Great Yarmouth MP backs energy growth in the region

Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis spelled out the case for energy “to act as a major engine of growth for the entire region” during a rallying speech to leading industry figures.

He then left yesterday’s East of England Energy Group (Eegr) summer conference at the town’s racecourse for a meeting in Westminster to tell minister Greg Clarke about the region’s energy credentials and to highlight the benefits an enterprise zone would bring to Yarmouth and Waveney.

He went into the meeting armed with dozens of letters of support from key players in the region’s energy sector who were at the conference.

During his address to Eegr members, he explained how he was working with a range of groups to push for measures which would help the energy industry.

He focused on the benefits an enterprise zone would bring – from planning arrangements and rate cuts to improved communications infrastructure – and the need to cut back red tape which often prevented smaller companies from growing.

He said: “There can be no doubt that the energy sector has the potential to act as a major engine of growth for the entire region and in Yarmouth this is especially true. I am committed to supporting it as much as possible.”

Eegr chief executive John Best told delegates: “In the past year we have brought focus to the region through one compelling voice, spelling out the fact this area is unique and phenomenally good for energy.

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“Very few areas in the UK, or the world, have our unique assembly of assets for gas, wind and the potential for carbon capture and storage.

“There is a massive opportunity out there and we have heard that from speaker after speaker.”

Keynote speakers included Chris Squires, from EDF, talking about the progress of nuclear new build, Julian Leslie, from National Grid, who emphasised the need for skills training, and Karl John, from energy firm Areva.

Mr John spoke about the region’s burgeoning offshore wind energy industry and the fact that the thousands of wind turbines being built off the East coast would inevitably draw in business locally.

After the speeches, Mr Best said the conference had spelled out the potential for the region to be a “world leading all energy hub”.

He said: “The audience heard from a range of speakers about the business opportunities out there in everything from wind and gas to bio-energy and new build nuclear; and they heard about the global opportunities from a world headquarters based in Yarmouth.”

However, he stressed that to get the jobs, the region would need to be the best as well as being in the right place.

As Eegr celebrated its 10th birthday, he predicted the new decade would be one of delivery.