Ports investment is key MP tells parliament and Felixstowe should be at forefront

By Local Democracy Reporting Service

23rd May 2024 | Local News

Dr Alan Whitehead
Dr Alan Whitehead

Investing in the region's ports would be a key priority for a future Labour government as part of its plans for a "green revolution", a senior member of parliament has said.

Dr Alan Whitehead, shadow minister for energy security, has signalled cash could be directed towards projects in Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Felixstowe as part of the move towards clean energy.

He says this will be necessary to unlock the east of England's potential to become a major player in the UK energy sector as one of the biggest providers of wind power.

The Southampton MP made the comments at a conference in Cambridge last week organised by the Eastern powerhouse – a group calling for more government investment in the region.

Mr Whitehead said: "The green energy revolution will need enormous investment in every region but the east has tremendous possibilities that need to be taken advantage of. It has all the attributes to become a major player in the future.

"The east coast's port assets are seriously under-utilised but they will be a pivotal tool in making the revolution work.

"We are expecting a four-fold increase in offshore wind energy which will land in the east.

"Places like Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Felixstowe will play a key role in providing services to these farms and the facilities will need to be upgraded to facilitate this."

These port locations could become centres for green energy manufacturing as part of the plans due to being on the frontline of the energy industry.

Mr Whitehead also said supporting the completion of the Sizewell C nuclear power project in Suffolk would be a priority for a Labour government.

However, Labour's promises of investment have become increasingly muddled after Sir Keir Starmer dropped the flagship policy of spending £28bn a year on green projects.

The move was blasted by environment campaigners when it was announced in February and it remains unclear what this means for the promised investments and how the money would be split.

HEART OF ENERGY SECTOR

East Anglia is at the heart of the UK's renewable energy sector, with 43pc of the nation's offshore wind generated on our shores.

But industry experts warn that soaring costs, a growing skills gap, and limited infrastructure to support the expanding sector are creating unprecedented difficulties.

Labour says it will create 56,000 new jobs in the region by investing in this sector to help change this.

Cash to support this will come through creating Great British Energy – a publicly-owned energy company.

Profits raised will be invested in a national wealth fund that can support the training necessary to tackle the skills gap, while also being used for developing clean energy technologies.

ROAD IMPROVEMENTS NEEDED

However, industry leaders warned Mr Whitehead that major improvements were needed to the region's roads for the ports to flourish in the future.

An Ipswich-based businessman warned that problems at Orwell Bridge, which is frequently forced to shut due to bad weather, are hampering the growth of Felixstowe – the biggest container port in the country – due to difficulties in transporting freight via the road network.

Stalling road improvements in Norfolk – such as the A47 and Norwich Western link – are also proving a hurdle.

Chloe Smith, Conservative MP for Norwich North, told attendees that improvements to the railway network are just as important as roads.

She added that the proposal to enhance the capacity of Ely Junction in Cambridgeshire is "vital" for unlocking the eastern ports to the rest of the country.

A push for railway improvements is central to Eastern Powerhouse's vision for creating a more unified economy in the region.

The group is currently consulting with West Norfolk Council to identify how it could help with lobbying the government for funding to create a new railway station on land south of King's Lynn.

It is also speaking with Norfolk councils to identify railway stations across the county that could be developed into so-called "business hubs" – a plan to bring new investment to decaying stations and to encourage companies to locate their operations close to the railway network.

C

     

New felixstowe Jobs Section Launched!!
Vacancies updated hourly!!
Click here: felixstowe jobs

Share:

Related Articles

Local News

Sizewell construction could put 150 hydrogen-powered buses on county roads

Local News

Police disclose number of cases closed through working with serial offenders

Sign-Up for our FREE Newsletter

We want to provide Felixstowe with more and more clickbait-free local news.
To do that, we need a loyal newsletter following.
Help us survive and sign up to our FREE weekly newsletter.

Already subscribed? Thank you. Just press X or click here.
We won't pass your details on to anyone else.
By clicking the Subscribe button you agree to our Privacy Policy.