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Gloucestershire Business News

Could a new windfarm be built at Hempsted?

Two major decisions on renewables this week have forced a re-think for those who see Boris Johnson's Government as "carbon burning Dad's Army Brexiteers".

Those are the words of the MP for Gloucester, Richard Graham, who has penned an article declaring as much for the website covering all things Westminster, Politicshome.com.

Mr Graham, who could at least be described as being a dad and Brexiteer, was hitting back against those attempting to besmirch the Government's name, drawing attention to its decision to allow new on-shore windfarms to be built where communities support them.

Four years ago ministers scrapped support for such new projects, but that decision has now been reversed and Mr Graham is pleased. He also highlights serious talk of a third funding pot for new developing technologies which could include wave and tidal power.

If Mr Graham had his way there would be a complete block on wind farms in designated landscapes, such as areas of outstanding natural beauty, ruling out swathes of Gloucestershire, but a site on the outskirts of Gloucester could have potential he suggests.

"The Hempsted Recycling Centre in Gloucester, on a hill overlooking the River Severn and almost entirely invisible to all, onshore wind could be a very attractive and popular solution.

"The government is right not to plan centrally, but to allow each constituency and council to come up with their own ideas and their own planning permission," said Mr Graham.

For the Gloucester MP grappling with how best the nation could embrace and make the most of alternative forms of energy made not just good sense for its climate ambitions, but good economic sense.

"As onshore wind and solar are some of the cheapest forms of electricity generation, this new auction could help households struggling with the cost of living or living in fuel poverty.

"Similarly, businesses who face competitive pressures from companies overseas stand to benefit from the lower energy costs.

"The potential for a green industrial revolution in the UK is considerable. The onshore wind and solar supply chains already provide 12,000 jobs and £140 million in exports.

"A new auction will not only safeguard those jobs, but also create thousands more," said Mr Graham.

He added: "So the government can both bring down energy prices while boosting total green energy production and capacity. For those who wanted to paint this government as a bunch of carbon burning Dad's Army Brexiteers, the caricature needs re-thinking.

"Meanwhile the stimulus to marine energy, especially if this new pot goes ahead and the government also considers a proposal of tax credits (IPPA) to enable more technologies to scale up, should at last lead to our offshore islands creating significant energy from the strength of our waves and tides.

"We know that this is a widely popular idea and that there are technologies being developed in all four parts of the UK."

All of which was something to get excited about and a real chance for individual areas of the UK to " leave a local legacy of new green energy projects", said Mr Graham.

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