I am sure we’re all ready to congratulate Amber Rudd on her appointment to run the Department of Energy and Climate Change and thus claim one of the 20 or so places around the table at Cabinet meetings. Her appointment has generally been welcomed by those of a “green” disposition.
Friends of the Earth said: “Amber Rudd has already acknowledged the need to boost renewables and increase investment in energy efficiency – and importantly she recognises the devastating impact that climate change will have without action.”
Her understanding of climate change issues are not shared by all her colleagues. There are even some of them who agree with the eccentric views of the 82-year-old former chancellor Nigel Lawson – one of the more colourful Conservative climate sceptics.
It is easy to imagine that the first days for a new cabinet minister are very hectic. No doubt her ear is already being bent by a long line of lobbyists but we should take heart that Rudd has always been ready to listen to her constituents. So this might be a good time to put in a word for things we need in Rye.
It might sound less exciting but the priority has to be energy efficiency for all of us. There have been lots of schemes in the past – some worked better than others – but we need a new scheme that will kick start a massive investment by Rye businesses, landlords, tenants and home owners in insulation and more efficient heating equipment. Cutting energy use is the quickest and cheapest way to put money in the pocket of “hard working families” and the potential savings for all of us are huge. Somehow the money has to be found to get this programme under way.
If you still have her attention please say how delighted and excited you are that we are in the middle of a solar power revolution. It is now possible that battery storage combined with solar power could offer a viable and cost effective way to supply electricity locally. So ask her to continue to support the solar industry as this is the future of energy supply unlike the oil industry which we know is running out of time. Rye has many buildings with south facing roofs that are suitable for solar panels without spoiling the appearance of the town. With continuing support they could all be generating electricity in the near future.
The jobs to be created by investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy should be local ones. That’s important to us. We want to develop our local skills and resources so that our community can benefit in the long term from the development of these new industries.
Before Rudd’s attention wanders, I’d like to make one more point: for goodness sake drop Hinkley Point, the nuclear power station project in Somerset. The current design doesn’t work and the billions of pounds the UK intends to spend on nuclear could be invested in new clean technologies that could be ready sooner and cost less.