Friday, 17 July 2015

Morecambe's MP seeks answers on investment for the town - and third Heysham reactor

David Morris
Morecambe MP David Morris has again been pushing for new nuclear development, along with an appeal for White Lund Industrial Estate to qualify for an enterprise zone application and for Morecambe to be considered for coastal communities investment this week.

The MP is keen to capitalise further on what he claimed was the "£1 billion" Morecambe received in funding under the last government during a parliamentary debate on the budget, which strikes as either an error in the Hansard record, or someone's stuffed a lot of the money down the back of a sofa.

Established in 2012, Enterprise Zones are at the heart of the government’s long term economic plan according to the official site, supporting businesses to grow. Since their start in April 2012 they have been set up in 24 areas across the UK, attracting over 430 businesses and securing over £2 billion pounds of private sector investment, creating over 12,500 jobs.

Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, told Mr Morris he would welcome an application for Morecambe not just for an enterprise zone, but for the Coastal Communities Fund  Announcements were made on both in the Budget and Mr Clark added that both initiatives presented" big opportunity for [MPs] to work with the council and business leaders in their area to put forward a compelling bid for funds and, indeed, the devolution arrangements".

Launched in 2012, the Coastal Communities Fund has already invested nearly £119 million on 211 projects local infrastructure and economic projects across the UK. The Chancellor announced that the Fund was to be extended to 2020/2021, and at least a further £90 million would be on offer to "unlock the economic potential of coastal communities."

The Morecambe Bay Partnership has received £297,000 to improve visitor facilities at Morecambe Bay, including a new visitor hub and cycling infrastructure under the Fund so far, creating 10 jobs. (That's still nowhere near £1 billion...)

Later in the week he asked the Andrea Leadsom, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, whether she has taken steps to approve new forms of nuclear build, power plants and technology to facilitate new nuclear build in the UK, He is of course a fervent supporter of nuclear power (and tunnels under Morecambe Bay, of which it seems government ministers are more than aware).

Responding, Andrea Leadsom would not be drawn on specifics - such as the much-pushed build of a third nuclear reactor at Heysham - but told Mr Morris the Government sees new nuclear power stations as an important part of the low-carbon energy mix needed to secure energy supplies and meet international obligations to reduce carbon emissions.

"We will continue to ensure through Electricity Market Reform," she said, "the planning system for major infrastructure projects and independent regulation of reactor technologies that we encourage companies to bring forward successful applications to build new nuclear power stations.

"The Government also maintains an interest in future and emerging technologies. In particular, following a feasibility study on Small Modular Reactors, we are undertaking a deeper financial and technical analysis to establish a robust evidence base to inform policy decisions."

1 comment:

Chris Satori said...

The Enterprise Zone created at Samlesbury near Preston seems to have had the sole objective of offering special tax breaks to BAE Systems, being designed to cover both their plants there. 4 years in it hasn't created any new jobs or enterprises. (It was supposed to be creating 6000).

Now Mr Morris wants a similar zone at Morecambe, presumably to benefit his special friends at Peel Ports and EDF. Creating special subsidy for established mega-businesses embedded in government is not the intended purpose of Enterprise funding, which comes from the taxpayer. I'd like to see an Enterprise Zone created at Heysham that did not include those two businesses as they have already demonstrated their capacity to attract taxpayer subsidy, for example, by their steering of the link-road project.