Solar Supply Chains

– in the House of Commons at 7:11 pm on 16 April 2024.

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Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.—(Aaron Bell.)

Photo of Alicia Kearns Alicia Kearns Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee, Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee, Chair, Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on the Overseas Territories, Chair, Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on the Overseas Territories 7:13, 16 April 2024

I am grateful to you, Madam Deputy, for granting this important debate.

The solar industry will play an important role in the Government’s net zero plans, with a target of producing 70 GW of solar energy by 2035—a fivefold increase on our current output. It is absolutely right that solar plays its part in increasing our renewable energy output, but the current roll-out lacks national oversight of land use, sufficient consideration of food security issues and the protection of agricultural land, and protections against the widespread exposure of solar supply chains to Uyghur forced labour and genocide.

Photo of Brendan O'Hara Brendan O'Hara Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs)

I accept that it is early in the hon. Lady’s speech, and I thank her for giving way and introducing the debate.

In 2022, I introduced a Bill in Parliament to prohibit the importation of products made by forced labour from Xinjiang. No one in the UK would want to believe that the things that they bought were the product of slave labour. The Bill would have put the onus on manufacturers to prove that they had not been made by slave labour. Does she agree that it would be an important step forward if the Government adopted such a policy?

Photo of Alicia Kearns Alicia Kearns Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee, Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee, Chair, Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on the Overseas Territories, Chair, Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on the Overseas Territories

I could not agree more with the hon. Gentleman—he is absolutely right. I tabled a very similar amendment to the Energy Bill last year, which I will touch on later.

In 2021, Sheffield Hallam University published a report, “In Broad Daylight: Uyghur Forced Labour and Global Solar Supply Chains”. It summarised the situation as follows:

“Many indigenous workers are unable to refuse or walk away from these jobs, and thus the programmes are tantamount to forcible transfer of populations and enslavement.”

The university’s second report, “Over-Exposed”, went further, creating a ranking system for solar companies based on exposure to Uyghur slave labour, which I will come to later in more detail. The two reports were funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, yet their findings do not been appear to have been enacted.

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

I commend the hon. Lady for bringing forward the debate. We spoke earlier today. She always leads from the front and I congratulate her on doing that on this important issue, which hon. Members may not know much about. Does she agree that any hint of forced labour means this supply chain should not ever have Government backing and funding? We must hold ourselves to the highest standard on matters of forced labour in every supply chain that may be centrally funded.

Photo of Alicia Kearns Alicia Kearns Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee, Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee, Chair, Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on the Overseas Territories, Chair, Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on the Overseas Territories

It is no surprise that the hon. Gentleman wishes to speak in this debate because he always brings compassion, heart and a real care for human rights. He is right that if green energy is to make up such a substantial part of our future energy grid, we must not tolerate slave labour within it.

As I mentioned in response to my lovely Scots nationalist friend, Brendan O’Hara, I tabled an amendment to try to ensure that any solar company wishing to build in this country had to make clear its supply chain was free of Uyghur forced labour. The Government were not willing to support the amendment, but I was assured they would work with me on the issue. I wish to take the opportunity to thank the many Members of the House who backed that effort. The Foreign Affairs Committee has undertaken its own inquiry into exposure to Uyghur slave labour, as a follow up to its inquiry into the genocide in Xinjiang. I have raised the matter in countless other meetings and debates, yet we still see no action as dirty solar continues to flood the market and concrete over our fields and rooftops, unchecked and unaccountable.

That is why last month 43 Members of this House and 32 human rights organisations sent a joint statement to the Government requesting three simple policies that could be enacted to insulate the UK solar market from Uyghur forced labour. The first was to introduce import controls on high-risk industries to insulate our market. It is not unreasonable or too onerous to expect solar developers and manufacturers to demonstrate that their supply chains are clean of slave labour before not only operating but profiting in the UK. The second request was targeted sanctions to ban the worst-offending companies so they cannot operate in the UK, and the third was complementary measures to diversify solar supply chains away from Xinjiang and Uyghur forced labour. By adopting these policies, the Government could clean up the UK’s solar industry and ensure our green transition does not come off the back of slavery and genocide.

Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Labour, Manchester, Gorton

I congratulate the hon. Member on bringing this important subject before the House. The United States and the European Union are passing laws to ban solar products made by Uyghur slave labour in Xinjiang, which will leave the UK with an abundance of morally compromised solar panels. Does she agree that the fight against forced labour should be a collective responsibility? If so, does she agree that means the UK Government must work for a clean energy transition, without being complicit in Uyghur forced labour?

Photo of Alicia Kearns Alicia Kearns Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee, Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee, Chair, Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on the Overseas Territories, Chair, Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on the Overseas Territories

The hon. Gentleman is correct. The UK is risking becoming a global outlier, because our international partners have taken action. As he says, the USA passed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act in 2021. The EU is in the process of passing legislation to block the import of goods made with forced labour. That means that we are becoming a dumping ground for these solar panels.

Since June 2022, the US has seized thousands of shipments of solar materials with links to Xinjiang, but we are yet to seize or block a single import. The US’s import controls are working, with the second Sheffield Hallam report showing that many companies have started creating new supply chains for exports to the US that are clean. Without our own import controls, the UK will continue to welcome dirty solar.

The Sheffield Hallam report also offers an assessment of the exposure of the largest solar companies to forced labour. While the Chinese Communist party seeks to cover up the genocide it is committing in Xinjiang by banning independent audits and investigations, and hiring public relations firms that are issuing lies on a daily basis, the researchers were able to use open-source research to rank the culpability of companies on a scale from “none” to “very high”.

Let us have a look at some of those companies. JA Solar has very high exposure to Uyghur forced labour, yet has continually ranked as the biggest supplier of solar modules to the UK; Jinko Solar has very high exposure, and its panels are widely available to buy in the UK; Longi Solar has very high exposure, and its panels are widely available to buy; Qcells has very high exposure, and its panels are widely available to buy; REC Group TwinPeak 4 has very high exposure, and, again, its panels are widely available to buy; Tongwei Solar has high exposure and is partnered with the UK company Polysolar to distribute its panels nationally; Trina Solar has very high exposure and a UK office in Derby; and, finally, that brings me on to Canadian Solar, which is behind the proposed 2,000-acre Mallard Pass solar plant in Rutland and Lincolnshire.

I wish to put this very clearly on the record: anyone who wishes to look at my history in this place will know that I have raised issues around the genocide against the Uyghurs since 2016, long before I came to this House, and specifically around slave labour in supply chains, long before this proposal came to my constituency. Unfortunately, I am now in a situation where Rutland faces having Uyghur blood labour on our beautiful green land, and I will not accept it.

Canadian Solar’s application to build Mallard Pass, which would classify as a nationally significant infrastructure project due to its enormous size of 2,100 acres, is currently with the Secretary of State, who will decide whether to grant planning permission. I have lost track of the number of times that I have raised the issue of Canadian Solar—whether it be at the Foreign Affairs Committee, in this place or in Westminster Hall.

People say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and again and expecting different results, but I would argue that, in this case, insanity would be allowing a company so linked to the oppression and genocide of the Uyghur people to build key energy infrastructure in our country. The name Canadian Solar is an attempt at what I call “maple-washing” to distract from the true origins and operations of the company. As of December 2022, 86% of its annual solar module manufacturing capacity was in China; 78% of its solar cell manufacturing capacity was in China; 100% of its annual wafer and ingot manufacturing capacity was in China; and 85% of its employees were based in China. Canadian Solar also had letters of credit worth $150 million and short-term notes worth $1.4 billion with Chinese banks.

Although Canadian Solar’s operations in China are not in themselves a concern, they offer some context as to why the company’s supply chains are so intimately linked with human rights abuses in Xinjiang. In 2021, four shipments of solar panels from Canadian Solar were seized by the US Government. Why? Because of their links with slave labour from the Uyghur Xinjiang regions. Canadian Solar previously operated a solar plant in the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps’ third division city of Tumxuk. The XPCC is a Chinese Communist party-controlled paramilitary organisation in Xinjiang heavily implicated in the Uyghur genocide. In fact, four of its senior officials were sanctioned by the UK in 2021. According to the Sheffield Hallam report, Canadian Solar likely benefits from this relationship with the XPCC. It also has a joint venture with GCL-Poly, one of the largest suppliers of polysilicon. GCL-Poly was, yet again, sanctioned by the US. Why? It was for

“participating in the practice of, accepting, or utilising forced labour in Xinjiang and contributing to human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other minority groups in Xinjiang.”

