Agenda item

Summary of Energy White Paper, December 2020


The Senior Consultant introduced the report and stated that it summarised a government white paper, which was a tool for discussing future potential legislation, and was released on 14 December 2020. He explained that it outlined the Prime Minister’s plan for a green COVID-19 recovery, and was split into four parts: transforming energy supply; reforming energy supply; fairer deals for energy consumers; and a green pandemic recovery. He explained that the government wished to decrease carbon emissions by 230million tonnes, as well as increasing the number of green jobs available by 220,000. The Senior Consultant highlighted page two of the report which outlined what support would be available for the roll out of electric vehicle charging, including a £2.8billion government funding package, which could be used on the LTC. He stated that this was the only proposal which might directly affected the LTC, but other proposals could affect the development of Thurrock’s Local Plan. He gave the examples of all new homes built not using gas power by 2025; new homes having zero carbon emissions; and increasing the clean energy supply across the country.

The Chair highlighted that this White Paper did not directly affect the LTC, but questioned if new homes could be connected to hydrogen gas and if the LTC could affect future hydrogen grid connections. The Senior Consultant replied that the government was mainly focusing on nuclear and off-shore wind for the majority of its future clean energy supply, but hydrogen power was emission free and the government did want to develop approximately 5 gigawatts of hydrogen power by 2030. He stated that this was more likely to be used for housing infrastructure than for cars.

Councillor Spillman felt it was good to see the pace of change regarding environmental concerns, including the proposed removal of all gas boilers. The TCAG Representative questioned if the consultation which had been undertaken regarding the power plant in East Tilbury would have a conflict with the LTC. She added that electric vehicles still emitted PM2.5 from brakes and tyres, which she felt was dangerous for local residents as it could enter people’s bloodstreams. She added that the electricity needed to power electric vehicles was still largely produced from fossil fuels and asked the Task Force to advocate for the government adoption of WHO guidelines regarding PM2.5. Councillor Allen echoed the TCAG Representatives comments regarding PM2.5 and electric vehicles, as he agreed that they still had a carbon footprint. He felt that the government should focus on hydrogen energy, which had no emissions. The TCAG Representative added that she felt concerned regarding the Environmental Statement, which HE would submit and the air quality data which could be contained within the report. She highlighted the work of the Transport Action Network, who were currently undertaking a legal challenge regarding RIS2 and the National Policy Statement for National Networks (NPSNN), so that it was reviewed and updated. Councillor Muldowney questioned if the Transport Action Network could present to the Task Force. The Chair replied that March’s meeting would be busy, but would consider it for later in the year.

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