Energy Policy

Already the country has spent about £8 billion on environmental measures, says Claire Perry. “Some of it has been paid for by taxpayers, some of it on consumer bills.” But in the long run she insists everyone will gain. “The good news is that our bills have gone down on average since 2012 because our homes have become more efficient.” She prefers nudges to shoves. “We’re not going to save the world by banning stuff,” she says, but she wants much more “open-mindedness” about innovation. That includes fracking for shale gas. Yesterday the High Court ruled that the process could go ahead in Lancashire, after an attempt to block it failed. Drilling is due to start today. “We need to stop demonising gas . . . The vast majority of us use gas for cooking and for heating. Gas is a relatively easy fossil fuel to decarbonise, it’s much cleaner than coal and oil and we are importing more and more of it. We have a choice – we can either import more and more of it from a market in which the swing producer is Russia or we could explore in a sober, science-led way a resource that’s right beneath our feet.” The environmentalists who campaign against fracking are peddling “wild myths”, she suggests. “I would never call people Luddites but I think there’s a lot of misinformation. If you actually talk to the people who are very focused on this, they want us to go up to 100 per cent renewables now, which is not technically possible because we don’t have storage capacity. I just think – what do they do when they go home at the end of the day? What are they going to cook their kids’ tea on? It’s likely to be gas and do we actually want to be reliant on Mr Putin for our gas supply?”

Times 13th Oct 2018 read more »

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Published: 13 October 2018