Future of energy in Yorkshire rising up the election agenda

THE MAJOR parties are hoping to convince Yorkshire voters their pledges to tackle the cost of energy bills and invest in new power generation will help swing their vote on May 7.

Energy is a key issue in the election

Energy was identified as a key issue in A Manifesto for Yorkshire, published by The Yorkshire Post to ensure this region’s challenges are addressed in the election campaign.

The manifesto calls for the Government which takes power next month to support the Humber’s ambition to become the Silicon Valley of the offshore wind industry

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It also makes the case for backing Yorkshire’s ambitions on carbon capture and storage technology and for clear regulation for the controversial mining method fracking.

Caroline Flint, Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary who is also defending the Don Valley seat at the election, said: “In Yorkshire today, energy bills are one of the main reasons people are finding it harder to make ends meet, with bills rising £300 since David Cameron became Prime Minister.

“Labour has a better plan. We will freeze energy bills until 2017, saving the average household £120, and will give the regulator the power to cut bills this winter.

“During the freeze, we will reset the market so that it delivers a better deal for bill payers, and tackle the scandal of cold homes with a plan to insulate 5 million homes in 10 years.

“And we will decarbonise our energy supply and support jobs and investment in clean energy, enabling Yorkshire to become a leader for renewables and essential carbon capture and storage technology.”

The next Government will have to take major decisions on how the country’s energy needs will be met in the decades to come.

A Conservative spokesman said: “A secure energy supply is vital to day-to-day life, as well as our economy, and bills are a major cost for families and businesses alike.

“Yet under Labour, problems in the energy market were allowed to build, with bills rising and all our future energy supplies put at risk.

“However, we are offering necessary changes to fix this: cutting the green taxes that add to bills, increasing provider competition so people can get better deals, forcing energy companies to give people the cheapest tariff, helping families make homes more efficient, and making the investment needed in our energy supply.

“These realistic policies offer genuine help for hardworking families, securing Britain’s energy future, while also helping to bring energy bills down. That way, families can have more confidence in the deal they are getting for their energy and feel more financially secure.”

The Liberal Democrats have set out proposals to double the amount of renewable electricity generated in the UK by 2020 and to make Britain zero-carbon by 2050.

The party also wants to set up an Office for Accelerated Low Carbon Innovation to speed up the development of green technology including carbon capture and storage.

The UK Independence Party wants to scrap climate change legislation and abolish Government support for wind farms and solar panels.

The party also supports the extraction of shale gas through fracking “with proper safeguards for the local environment”.

The Green Party is committed to “fossil free, affordable energy” and wants to work with other countries to tackle climate change.

It also wants to phase out fossil fuels and nuclear power and invest in renewable energy generation.