundreds of new oil and gas licences. The sector supports 213,000 British jobs, and the industry pays more than £10 billion in tax a year, providing vital funding for our public services.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
9th August 2023