Jess Asato and Keir Cozens
With the right political leadership and the right investment, our coastal communities can provide the quality jobs of the future – and power Labour’s ambition for our country.
Earlier this month we heard the devastating news that there would be no further offshore wind energy projects this year due to an utter failure by the Government to listen to the energy sector. Add to that Rishi Sunak’s watering down of our commitments to net zero and we are looking at a disaster for our communities in the East of England. This Conservative government has totally missed the mark when it comes to renewable energy. Their dither and delay approach is not only having dire consequences for the opportunities for local people, but also on the impact on our legally binding international agreements to cut emissions.
There are so many successful projects right under their noses along the coast in the East of England, like Scroby Sands in Great Yarmouth and East Anglia One just off Lowestoft. We know that the East of England has the capacity to be the energy powerhouse for the UK with its plentiful wind, and skills base. These projects not only provide the quality jobs of the future, they will be crucial to deliver the just transition from oil and gas into green energy careers through training and re-skilling workers.
To give a small illustration of just how little the Conservatives are delivering here, we need to add an average of 4.5GW each year, for the next 8 years, to reach the target of 50GW – a target set by the government themselves. But what have they achieved in 2023? 0. None. Nothing. We have not added a single gigawatt of offshore wind all year. Even the projects which have had the go-ahead such as Vattenfall’s windfarm off the North Norfolk coast has been halted due to soaring costs. We cannot carry on like this.
But this is where Labour will step in. Our coastal communities are crying out for the opportunity to power Labour’s plans, and power the country. Our mission to make Britain a clean energy superpower, will both deliver better jobs for our coastal communities, us help to slash energy bills, easing the burden on families who have been feeling the pinch these last 13 years and provide energy security, so we aren’t bound to the Putin’s of this world. To not invest here, would be reckless and irresponsible.
The Office for Budget Responsibility has already stated that not getting this right could have incredibly damaging consequences for our national debt. With Labour’s plan, our coastal communities can be at the very forefront of these cutting-edge jobs. Other countries are racing ahead, and if we act now, we can unlock a trillion pound market that British workers can be part of.
We might have missed the starting gun with Tories, but we can still win the race. A Labour government that works with local communities to get these projects right, including pay-back for communities that could be disrupted by construction, can show people that we can get this right — for everyone. With the right political leadership and the right investment, our coastal communities can provide the quality jobs of the future – and power Labour’s ambition for our country.