'The Grand Green Isle'

 The green sector is a huge area of economic growth. With our offshore wind farm potentially inspiring other companies to invest, it is vital that Thanet is not left at the end of the line of investment opportunities.

The Isle has many of the preconditions to become a hub for the environmental sector: green engineering; cutting edge agriculture; energy efficiency technologies and service companies; surface engineering; green energy technology; and green construction and micro-energy companies. I am working in partnership with Thanet College to explore opportunities for training up local people with the skills to work in the green sector. Renewable technologies are the future; we in Thanet can’t miss out!

 

Laura Sandys MP at the Department of Energy and Climate Change

 

High quality jobs in Kent, X-Wind Power Ltd. now actively recruiting

6th September 2013

 

X-Wind Power, manufacturer of the world’s most advanced vertical axis wind turbines, is relocating its operations to Discovery Park, Sandwich in Kent. Dong Energy described X-Wind as a ‘potentially game changing technology’.

X-wind Power are extremely grateful for the support received to date from key figures within Kent including: Kent County Council; Locate in Kent and Laura Sandys MP.

 

Laura says: “I’m delighted that X-Wind will shortly be based in East Kent, their innovative approach to wind energy generation is truly enlightened, demonstrating how existing roads, railways and sea defences can be used to generate significant amounts of energy.” Laura Sandys MP [Thanet South]

 

The relocation to Kent has, in part, been facilitated by the offer of a £600,000 financial package from the East Kent Regional Development Fund.

As part of the relocation X-Wind Power are gearing up their recruitment activities with the aim to hire 16 people in 2013 and 90 people within the next five years. The company is seeking engineers and technicians to become key members of the design team to develop and bring to market the next generation of wind turbines. Apprenticeships are also on offer for candidates with the right attitude and motivation.

 

“Kent offers X-Wind highly talented people living close to our future base at Discovery Park. The communication infrastructure and the quality of people locally were some of the deciding factors in choosing Kent for our business.” Michael Blaize, X-Wind Power CEO

 

Interested candidates can now apply through X-Wind Power web site.

For more information about X-Wind Power and available vacancies, please visit www.x-windpower.com.

 

Sandys in This Week's Prime Minister's Questions

11th July 2013

Following on from the opening of London Array by the Prime Minister last week, he shared how impressed he is with Thanet in this week's Prime Minister's Questions:

Laura Sandys (South Thanet) (Con): Under the last Government, communities such as Thanet were left and abandoned on benefits. Was my right hon. Friend impressed by the thousands of jobs created in Sandwich, London Array and our jobs fair? This Government are putting people back into work.

The Prime Minister: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. I was impressed on visiting Thanet to see the jobs being created by the London Array. It is providing jobs in shipping for seamen, jobs in engineering, apprenticeships; it is a really important investment for this country, and we hope to see many more like it in the future.

You can see Laura's question to the PM online by clicking on the below link (at 15:27).

 

 

Laura Sandys Welcomes Prime Minister to Thanet

4th July 2013

“Ramsgate; Aberdeen of Wind”

Laura Sandys welcomed the Prime Minister to Thanet today as he attended the inauguration of the world’s largest offshore wind farm, with 250 global energy investors, operators and experts.

 

Laura said: “It was fantastic to host the Prime Minister in Thanet today. We are at the heart of the world’s offshore renewable energy sector and today’s event marks the recognition of this at the very highest level of Government.  It was also lovely to be able to accompany him around Turner Contemporary with its Director, Victoria Pomery.

 

“To borrow some words from the Prime Minister, this wind farm really is a great win for Ramsgate. Into the future, it will prove to be a huge employment asset. We are thrilled that Ramsgate is now the port of choice for the Operations and Maintenance for London Array. With 89 jobs already secured and 6 apprentices, we are looking to establish Ramsgate as the ‘Aberdeen of Wind.’ This is a real opportunity for regeneration.

 

“Whilst the Prime Minister was in Thanet, I took the opportunity of introducing him to Paul Barber, Managing Director of Discovery Park. The Prime Minister has been instrumental in supporting us there and helping to secure its Enterprise Zone status. With 1300 people now employed on site, it was great to be able to introduce him to Paul as well as the heads of two of the largest companies located there – Pfizer and Mylan.

 

“I am very proud of what we have achieved in Thanet and it was great to be able to show this not only to the Prime Minister but also to the Secretary of State, and Minister of State from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey MP and Greg Barker MP.

