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Shapps unveils energy plan to ‘power Britain from Britain’ – Labour say it is ‘reheated policy’

Energy security and net zero secretary Grant Shapps has said he wants the government wanted to “power Britain from Britain” as he announced a new plan to increase the UK’s energy security and net zero drive.

Mr Shapps is today publishing a package of measures designed to make the nation’s energy supply more resilient in an environmental blitz dubbed “Green Day”. 

The measures are viewed in government as an important step in the path to hitting the target of net zero emissions by 2050.

It comes after Rishi Sunak rejigged his government to create the department for energy security and net zero (DESNZ) in February this year.

Mr Shapps told GB News: “The measures today, about 1,000 pages of different measures, all to do with our energy security because we have been hauled over the coals by Putin’s war in Ukraine, it has hit us all hard, the Government has ended up paying around half of the typical energy bill this winter.

“The plan today is to power Britain from Britain and all the different measures that we are going to take to make sure that that can happen in the future”.

The changes include overhauling planning rules to speed up the building of new offshore wind turbines and solar panels, £20bn investment in carbon capture and new projects, and the encouragement of households to ditch natural gas boilers in favour of electric-powered heat pumps.

There are further plans for new green hydrogen production projects, which feature prominently alongside the establishment of Great British Nuclear. The government is also pointing to efforts to cut household bills — including a scheme offering £5,000 grants towards heat pump insulation and extending the scheme to 2028.

And as a result of announcements made today on “Green Day”, £380m will go towards improving the charging infrastructure for electric cars.

Under the Government’s new plans, households will also be penalised if they do not switch away from gas. Ministers are planning changes to subsidy rules to make gas relatively less attractive compared to electricity in an attempt to hasten the end of fossil fuels.

Asked what people with gas boilers should do now, Mr Shapps said: “Carry on using [your boilers] for the time being, probably check your flow control, make sure that the boiler is not pumping out heat that is not required, won’t make your home any warmer, but that is a sensible thing to do.

“And for the time being that is it. There are other options coming down the line including heat pumps and potentially things like us mixing hydrogen into your gas boiler as well which is not something you would have to do anything about, it would just happen behind the scenes”.

Ed Miliband, Labour’s shadow climate and net zero secretary, criticised the government’s new plans and labelled them a “weak and feeble groundhog day of  re-announcements”.

He told Sky News: “What was billed with huge hype as the government’s ‘green day’ turns out to be a weak and feeble groundhog day of re-announcements, reheated policy, and no new investment.

“This confirms once and for all that, after 13 years of failed energy policy, that Britain under the Conservatives will be stuck with higher energy bills, energy insecurity, lost jobs and climate delay.

“These announcements are most notable for their glaring omissions: no removal of the onshore wind ban which is costing families hundreds of pounds on bills, no new investment for energy efficiency which could cut bills and imports, no response to the Inflation Reduction Act which could help Britain win the global race for clean energy jobs.”