I want to address some of the issues and set out the progress of the coalition and Conservative governments on Climate Change. I am proud to have voted for the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The UK has cut emissions by more than 25 per cent since 2010. This is by far the best rate of reduction among the G20 countries who managed to reduce their overall emissions. Britain has now legislated to for net carbon zero by 2050 to ensure that our contribution to climate change ends.
The Government has invested more than £52 billion of taxpayer money in renewable energy in the UK since 2010. Last year, renewables generated a record amount of electricity, generating 37.1% of Britain's electricity in 2018 Q4, up from 6.1% in 2010.
There is a broad public mandate for addressing climate change and promoting renewable energy sources. The Government has made the historic commitment to close all coal-fired power stations in the UK by 2025. Coal consumption has declined for seven straight years, and the Government intends to see it drop even further. In June, Britain went more than 18 days without using coal to generate electricity - the longest run since 1882. Locally, you will be aware that I led the campaign against the Whittonstall and Halton Lea Gate open cast coal mines, and have strongly supported the latest plans for a new open cast coal mine at Dewley Hill.
The UK remains the premier destination for renewable energy investment. As shown in the graph below, more than 61% of investors would consider investing in the UK, higher than any other G20 country.
Key to the Government’s own investments in the renewable sector is the deal coordinated with the wind turbine industry. In 2017, only 6.2% of the UK’s power needs were generated by wind power. This new agreement aims to source 30% of all UK energy from offshore wind by 2030. The Government has pledged a £250 million industry investment, with a new requirement for 60% of all components being sourced from within the UK. Almost 20,000 construction jobs will be created in the North East as part of this initiative.
In the words of Energy Minister Claire Perry, “This new Sector Deal will drive a surge in the clean, green offshore wind revolution that is powering homes and businesses across the UK, bringing investment into coastal communities and ensuring we maintain our position as global leaders in this growing sector.”
Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond’s 2019 Spring Statement has once more demonstrated the Government’s commitment to environmental action. Included in the Spring Statement are measures that create new emissions and fuel regulations for new-built homes, require airlines to offer carbon offsetting options for passengers, and introduce new energy efficiency schemes for small businesses.
Most important of all is the Government’s new biodiversity requirement plan for the UK and its overseas territories. Under the plan, developers will have to demonstrate that their construction plans would enhance the UK’s biodiversity and protect natural habitats. If a net gain in biodiversity is not achievable on site, developers would have to directly fund conservation efforts elsewhere, such as tree planting or wildlife protection.
I am also pleased to see that overall renewable energy use in the UK has gone up year on year since 2010, with this past year seeing the biggest increase in usage on record.
The Chancellor has indicated that the enthusiasm of the young people striking has not gone unnoticed. These measures outlined in the Spring Statement should remind them that the Government takes their concerns seriously, and is doing far more on this issue than any previous government ever has.