After I launched my campaign to expose Canadian Solar, it removed all references to its partnership with GCL-Poly from its website, but, of course, archived forms and press reports mean that we still have the evidence of it.

As of December 2021, Canadian Solar’s primary suppliers were Longi Green Energy, Hongyuan New Material and Tongwei Solar—all companies with subsidiaries operating in Xinjiang with links to Uyghur forced labour. I have provided full written briefs on each company’s links to forced labour to the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero in the past.

In June 2022, Canadian Solar’s own shareholders attempted to deselect several board members. Why? It was because of their inaction over forced labour in the company’s supply chains. In December 2022, the US Commerce Department found Canadian Solar guilty of tariff dodging. This means that it took its solar panels from China to Thailand, tried to disguise them and then shipped them to the US, but it was caught out.

Sadly, the attitude of the company is best discerned by a leaked email from chief financial officer Chang, who faulted human rights organisations for their work when he said that they

“mistakenly regard any employment of Uyghurs as forced labour, which has caused severe harm to the Uyghurs we all love.”

There you have it, Madam Deputy Speaker. According to Canadian Solar’s senior management, the responsibility for the genocide and the use of slave labour lies not with the Chinese Communist party and the companies which use its labour for profit, but with the brave non-governmental organisations and human rights groups that dared to highlight the Uyghurs’ plight.

All the evidence is there. I have raised it countless times, so I want to ask this of the Minister directly: will we now change the rules for nationally significant infrastructure projects so that links to forced labour are finally considered? I do not believe there is any other form of procurement in this country, particularly public sector procurement or procurement for the national good, where we do not take forced labour into consideration. Will the Government act against blood labour-made products polluting our shores? If not, why not?

I want to pre-empt—rather cheekily—a point that I think the Minister might raise: the solar stewardship initiative. Anyone who has followed my interventions will know that I have been sceptical of an industry-led solution to this problem. The solar stewardship initiative led by Solar Energy UK was published last September. Its environmental, social and governance document does not mention Uyghur forced labour a single time, despite that mechanism being set up to prove that there is no slave labour within supply chains. In fact, Solar Energy UK devotes only one short paragraph to forced labour, but does not set out how it will be identified in supply chains or any consequences for approved companies that are found to benefit from it.

If we go back to the list of companies that I read out—I recognise that it was long, Madam Deputy Speaker—both JA Solar and Jinko Solar, which are ranked as having very high exposure to forced labour, are already certified SSI members. Apparently there is no problem with slave labour in their chains, despite the Foreign Office saying that there is. I was very disappointed that Solar Energy UK refused, when I met its chief executive, to remove Canadian Solar from the industry lobby group, despite the overwhelming evidence against it. I fear that we will now see a similar attitude from Solar Energy UK created in conjunction with Solar Europe. It seems illogical to allow an industry so tainted by forced labour to be allowed to create its own certification programme with zero external oversight. Will the Minister please set out what active mechanisms will exist to examine the supply chains of SSI certified members, and what the consequences will be for those found to benefit from Uyghur forced labour in their supply chains? Can he confirm that he is confident that the SSI will clean up the UK solar market of its connections to Uyghur forced labour?

Although I believe that any solar company with links to Uyghur forced labour should be banned from operating on the UK as a matter of principle, it is also worth investigating what Chinese supply chains mean in practice for our environment and going green. The process of mining for and manufacturing solar panels in China relies heavily on coal power. Professor David Rogers, an expert in ecology at the University of Oxford, estimates that because of those coal-dependent supply chains, solar energy produces three units of carbon for every one unit with wind energy. Of other renewable forms of energy, only biomass has a larger carbon footprint than solar. In a study by the World Bank comparing 240 countries, the UK was found to have the second lowest potential for solar photovoltaic potential—only Ireland was less suited to solar energy. That explains why I am so pale—there is not much sunshine in my English-Irish heritage. [Interruption.] Maybe I should talk about Scotland next, but I think I will move swiftly on.