 

“Today has put Thanet on the map at the very centre of the renewables world.”

 

 

Sandys Celebrates Climate Week

5th March 2013

Local MP Laura Sandys is to host a Climate Week meeting this Friday evening (8th March) in Ramsgate. Climate Week is Britain’s biggest climate change campaign showcasing solutions to the problems arising from climate change from every sector of society.

 

Laura who was recently appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to Greg Barker, Minister for Energy and Climate Change said: “Thanet has huge potential to become a hub of green economic activity.

 

“Green Business is already beginning to thrive locally and in the South East alone, there are 6,585 companies involved in green business employing 119,860 people. In total £1,796.6 million is contributed to UK exports from green companies in the region.

 

“Businesses across Thanet are helping to drive energy efficiency and generate growth and jobs. Energy efficiency schemes like our Green Deal are empowering people to have the chance to save money on their energy bills by reducing the need to spend so much to stay warm. Climate Week 2013 offers a great chance for us to look not only at the environmental but also the economic benefits of going green in Thanet.

 

“This meeting will be an exciting opportunity to discuss the potential to boost Thanet’s economy through green business. It will also be a great opportunity for local residents to come along and tell me what they think about climate issues so that I can feed this back to the Government.”

 

 

Green Deal Energy Savings for Thanet- £1000 potentially off Green Deal measures

20th February 2013

 

Laura Sandys is calling on local residents in Thanet to take up the opportunity to not only make their homes more energy efficient but dramatically reduce their energy bills.  Households in England and Wales who use the Green Deal to make energy saving home improvements will now also qualify for hundreds of pounds of cashback from the Green Deal Cashback Scheme. The more work households decide to have done, the more cash they could receive and packages could be worth over £1,000.

 

Laura who is Parliamentary Private Secretary to Greg Barker, Minister of State at the Department of Energy of Climate Change said:

 

“I was delighted to speak at the launch of the Green Deal, the Coalition Government’s new initiative to transform the energy efficiency market and at long last puts consumers in charge. It’s a great new scheme that allows people to make their homes warmer and save energy at the same time. This will have a particularly dramatic impact on fuel poverty as it will ensure that people will not need to spend so much on their energy bills in the long-term.

 

“It is also great for local businesses, creating a new market and new jobs in Thanet. Britain has some of the least energy efficient buildings in the world and this scheme gives people a new way of paying for energy efficient improvements such as insulation and new heating systems. There are 45 different types of improvements currently available under the Green Deal in Thanet, helping people warm up their homes and pay for some or all of the improvements over time through their electricity bill. The Green Deal really has the potential to transform people’s homes across Thanet.”

 

Households in England and Wales who use the Green Deal to make energy saving home improvements will now also qualify for hundreds of pounds of cashback from the Green Deal Cashback Scheme. The more work households decide to have done, the more cash they could receive and packages could be worth over £1,000.

 

For more information on how the Green Deal can help you, visit: www.gov.uk/greendeal or call 0300 123 1234.

 

 

Government's Energy Bill Gives Green Light to Investment and Jobs in Thanet

3rd December 2012

By publishing the Energy Bill, the Government has given the green light to the expansion of the low carbon economy across Kent. As Kent County Council – for Thanet in particular – are working to attract green investors to the region, the Bill should provide the trigger needed to secure inward investment and create jobs across the supply chain.

Laura Sandys MP – Private Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of State, Greg Barker MP, said: “The Energy Bill should provide a clear policy framework that will stimulate billions of pounds of investment in renewables, creating an estimated 88,000 jobs in wind, wave and tidal energy alone in 2021. As we are the leader in wind with the largest wind farm in the world we will benefit too!”

“With Thanet’s Wind Farm and London Array located at Ramsgate Port, and Thanet College having won £2million of funding to develop a Sustainable Skills Centre, we are already on the way to claiming the title of Green Grand Isle.”

 

Laura Sandys MP New PPS to Minister of State, Greg Barker MP

19th September 2012

 

Laura Sandys MP has been appointed as the new Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister of State for the Department for Energy and Climate Change, Greg Barker MP.

Laura said: “It is a real privilege to be working as Greg Barker MP’s PPS. Having worked with the energy sector for 20 years prior to my election to Parliament, I hope I can bring some of my experience to the role.

“Having also worked briefly at the Consumer Association I am very aware of the challenges faced by customers with rising bills. With the roll-out of the Green Deal just around the corner, we have a real opportunity to improve the UK’s housing stock, reduce energy bills and keep families warm.

