Climate Change

Richard Benyon Excerpts
Monday 24th June 2019

(1 year, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Caroline Lucas Portrait Caroline Lucas - Hansard
24 Jun 2019, 7:06 p.m.

Ah! I am sorry. I did not see the right hon. Member for Newbury (Richard Benyon).

Richard Benyon (Newbury) (Con) Hansard

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for giving way. I have been present during this debate, but I had to go to another meeting. I hear what she is saying about onshore wind, but does she agree that 7 TWh of onshore wind power were generated in 2010 and that the figure is now 30.4 TWh? It has increased and it can increase more, but she has used this rhetoric time and again to say that it has not increased. It really has, and much more can be achieved.

Caroline Lucas Portrait Caroline Lucas - Hansard
24 Jun 2019, 7:07 p.m.

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his intervention, and I apologise for not hearing him earlier. I was too busy expounding my case. I am glad to take his intervention, but I do not agree with him. Of course, yes, we can say that onshore wind generation has increased from 7 TWh to 30 TWh, or whatever the figures were, but it would have increased an awful lot more if this Government had not effectively blocked its expansion. That is what they have done in recent years. Local communities are being told that they have absolutely every right to block onshore wind, yet they are not being given the right to block fracking. That just seems to be absolutely incoherent, so I rest my case that an awful lot more could have been done on onshore wind, not least because it is now one of the cheapest forms of energy generation, if not the cheapest. We do not have the counterfactual about how much could have been done if we had had an enabling Government for the last few years rather than one who have blocked onshore wind. Immediately post-2010, good work was done, but in the last few years they have been blocking it. The right hon. Gentleman can roll his eyes as often as he likes, but that is the case.

I conclude by saying that this is not the time to be patting ourselves on the back; it is the time for rolling up our sleeves, picking up the fire extinguishers, putting out the fire and treating this as the emergency it undoubtedly is.