Solar installations in the UK generate maximum power for an average of 2.6 hours a day, falling to less than one hour a day in winter. Solar plants produce energy when we least need it—during hot and sunny periods—but contribute next to nothing during peaks in demand in winter, when it is dark and cold. Battery storage is carbon intensive and can extend solar power supplies by only 2 hours a day, and not in between seasons. A 140-acre solar plant can provide enough electricity for roughly 9,000 homes, while just one wind turbine in the North sea can power 16,000 homes.

We are not blessed with abundant sunshine—I am living proof—but we have plenty of wind and the Celtic sea, so why do the Government continue to sacrifice green-belt and agriculturally rich land for inefficient, carbon-intensive solar, made with Uyghur slave labour, when we should invest in wind energy, a technology that the UK leads in? We should be so proud of our record on wind—we have achieved enormous things. I pay tribute to my hon. Friend Dr Johnson for securing a Westminster Hall debate on solar plants on Thursday. I hope that the Minister will note how many debates are being held on this issue, and I hope that Members’ concerns are considered significant.

Another issue that has increasingly been raised is the need to protect our best and most versatile agricultural land. In responding to a written question that I submitted in February, the Minister confirmed that DESNZ is not currently monitoring what types of land or how much land is being used for solar developments across our country, and has no plans to do so. There are over 400 farms in my constituency, so that is deeply concerning. How is the Department able to answer Members’ questions about how much BMV land is being lost if the Government themselves are not recording it? However, I have had a conversation with the Minister for Food, Farming and Fisheries, and he gave me hope that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is recording that information.

The Mallard Pass solar plant alone would see 1,000 acres of grade 1 BMV land lost—not grades 2 or 3 but grade 1—yet that might not even be recorded or noticed by the Government. Although the total amount of UK land used for solar might be small, the type of land being lost is key. Crops and solar like the same thing: flat, sunny landscapes. It is therefore no surprise that over 50% of all solar applications in this country are in Rutland and Lincolnshire. Two counties that are the breadbasket of the UK are now being concreted over with solar panels, so at a time of global food insecurity when 46% of our food is imported, does the Minister agree that food security should be a Government priority, and will he instruct his officials to begin to monitor how much solar is being built, what type, and in what areas? I am relieved that the farming Secretary will bring forward a national land strategy, which is something else I have been campaigning for. I hope that strategy will better protect BMV land.

Finally, I previously met the Government to discuss compensation schemes for solar, so will the Minister please provide an update on when we can expect a new industry standard for solar compensation? The wind energy industry came together, which was absolutely right—it put forward a proposal that is now standard throughout the country—yet in Rutland, for example, we were offered something like £100,000 or £400,000 to compensate us for the next 40 years of losing 2,100 acres of good-quality arable land, with one of our villages, Essendine, 96% surrounded by solar.

The evidence of Uyghur forced labour in the solar industry supply chain is abundant. It is laid out in Foreign Office-funded reports, in the evidence collected by the Foreign Affairs Committee, in sanctions imposed by the US Government and in the documents of the offending companies themselves. Over the past four years, I have done all I can to shine a light on that evidence, and now, with the support of 42 Members of this House and 32 human rights organisations, I have asked for three simple policies to bring the UK in line with our international partners so that we do not become a dumping ground and can finally clear up the solar industry. The first policy is to introduce import controls; the second is to sanction the worst companies; and the third is to enact complementary measures to diversify. Solar should be part of the final make-up of our energy platform, but it must be on buildings, on brownfield and on grade 4 land. I also ask the Minister to commit to reaching out to his counterparts in the US and EU to discuss their Uyghur forced labour import controls and how we can learn from them.