“I also look forward to working closely with the Department, colleagues, and the wider energy sector to ensure the arguments for energy investment and green growth are clearly made and understood. Already, the green economy represents a huge part of the UK economy and has created more jobs than sectors such as ICT, finance, insurance, and the motor trade. Transitioning to a green economy is not a nice to have, but a total necessity if we are to achieve long term economic growth.”

 

Laura Sandys MP is a Conservative Member of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee. Prior to her election to Parliament, Laura’s company worked for the the energy sector for 20 years and she was an advisor to the Georgian Government on the Baku–Ceyhan Pipeline Project. She is a leading advocate of modernising our economy through de-carbonisation and low input re-engineering of our energy and manufacturing sector, to remain internationally competitive and achieve long term growth and energy security. 

Laura Speaks at Policy Exchange on Policies Needed to Attract Green Growth for Britain

5th September 2012

On Tuesday 4th September, Laura Sandys MP, Member of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee spoke at a well-attended Policy Exchange event entitled 'Low Carbon Britain: Policies to Attract Green Growth for Britain.' Prior to her election to Parliament, Laura worked as a Consultant to the energy sector for 15 years, advising the Georgian Government on the Baku – Ceyhan Pipeline Project and counting BP as one of her clients. She actively campaigns for the greening of the East Kent economy and regularly comments in Parliament and the national media on the need to transition to a green economy.

Laura's speech is reproduced below:

The real barometer of success will be when we no longer discuss the Green Economy. The word ‘renewable’ will be dropped because renewable will be the norm. Instead, the term “fossil” will be used explicitly.

There are few terms in today’s industrial dictionary that are so loose, so ill-defined, as the term “The Green Economy”. Green jobs might have green outcomes, but not necessarily green functions. From the heavy engineering behind the construction of wind farms, to the white coats in universities perfecting smart metering technology, to those who will install the Green Deal – all of these job opportunities comprise part of the Green Economy.

And for those who think transitioning to a green economy is a gamble or a pursuit for more bountiful times, we must be clear that it is not a niche market. Already, it represents a significant part of the UK economy securing more jobs than sectors such as ICT, finance and insurance, and the motor trade. It is a growth sector - low carbon and environmental goods and services grew by 4.6% in 2009/10.

But the green economy must permeate beyond the confines of the energy sector. We need to re-engineer our economic model. With a 53% increase in energy consumption forecast by 2035, those who are commercially savvy will recognise that in a resource poor future, we cannot be captured by a profligate economic model from the past.

Over the last 30 years, businesses have had to manage energy costs that have risen by 120% above inflation. Any country that is serious about future economic competitiveness will ensure that they limit their reliance on fluctuating, politicised energy imports. Even the Governor of the Bank of England has acknowledged that corporate or national exposure to fossil fuels could be considered a risk to financial security. Greening the economy is not a “nice to have” but a total necessity.

The green economy, however, will not be achieved through one set of regulations or one Act of Parliament. To flourish, the green economy requires three core elements: smart consumers; smarter businesses and Governments with real foresight. Consumers can help drive innovation in the sector. Financial constraints are already encouraging the consumer to be more discerning about their energy consumption. Manufacturers should respond in kind with technologies that allow families to control and manage their energy use.

But while the majority of “change” will emanate from private sector driven innovation, Government does need to be the chief cheerleader in greening the UK’s economy.

We must back renewables, substitutes and re-engineering. Similar to the support delivered to graphene, we should be supporting synthetic rare earth development and renewable replacements for minerals. Many key industrial processes could be reengineered away from high intensive energy consumption.

Government cannot choose winners and losers, but it can showcase some of the most effective technologies. Government procures and works with the defence industry to bring longer term research projects to market. The funding of the likes of QinetiQ and BAE Systems are testament to innovation generated from government supported research. What better test-bed than using government procurement to assess some of the more innovative products and processes that could build greater resilience to cost. Indeed, a recent Carbon Connect report revealed that £7 billion in operational costs could be saved through installing energy efficiency measures across local and national Government property stocks.

We should also examine how we can start decoupling the wholesale price of domestically produced energy to that of the world market. While this will take some time, ultimately we need to price our various energy sources according to cost, not merely global prices.

