East Suffolk Council has responded to the Government’s decision to create more oil and gas licences by confirming that it will no longer accept new tenancies from companies committed to its production.
As part of the King’s Speech on Tuesday 7 November, it was confirmed that hundreds of new oil and gas licences will be granted in the UK by the Government.
However, the Council, which owns considerable commercial land in the North Sea port town of Lowestoft as well as business parks in Beccles and Leiston, has stated that green companies will now be “at the front of the queue” for tenancies.
East Suffolk Council has today welcomed leading renewable energy service company RMi Renewables to their flagship PowerPark development in the port of Lowestoft, and Cllr Toby Hammond, who is Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Transport as part of the Green, Liberal Democrat and Independent (GLI) administration, hopes there will be many more.
“This is a hugely retrograde step from the Prime Minister and a Government which is clearly only paying lip service to environmental concerns. We are in the midst of a climate emergency and things must change. We already have a thriving renewable energy sector in East Suffolk, and we are simply not going to allow the Government to take us backwards.
“We see huge potential for more high-quality jobs and prosperity especially servicing offshore wind. We are totally focused on clean, green industry to drive the winds of change in East Suffolk and companies which reflect our own priorities and ambitions will be at the front of the queue for future tenancies.”
RMi Renewables, whose parent company started out in 2005 servicing oil and gas industry within the North Sea, have now almost fully transitioned to working with offshore wind, rail infrastructure and other clean energy businesses.
Scott McMillan, RMi Renewables Director, said:
“Being part of the PowerPark allows RMi Renewables to work collaboratively with our clients, supply chain, colleges as well as the Council to develop infrastructure, which will create new job opportunities in the area. This is a great opportunity to attract the best companies and skilled resources, which in turn will provide greater opportunities to the younger generation who are looking for a long-term career and cleaner future.”
This decisive move by East Suffolk Council also follows recent decisions by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to delay targets on decarbonisation.
Councillors at East Suffolk have written to Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, Rt Hon Claire Coutinho MP stating their opposition to any new oil and gas licenses. Cllr Rachel Smith-Lyte, Cabinet Member for the Environment said:
“Opening up new oil and gas is an entirely reckless thing to do in the face of the climate emergency and our net zero commitments. The people of this country deserve so much better.”