Our transition to net zero is gathering pace, and we must not let up. I am so proud that we have decarbonised faster than any other major Government—what we have done is an incredible achievement—but we cannot go green off the back of slavery, genocide and blood labour. Our green and pleasant land is being tainted by solar panels produced with that Uyghur blood labour, and it is the responsibility of all of us and the Government to prevent it. I see it as a new form of great injustice that we will be going green off the backs of solar panels made in dirty circumstances in China, because we do not see how they are made—not least how they harm the environment where they are made, but also the slave labour that we then benefit from in our country. There is a really concerning historical parallel there.

We have the information, we have the solution, and now all we need is some action: work with our allies, fall in line with international standards and do what we all know is the right thing. We refuse to allow the Uyghur genocide to continue, yet somehow play a role in it. I know the Minister deeply cares about slave labour—he spoke out frequently on these issues when he was a Back Bencher—and is very aware of the threat from the Chinese Communist party and the way in which it treats Uyghur activists and all those living in Xinjiang. I thank him for the fact that his door is always open to me, and that he always takes the time to discuss these issues with me, but we do need to take action and we need to do so now.

Photo of Andrew Bowie Andrew Bowie Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero) 7:32, 16 April 2024

I thank my hon. Friend Alicia Kearns—she is a friend—for securing an incredibly important debate. I absolutely recognise her dedication to this serious issue and her eagerness to tackle it, noting her recent joint letter to the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, alongside the Foreign Secretary and the Secretary of State for Business and Trade.

Let me be very clear and get right to the issue: UK businesses and solar developers should not countenance receiving solar panels from companies that may be linked to forced labour. This Government have been very clear on our position regarding the abhorrent practice of forced labour, and our expectation that companies will do everything in their power to remove any instances of forced labour from their supply chains.

That is why it was this Conservative Government who introduced new guidance on the risks of doing business in Xinjiang, who enhanced export controls, and who announced the introduction of financial penalties for those who fail to report as required under the Modern Slavery Act 2015. It was this Government who led the charge, announcing in September 2020 a requirement that large businesses and public bodies report on specific areas within their modern slavery statements, including their due diligence processes in relation to modern slavery. Additionally, it was this Government who recently passed the Procurement Act 2023, enabling public sector contracting authorities to reject bids from suppliers that are known to use forced labour themselves, or anywhere in their supply chain, and terminate contracts with such suppliers.

However, this remains a complex issue, and my hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Melton is absolutely right: we must continue to review how we can best tackle forced labour in supply chains. I can promise her that we have not ruled out taking further and additional measures in the future. Across every part of Government, not just in the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, we are continuing to engage and work with our international partners to understand the impact of measures to combat forced labour around the world.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has a strong record of holding countries to account for instances of forced labour. The Government have led international efforts to make China accountable for its human rights violations in Xinjiang. We were the first country to lead a joint statement on China’s human rights record in Xinjiang at the UN, and our leadership has sustained pressure on China to change its behaviour. In October 2023, the UK led another joint statement on Xinjiang at the UN, and at China’s universal periodic review in January the UK urged China to cease the persecution of Uyghurs and allow them genuine freedom of religion or belief and cultural expression without fear of surveillance, torture, forced labour or sexual violence. We have also imposed sanctions and consistently raised China’s human rights violations with the Chinese authorities at the highest levels. The Foreign Secretary last did so with China’s Foreign Minister in February.

On the solar sector in general and the presence of forced labour in solar supply chains, I should first set out the importance of solar energy as a key part of the Government’s strategy for net zero, energy independence and growth. As my hon. Friend said, we are aiming for 70 GW of solar capacity by 2035. The UK has huge potential for solar power, which is a cheap, versatile and effective technology that is a key part of the Government’s strategy for net zero, energy independence and clean growth. It is part of our wider energy mix, and she was absolutely right to reference our strong leadership in offshore wind. We have the first to the fifth largest offshore wind farms in the world, and we are investing in new technologies and, indeed, in our new nuclear capacity, so this is part of a wider mix to get to our net zero future.

On solar, I recently co-chaired the final meeting of the solar taskforce, alongside Solar Energy UK, at 10 Downing Street. In fact, in the solar taskforce—and thanks to the pressure from my hon. Friend—we established a specific sub-group to consider the wide-ranging actions needed to develop solar supply chains that are resilient, sustainable, innovative and free from forced labour. This work will inform the Government’s solar road map, due to be published in the next few months, which will set out the trajectory and actions needed to deploy up to 70 GW by 2035.