And with Ofgem predicting that energy costs could rise by 60% by 2016, Government must start being explicit with the public that the cost of energy is going to increase significantly. The public might be more supportive of Government investment in alternative green technologies if it understands the context of rising fossil fuel prices and the historic levels of financial support offered to traditional conceptions of the energy sector.

But as everyone in this room knows the Government must also deliver a consistent and coherent policy framework by which existing operators in the renewable energy sector grow while providing policy certainty to new entrants. 

The Electricity market reform Bill must deliver an Act that does not complicate decision making but expedite it; that sets a clear carbon target path; that simplifies the currently complex layers of incentives, and delivers an effective capacity mechanisms.  Government is promising demand reduction measures that were disappointingly left out of the Draft Bill. As we know carbon is the symptom, consumption is the problem.

But ultimately, the barometer of success will be when we no longer discuss the Green Economy. We will drop the word ‘renewable’ because renewable will be the norm. Instead, the term “fossil” will be used explicitly.  There will be widespread recognition that this is as much about economic efficiencies, resilience and a modern economic model as it is about decarbonisation in the face of climate change. There is a total convergence on what is good for business and what is good for the environment.

 

Sandys Leads Debate Proposing Ambitious Green Industrial Strategy for Britain

28th June 2012

Today, Laura Sandys MP, Member of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, led a Parliamentary debate calling on the Government to provide the right fiscal framework to support an ambitious green plan for growth.
Laura said: “Critics presume ‘going green’ is a philosophical approach to achieving a hair shirt and sandals economy. But transitioning to a greener economy will be the cheaper option when fossil fuels rocket and will protect businesses from volatility, while creating jobs. Greening the economy is not a “nice to have” but a total necessity.”
 
“We have a choice in what impact our fiscal measures can support. Either we re-engineer our economy to compete with the forward looking, future proofing countries like Korea, China and Japan, or we can hold onto an outdated energy model that won’t cost us any less but will leave us economically stranded in the past.”
 
In her speech, Laura raised the following points:
 
·         “Going Green” makes business sense: Going green is not about hair shirts, or sandal economies. Green measures can increase productivity, improve output, support greater competitiveness in our manufacturing and processing while sustaining a resilient economy that is lean and keen for the future.
 
·         We are not on our own in greening our economy: South Korea, China, Japan and other countries are placing renewable energy and energy efficiencies at the core of their industrial growth strategies. By putting in place the right fiscal framework for green growth, the Government will not be “going it alone” but participating in an international market that is already thriving.  
 
·         Transparency on tax breaks for all fuels: UK exploration of oil and gas has had huge benefits for this country and that is why the Government has offered the sector tax breaks.But we need greater clarity on which energy sources are supported through the taxation system. Governments have supported emerging industries e.g. car manufacturing in the 80s, North Sea Oil and Gas sector in the 80s and therefore any support for renewables is normal and to be expected.
 
·         Clear about the cost of energy: Government must be clear with the household and business consumer that whilst energy demand can be reduced, the unit price of energy will only ever increase. By highlighting the increasingly volatile and high cost of traditional fossil fuels, it will help demonstrate to consumers the merits of green technologies and processes to stabilise costs.
 
·         Energy security through domestic protection: We cannot continue to rely on imports from politicised countries to sustain our energy needs. While North Sea Oil and Gas will continue to play a part of our energy mix, these are finite resources and so our economic model must look to renewable sources to ensure UK energy security and energy sovereignty.  
 
 
 
To watch the debate in Parliament, click here: http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=10951&wfs=true
 
 

Laura Sandys MP Proposes Radical Green Industrial Strategy for Britain

24th May 2012

In a new “Growth Factory” report launched today, Laura Sandys MP, will call on the Government to back a radical and ambitious green plan for growth.
 
Laura, who is a member of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, said: “Moving to a low carbon economy is often deemed an expensive pursuit – retribution for a profligate past. But transitioning to a greener economy will not only be the cheaper option when fossil fuel prices rocket, it will also create sustainable jobs for a wide range of skills – from apprentices to PhD engineers.
 
“The Green Economy is by no means a niche market, it is a growth sector employing more people than finance, ICT and insurance. However, it will not be achieved through a single Act of Parliament, but rather a total commercial culture change. Any country that is serious about future economic competitiveness will ensure that they limit their reliance on fluctuating, politicised energy imports. Greening the economy is not a “nice to have” but a total necessity.
 
