Environment and Climate Change

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:17 pm on 1st May 2019.

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Photo of Trudy Harrison Trudy Harrison Conservative, Copeland 5:17 pm, 1st May 2019

It will come as no surprise to anyone in the House that I shall advocate nuclear as the most game-changing, transformative way in which to tackle the climate problem and significantly—seriously—reduce our carbon emissions. There is, quite simply, no alternative. Nuclear is unparalleled. It is safe, proven and efficient technology. Its capability to generate clean energy 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for 60 years is incredible.

Rolling out the Government’s third-generation nuclear reactors would generate more than 18 GW of clean, safe, low-carbon energy, while also creating thousands of jobs, apprenticeships and training places and improving local communities. I speak with some experience, having lived in a nuclear community for 43 years and having worked in the industry. Because the last Labour Government failed to invest in new nuclear, the last power station to be built was Sizewell B. Our current power stations are coming to the end of their long-serving lives, which means that our carbon emissions will soar, as they have in Germany and Japan. If Germany had invested the same amount that it invested in renewables—$580 billion—in nuclear, it would now have zero carbon emissions.

This Conservative Government are rightly shouting loudly and proudly, having celebrated 90 of the cleanest hours last Easter, and 2018 was the cleanest, greenest year ever in the United Kingdom. Renewables are great, but they are geographically limiting, and intermittent by their very nature. Last June, wind turbines were operating at only 4% of their potential. This Government are the first to take decarbonisation seriously, with Hinkley Point C now under construction. I welcome with great anticipation the small modular reactor competition, the UK consortium, and advanced modular reactors, which will enable us to reduce waste in the industry. I also welcome the energy White Paper and the regulated asset-based financial model, which I very much hope will ensure that we can reduce the cost of new nuclear as well.

The Leader of the Opposition has consistently argued against nuclear power. He voted against Sizewell B and against Hinkley Point C; he has campaigned against nuclear his entire working life.

The evidence is clear: denuclearisation increases carbon emissions. Countries around the world are now realising this, and I know this Government are taking decarbonisation seriously.