UK Government has ‘tried and tried to work with Welsh Government’ but ‘with mixed results’ says Tory MP
A Welsh Conservative MP has said that the UK Government had “tried and tried” to work with the Welsh Government but that the relationship is “not as it should be”.
David TC Davies who is Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the UK Government’s Welsh Office said that any breakdown in the relationship was not “any fault of the Welsh Office or the UK Government”.
The Welsh Government has clashed with the UK Government on a number of issues including what the former has called a “power grab” of devolved powers, and a lack of consultation on the cost of living crisis, freeports and changing Covid restrictions.
However appearing on Sunday Supplement, Monmouth MP David TC Davies said that there seemed to be some unanimity of approach towards future energy projects, including nuclear and wind power.
“We have discussions with Welsh Government ministers all the time, [Secretary of State for Wales] Simon Hart and myself do,” he said.
“But the reality is the relationship is not as it should be at the moment and I don’t believe there’s any fault of the Welsh office or the UK Government.
“We have tried and tried to work with Welsh Government and with mixed results, to be honest with you.”
He added that on energy however he hoped that “they will want to they will want to work with us.”
“Let me say we are very happy to talk to Welsh Government about this and all other matters, and we extend the hand of friendship to Welsh Government on this issue,” he said. “It’s very important we get it right.
“Clearly the Welsh Government have got planning, planning consent powers but we need to work together.
“And on something as big as a nuclear power station and Anglesey, we need to show potential developers that there is unity.
“And I think there has been to be fair, I think Labour, a very pro, the nuclear power station on Anglesey as much as the Conservatives are – and Plaid Cymru locally as well.”
He added that nuclear was important because it gave you “a predictable amount of energy” while wind and solar did not always do that.
“So that’s why nuclear is poised to deliver what’s called the baseload, the basic amount, that we need.”
On Friday a Welsh government minister slammed Boris Johnson over his “indefensible” energy strategy, published yesterday, saying that it took the UK in the wrong direction after “years of regressive energy policy”.
As part of the strategy unveiled yesterday, the UK Government announced a new licensing round for North Sea oil and new gas projects are planned for the autumn to cover the “nearer term” need to expand the energy supply.
But Julie James, MS Minister for Climate Change said that she was shocked that the UK Government had “committed to expanding the extraction of fossil fuels”.
“No government being honest about their commitment to net zero could look at options to explore new fossil fuel extraction,” she said.
“We will continue to oppose the extraction of fossils fuels in Wales, we will continue to oppose fracking and we will be supporting the transition away from the use of fossil fuels as soon as is practicably possible.
“Instead of perpetuating our reliance on fossil fuels, the strategy should have been setting the conditions for the expansion of renewables and flexibility on the scale needed to meet net zero.
“Here the strategy is again lacking. The UK Government has not taken the opportunity to expand onshore wind generation. With its significant cost advantage compared to most other forms of energy generation, the UK Government has ignored the needs of consumers in the exploration of one of the cheapest sources of green energy and instead focused on the needs of backbench Conservative MPs.
“Here in Wales we will continue to support new investment in on-shore wind by working with communities to maximise the economic and social value of investment, including ways to use new generation to directly reduce the costs of domestic energy bills.”
The Climate Change minister added that it was “deeply disappointing” that the UK Government’s strategy did not recognise the potential from using tidal resources to generate predictable renewable energy.
“The case for the deployment of tidal range technology has already been made, most recently in the 2017 Hendry review,” she said. “However, the UK Government has failed to set out a clear strategy for supporting this technology that has the potential to generate a significant proportion of our baseload needs when generation from wind and solar is low.”
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