Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 21 January 2016


The falling price of oil is a welcome relief to motorists, even if the petroleum companies have been slow to pass on the benefits. But with Iranian crude now coming into the market after the recent lifting of sanctions, prices should stay low for some time.

This is devastating news for the oil industry including British activity in the North Sea. If Scotland had voted for independence they would by now be staring down the barrel of a very unattractive gun!

We have made good progress with renewable energy in recent years. We had a target of 15% of our electricity supply provided by green energy by 2020, but we are up to 19% already and rising. Of course we are still playing catch up with Germany and Scandinavian countries which started down this path a few decades before us.

Even after the reduced Feed-in Tariffs, recently announced, it is still worthwhile investing in solar panels on your roof. The cost of panels has fallen dramatically since they first appeared on the scene, their efficiency increasing year after year. I hope that we will now see a greater focus on micro-generation and not too many more massive solar panel farms and on-shore wind turbines which do nothing for our rural landscape. It is also important to ensure that the costs of renewable energy, passed onto consumers via the green levy, are not unaffordable.

As we march inexorably towards renewable energy being our main provider by the middle of this century, as we comply with the commitments we have given at the Paris Accord, we have to keep the lights on in the meantime.

Currently we import energy from other countries including Russia and Nigeria – not ideal. Government has to deliver energy security. Nobody would thank us if the hospitals could not function or elderly people could not heat their homes.

That is why we are renewing the Hinkley Point nuclear power station and why fracking is so necessary, especially once oil prices start to rise again as they surely will. Although this does not affect us in West Devon as there are no gas reserves beneath our feet, I see no reason why we should not exploit these reserves, provided it can be done safely. From the reading I have done on this subject, I am convinced that fracking, strictly regulated, is safe and essential.

Fracking has a huge part to play in keeping the UK connected.

posted by Gary @ 09:31