Leader claims Westminster does not “recognise the importance” of sector

The leader of North East Lincolnshire Council has pledged to “ratchet up” the profile of renewables, as the local authority plans to make borough the UK capital of the industry.

Speaking to Utility Week, councillor Ray Oxby, said he was concerned that politicians in Westminster “don’t recognise the importance of renewables, or the need to invest it in the future”.

“I think we need to promote it, market the need and get some senior ministers to come down to endorse what we are looking to do, both around the renewable energy sector and around our ambitions for Grimsby, so it gains more profile and credibility,” said Oxby.

“We need to ratchet up the political profile around the energy sector and the need for sustainability,” he added. “Communities need energy.”

The local authority has ambitious plans to make the Humber, and Grimsby in particular, the UK capital of the renewable energy industry. The council leader said they already have several key companies involved in the region, including Dong Energy, Siemens and Eon.

In addition, the council is also looking to see greenhouse emissions cut in the borough by 57 per cent by 2032. It is also looking to hold a summit up in Grimsby for the renewables industry in the summer, called Clean Break.

“We used to be the world’s biggest fishing port, but there’s a community that needs a sense of aspiration and we are trying to use the opportunities that renewable energy brings to raise that aspiration,” added Oxby.

The council’s chief executive Rob Walsh said renewable energy has transformed Grimsby and opportunities in the borough as a whole.

“We need to sell it and work in partnership to grow it,” said Walsh. “We want to be a centre of excellence. Offshore wind operations and maintenance is already established as a hub in Grimsby anyway. This is about expanding it, growing it and benefitting other supply chains in the area too.”

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