In her essay contribution, Laura will call on the Government to adopt the following policies:
 
  •  Back Renewables: Just as Government financially backed Graphene, so too it should invest in renewable technologies, replacement products for non-renewable resources like rare earths, and new processes that re-engineer our overall economy.
  • Leading from the Front: Government currently harnesses its procurement powers to fund innovation in the defence sector. It should also deliver a similar boost to green technologies through retrofitting its own property estate with low-carbon, energy efficiency devices. Such investment could also deliver the taxpayer energy savings of £7 billion.
  • Transparency about the cost of energy: Government must be clear with the household and business consumer that whilst energy demand can be reduced, the unit price of energy will only ever increase. By highlighting the increasingly volatile and high cost of traditional fossil fuels, it will help demonstrate to consumers the merits of green technologies and processes to stabilise costs. For the UK to truly transition to a low-carbon model, the consumer must be on-board.
  • De-coupling domestic and international energy markets: Government should examine how we can start decoupling the wholesale price of domestically produced non-fossil fuel energy to that of the world market. This will not happen overnight, but as we begin to produce more of our own energy domestically it would be foolish for our prices to be shaped by fluctuating international markets.
  • License Requirements: Government must take a stronger lead in ensuring that local regions benefit from the potential employment opportunities attached to low-carbon investment e.g. large scale offshore wind. To ensure local economies fully benefit, greater efforts must be made to plug any skills gaps in communities to ensure investors can source local staff and tap into local supply chains.

     

 
-ENDS-
“The Growth Factory” strategy for growth, editing by Damian Collins MP www.thegrowthfactory.co.uk
 
Notes:
 
The report, called ‘The Growth Factory” examines a number of sectors from aviation, to the automotive industry, to high end engineering. Having been authored by a collection of Conservative MPs, the report calls on the Government to rebalance the economy with a “modern industrial strategy” that encourages Government and business to work together for national growth.
 
The Growth Factory is being launched at the RSA on Thursday 24th May and in September at Conservative Party Conference.

 

Laura Promotes Green Thanet to Attract Jobs and Investment

19th January 2012

Last week, Laura presented her Green Grand Isle strategy to Renewable UK – the trade body for renewable technology firms. With support from Thanet District Council and Kent County Council, the vision is to develop a pilot in Thanet to create a low carbon model for how one would live and work in a low carbon way.
Laura said: “This is a boost to further help position Thanet to attract a wide range of new technologies and inward investment and create new spin-off companies.
“Many people do not understand the practicalities of renewable technologies – what they would look like in their homes, where they should go to find the right provider, or how much money they could save. The low carbon pilot would see Thanet showcasing what’s on offer through a show home visitor centre and green re-fits across the Isle. Schools, hospitals and other public sector buildings could be adapted with low carbon technologies whilst some of the energy generated from the wind farms, micro-generation and waste to energy plants could be used to reduce the bills of local families”.
The pilot will be taken forward at a Green Summit in Thanet in April before being presented at the RenewableUK Global Offshore Wind Conference 2012 in London.
A representative from Renewable UK said: “'Renewable UK fully supports this exciting new initiative that Laura is driving forward and looks forward to working with industry, the council and local business leaders to deliver a zero carbon pilot in South Thanet. There is huge potential for the constituency to benefit from the green energy revolution, especially as the world’s largest completed offshore wind farm is located off the coast of Thanet and the world’s largest offshore wind farm in construction, the London Array, is located slightly further East off the Kent coast.”

 

Great Green News for Thanet: Thanet College gets £2 million for Green Skills Centre

22nd December 2011

Thanet College will be opening a new centre for Sustainable Environmental Technologies by 2013.    
 
“I am extremely pleased that the vision to position Thanet and East Kent as a Green Centre for Jobs and Skills has been given another boost by Government.  They will be funding a state of the art green technology centre that will build stronger skills for the range of different jobs and opportunities offered through green growth,” said Laura.  “From construction through to renewable energy and all the work that needs to be undertaken with regard to the Green Deal, we will be one of the key skills centres in the country.”
 
“This follows a lot of work by the College not least when we hosted John Hayes, Minister of State for Skills, at the College this year.  He was impressed by the approach and professionalism of the College and was enthused by the strength of the vision.”
 
“Each development that is being put in place is strengthening Thanet’s reputation as a leading centre for green industries and I believe that this is yet another step towards my vision of a Green Grand Isle.”
 

