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The political view on the energy bill

Sizewell nuclear power station Photo: ITV Anglia

The Government's draft energy Bill is likely to be viewed with great interest in the Anglia region particularly in Suffolk where Sizewell nuclear power station is situated and there are plans for one of the largest wind farms in the world, the East Anglia Array, 14km off the coast.

The Bill proposes reforms to the electricitymarket and aims to deliver £110 billion investment for low carbon energy, goodnews it seems for both nuclear and wind providers. Long term contracts providing a steady rate of return for energy over the lifetime of low carbon energy are intended to encourage investment in a new generation of nuclear power stations and other low carbon energy sources, a key part of theGovernment's energy strategy.

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey whose constituency covers Sizewell welcomed today's draft bill, describing it as an important first step, but said it was now important to get things moving on the issue. She believes nuclear power is "one of the most powerful ways of keeping the lights on" and also critical to skills and jobs in East Suffolk.

But Green campaigners say proposals for £110 billion investment in low carbon energy is simply a subsidy for nuclear. The Green Party say more should be done to stop people using as much energy and that investment in insulation would help.

And the South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo who chairs the energy and climate change committee in Parliament says he's not sure theGovernment have gone far enough to encourage big energy providers to build a new generation of nuclear. His committee will now scrutinise the draft Bill.

Labour say the Government haven't got to grips with "spiralling energy bills". Expect to hear more on that in future campaigns by the Labour party. The energy secretary Ed Davey says he does have concerns about consumer bills but says though prices could go up in the short term, the measures in the Bill will make those rises less than they otherwise could have been. And he insists that "this is no blank cheque for nuclear ".

Energy provision is a controversial issue. Back in February more than 100 Conservative MPs led by Daventry MP ChrisHeaton-Harris signed an open letter to the Prime Minister calling on him to stop subsidies for on-shore wind farms. At the time the Prime Minister's response was in favour of on-shore wind, and today's draft Bill seems to back that up. But across our region there are many on going planning hearings where proposals for wind farms are met with opposition by local Conservative MPs.

But as the Government say today this draft energy Bill is a necessity to stop "the lights going out". There is an agreement that action needs to be taken, just a disagreement on how to solve a potential energy crisis.

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