One of the main topics of discussion at the solar taskforce was the solar stewardship initiative, which my hon. Friend mentioned. It is a solar supply chain assurance scheme developed, piloted, audited and launched by the UK’s main trade association, Solar Energy UK, working alongside its European counterpart, SolarPower Europe. In fact, the UK Government co-sponsored the development and publication of Action Sustainability’s “Addressing Modern Slavery and Labour Exploitation in Solar PV Supply Chains Procurement Guidance”, to provide further tools to industry to ensure the responsible sourcing of solar panels.

I have been largely pleased to see the response from the industry following our work on this issue, and I am delighted to highlight that, on 28 March, 55 companies and organisations across the solar sector signed a supply chain statement highlighting their commitment to ensuring that the solar sector is free from any human rights abuses, including forced labour, anywhere in the global supply chain. Resilient, sustainable and innovative supply chains are essential to support the significant increases in solar deployment needed to deliver the UK’s ambition for 70 GW of solar capacity by 2035.

Photo of Alicia Kearns Alicia Kearns Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee, Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee, Chair, Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on the Overseas Territories, Chair, Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on the Overseas Territories

I met the chief executive of Solar Energy UK and asked him, “What happens if one of the companies that signs up to your solar stewardship scheme isn’t keeping itself free of slave labour? What will you do?” He did not have an answer for me, and I said, “Well, will you kick them out? Will you exclude them?” He said, “We don’t have a mechanism to do that.” So have things changed in that there is now a mechanism to exclude? How are we making sure that it is actually being audited? The chief executive said that Solar Energy UK is taking a company’s word for it, when one signs up, that it is free from slave labour. Companies are not having to provide any evidence that they are free of slave labour when they sign up for the initiative.

Photo of Andrew Bowie Andrew Bowie Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)

On my hon. Friend’s latter point, there will be more detail on exactly how the auditing process will proceed when we publish the solar road map in the next few months. On her former point, I must be absolutely clear from this Dispatch Box that if a company is engaging in buying pieces of equipment that they knowingly know have been developed using slave labour in Xinjiang, or indeed anywhere else in the world, they should be held to account and they absolutely should not be allowed to remain a part of the initiative. That is absolutely the view of the Department, this Government and, indeed, the wider industry.

The Government already encourage developers to grow sustainable supply chains through the supply chain plan process included in the contract for difference scheme for projects over 300 MW.

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

The Minister referred to 55 companies, and I presume they include companies from Northern Ireland. It is important that we have a policy that affects all of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland so they are all accountable.

Photo of Andrew Bowie Andrew Bowie Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)

I assure the hon. Gentleman that what we are speaking about and the industry initiatives that I am laying out cover every part of our United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and if any companies are involved in Northern Ireland, they will of course be covered by the schemes and initiatives and, indeed, by the legislation we have passed to ensure that we get to the root cause and remove slave labour from the supply chain.

The UK has the scope to grow industries that produce innovative solar technology while also crystallising our position as world leaders in cutting-edge solar research and development. In doing so we can create new green jobs and provide levelling-up and significant export opportunities while building up UK capability and resilience and increasing energy security by reducing our reliance on imports. Meanwhile, we support our allies’ efforts to increase and accelerate the diversification of solar supply chains by reshoring manufacturing. We continue to work with countries including the US, Canada and Germany to ensure that access to solar supply chains remains resilient.

My hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Melton referred to the situation of solar on agricultural land. The Government recognise that in some instances solar projects can affect the local environment. It is important that the Government can strike the right balance between such considerations and securing a clean, green energy system for the future. That is why the planning system is designed to take account of such issues. However, I am aware of the number of issues arising from deployments and planned applications, and I am engaging on the issue with many colleagues and their communities, discussing with them what we can do to ensure that community concerns are listened to.

I again thank my hon. Friend for bringing forward this important issue, and look forward to continuing to engage with her on it.

Question put and agreed to.

House adjourned.