 

Laura's Green Economy Vision - 22/07/2011

Kent’s environmental strategy is excellent – integrated - looking at climate change, life quality, the rural environment and the built environment – not least our beautiful heritage and great towns – look at Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate if you need persuading. 

A good environment is a healthy environment – it is also a happy environment – but maybe one thing that we have forgotten - it is the strong basis for a prosperous environment.  And with the threat of climate change those countries – those counties and those communities that do not take climate change seriously will face another problem – that are threats to economic growth, climatic shocks that cannot be managed and that cost a hell of a lot more to clear up than to have taken action beforehand. 

But the issue of climate change and the impacts that it will have, can be looked at in three ways – denial that it is happening – pretty dangerous in my view; the start of a new form of green Puritanism - retribution for what we have done to the world’s environment –

or looked at as a massive opportunity.  Now I could be accused of being the ultimate optimist – but I fall into the later.

 

But let’s just look at what is predicted to happen across East Kent – a great example actually of the impacts of climate change.  Well something that some in Thanet would welcome – we could become an island again – by 2050 some predictions show that you would have had to get here by boat or bridge not via the A299.  And Sandwich would be flooded regularly if we were not putting in flood defences.  So on one hand we would have a lot of water – and on the other hand we would not have enough water – water to drink – water for industry – water for the Garden of England.  As they say in the train business when the trees shed their leaves – we will have the wrong sort of water!

These are not easy issues to combat – but they are being addressed in this strategy – long term planning, careful remedial policies in place, deep understanding that we cannot and should not take our existing environment and pattern of life for granted.  This is truly strategic - Kent takes your environment seriously and will ensure that the beauty and economic well-being of this county is preserved into the future.   Kent needs to work with Nature’s grain not against it.

Now you might say what is this wacky Conservative MP talking about the environment as if she was a cheer leader for the Green Party – well the tradition of the conservative party is about long-termism, about protecting what was good while not be afraid of the new – but ensuring that change happens in balance not in jolts and shudders. 

Our philosophy was and now is again about getting the balance right between unfettered capitalism with quality of life – but underlying this is the realisation that quality of life not only delivers human growth – it truly delivers long term sustainable business growth.

And it is growth that I want to talk about today – what you in this room believe in and what matters to my constituents – they want and need jobs and this green talk means nothing if it cannot be turned into an advantage – and real economic opportunity.

And I learnt this lesson from my father – in 1957 my father passed the first  clean air act in the world – considered the death knell of all industrial business in this country as we knew it – it was opposed by many of his colleagues and he got hate mail from the large businesses across this country.  But what really happened was that while deaths in our cities from smog related accidents plummeted, lung disease dramatically fell and our buildings stopped looking like the insides of chimneys – we became the largest exporter of clean coal technology in the world.  We created a green industry sector – a technology advantage – a business opportunity that spurned growth across many parts of the UK through exports. 

So if anyone tells me that there isn’t advantage in re-engineering our economy towards a safer, more sustainable model that will actually spurn new businesses and put us as a country at the head of the curve then I fundamentally disagree with them.

But what does this mean for us here today.  Well I could not have been elected for an area that offers more to the economies of the future.  Thanet they say deprivation, and under-developed – some say we need more development – cheap development – cheap housing – cheap jobs for transient companies who are here today and then gone tomorrow.

No Thanet is the perfect example of what a new economic model can look like.  Turn under-development into an advantage and look to the businesses of the future.  Agriculture – the world demand for food is rising and this country is producing less and less – price for food will rise and new technologies, new approaches to food production is needed –.  And we have thanet Earth that is part of that future  - a new production approach that places us here at the forefront of innovation – but we need a lot more investment in food production and food technologies

But as important as these aspects is the low carbon economy and what that it can offer us here.  Please lets us not forget that we have the two largest wind farms in the world on our doorstep.  This is an extraordinary opportunity for all of Kent.  It is an opportunity for firms wanting to supply these large investors – and I have to say that both Vattenfall and London Array could not have been more engaged with working with the local community – they have been great partners and I want to commend them.  Kent County Council has also been instrumental in supporting local companies access the opportunities available – and I commend them.

But we need to go even further – and the announcement today by Kent about their support for small businesses in the low carbon economy  is crucial.

And the Government wants us to go further  – the government is putting real support into renewable energy – the wind sector is really happy, those that create the technologies for micro-generation are highly supported, the building trade and insulation sectors can seriously benefit from the Green Deal –  the retrofitting of 80% of housing in this country.  This is a great time for those with the vision for a greener economy.

And here in Thanet we have it all – we have the lower skills that feed into the green deal and with partners like Thanet College and Canterbury Christchurch who are at the forefront of skills development for the green deal we could not be better served as a hub for this new business sector. 

We have new investors coming into the area to build low carbon research and development projects at the international cutting edge of the sector using some of the research skills of our high end talent some of whom come from Pfizer. 

We have the opportunity to really capitalise on the bio-science for food production emanating from the science skills that we have in the area.

 

I have a vision – the Green Grand Isle – one that makes the Isle of Thanet and Sandwich a pilot for building an integrated low carbon economy – macro renewables matched with micro generation – we certainly have the wind –

low skilled workforce for the green deal matched with new technologies in energy efficiency applications,  electric car networks as well as biomass and waste to energy technologies. 

We have innovative companies here today such as Aquaread who are at the forefront of environmental businesses that show that we have the skills to be a Green economic hub -  

and not only the businesses but also the residents want to play their part in becoming part of the low carbon economy that needs individual behaviour change as much as a change in business practices. 

This area has more desire for a new economic model as it didn’t benefit from the last economic model – it has ambition and desire to be part of the future not the past and I am proud to represent people who are excited by that low carbon future.

 

But it must be built around economic sense – and this Government will make it worthwhile for green companies to establish themselves – I have described my Green Grand isle vision to the Chancellor – Today we have the chancellors close ally in the Treasury Secretary Justine Greening announcing that green jobs matter for us here – she is at this moment visiting our wind farms off our shores...  she is committed.

I have had the skills minister down here to talk about building the skill infrastructure to make it happen.  We have the vision and we have the support from National government and Kent County council to make this area of East Kent a pilot for this new economic model.

 

Come and join us in building an economic model for the future with the support that you need and in me an advocate that will move heaven and earth – no I cannot do much about the forces of Nature – to make it happen for the benefit of us all. 

 

 

Sandys Speaks at Launch of Kent Environment Strategy with Green Industry Leaders

20th July 2011

 

Laura Sandys, MP for South Thanet, will tomorrow deliver the key note speech with Paul Carter, leader of Kent County Council to launch the Kent Environment Strategy – “Growing the Garden: A Strategy for Environment and Economy in Kent” at the Turner Contemporary Gallery. The event will bring together leading businesses and investors from across green industries to ensure Kent  benefits from this emerging sector.

Laura – who was elected onto the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee and who has been leading on the green agenda for many years – said: “Kent is already emerging as the county of choice for green investment. With two of the largest wind farms in the world, East Kent now has a concentration of forward-thinking, innovative green companies, making Kent a prime location for the roll out of more low carbon industries and training facilities. By recognising the immense opportunities attached to the green economy, we have ensured green industry is central to Kent’s vision for local jobs and future growth.”

“Across East Kent and in Thanet particularly, we are set to benefit from the Government’s greenest ever policies. The Green Deal could create up to 250,000 new jobs across the supply chain – Thanet College and Canterbury Christchurch are focused on building the regional skills capacity for homes to be refitted with energy efficiency devices. Government has also created a more stable investment framework for low carbon investors with its Electricity Market Reform. Finally, finance leveraged through the Green Investment Bank will help unlock private investment across the region. The Launch of the Kent Environment Strategy will ensure that Kent owns this economic opportunity. With the green sector valued at an incredible £3.2 trillion, this is good news for small businesses, investors and residents alike.”

Sandys: Thanet Could be a Regional Hub for the Green Deal

27th May 2011

 

Today, Laura Sandys MP welcomed the Skills Minister, John Hayes MP, to Thanet College to discuss the role Thanet and Sandwich could play in training up the future workforce to drive forward the Government’s flagship ‘Green Deal’.
 
The Green Deal is a revolutionary energy saving plan which will see energy efficiency measures installed in homes. These will be funded by trusted businesses and then paid back through customers’ energy bills. Once the cost of installation has been recouped, homeowners can expect to save up to £400 a year on bills.   
 
Laura said: “By re-fitting our most inefficient housing stock with energy saving devices, the Green Deal has the potential to create up to 250,000 jobs. However, the UK will need to develop a workforce with real expertise and skills in the renewable sector if it is to realise its environmental ambitions. There is no doubt that – as leaders in Higher Education provision - Thanet College and Canterbury Christchurch are best placed to develop the regional skills capacity.”
 
“We in Thanet need to tap into this emerging green market. Following today’s meeting, the Minister was left in no doubt that Thanet is the ideal regional hub for the Green Deal. Our clean environment, lengthy coastline, and expanse of Grade 1 agricultural land all make the Isle a prime location for the roll out of green industries and training facilities. By benefiting from the opportunities attached to the Government’s green policies, we can also help local people into employment and boost Thanet’s economic growth and productivity.”
 
The Vice Principal of Thanet College, Andrew Gower, External Relations Manager at Canterbury Christchurch College, David Smith, and Leader of Thanet District Council, Bob Bayford, all emphasised the central role Thanet could play in facilitating The Green Deal with the Minister.

 

 


'By Protecting Agricultural Land We Can Address High Food Prices' 
 
12th May 2011

 

In support of shoppers across Thanet and Sandwich, today Laura Sandys MP introduced a Bill in Parliament to prevent local authorities granting planning permission on Grade 1 Agricultural Land.

“We have a lot of really good land in East Kent that must be secured for food production not development.  We need to ensure that locally we support our local producers and try where possible to buy local food.”
 
By safeguarding Britain’s agricultural land, the Bill aims to ensure the UK can produce food domestically. This will reduce its heavy reliance on international markets which has left consumers vulnerable to food price spikes. Last year alone, costs were passed directly onto shopping trolleys across Thanet as consumers bore the brunt of a 4.6% increase in the cost of food. The Bill aims to reinstate the protection that was in place when food production was part of our national security considerations and seen as a strategic asset.
 
In her speech, Sandys said: “We need a statutory defence against those who might want to build on our most productive land. Our capacity to produce food is not seen as a strategic asset. Not important to the country, its economy and the population’s well being.  We must now start regarding food security with the zeal that we are approaching energy security.  Domestic energy supply is seen as critical in our long term energy security. So while we understand that reliance on volatile suppliers of energy is bad for economic growth, stability and consumers, in the area of food security, we need to start to put in the measures that will give us further certainty in terms of price, production and vulnerability of supply.”

 

My Speech to the House of Commons:

"I beg to move,
That leave be given to bring in a Bill to prohibit local authorities granting planning permission involving the development of Grade 1 agricultural land other than in exceptional circumstances;
and for connected purposes.
The Bill aims to reinstate the protection that was in place when food production was one of our national security considerations and was seen as a strategic asset. Although there is guidance on development on agricultural land, it does not provide a sufficiently robust defence of what I believe is a national asset. However, the Government have an excellent opportunity to include the objectives of my Bill in the forthcoming national policy planning frameworks. I hope that, unlike the previous Government, this Government do not see the countryside as merely a public amenity space or an aesthetic experience for urban dwellers to enjoy. Grade 1 agricultural land is important and has strategic implications for all our constituents, urban and rural.
Let us be clear that once highly productive land has been built on, there is no going back—it has gone for ever. Some might ask, “Who cares?” The reason why food production should be of interest to everyone is that we are increasingly vulnerable to global food price rises that have an impact on each and every one of our constituents. International protectionism, climate change and increased global population are all resulting in significant volatility in the food sector. We must therefore do what we are doing in the energy sector, and regard national food production as part of our national security agenda. An essential part of that agenda is ensuring that we do not reduce our ability to produce food domestically, and land use is at the heart of the issue.
Agriculture, food production and land use are distant concepts to many of our constituents. I myself was brought up in London, far from anything to do with the world of farming. Do the majority of our constituents worry about whether a farm is turned into a golf course or whether some fields are sold for development? That does not affect us, and if we gain a new business park houses or some new houses and the farmer can retire to the Caribbean on the proceeds, good for him.
Our lack of appreciation of food production is due to the fact that our capacity to produce food is not seen as a strategic asset. It is no longer considered to be important to our economy and the well-being of our population. As a result, the amount of arable land in the United Kingdom has decreased by 30% and food imports have increased to 47% over the past 20 years—of course, no one has been on the streets protesting.
The ideal combination of globally sourced food and reasonable prices was shaken in 2008. There was a perfect storm of bad weather conditions, crop failures, a change in global consumption patterns, a 50% leap in the cost of a barrel of oil and some speculation, and commodity prices rocketed by 66%. The food price spike was further compounded by a new phenomenon, food protectionism. Global variations in food prices fluctuated dramatically. Countries that withheld exports,
such as Indonesia, were able to keep their domestic prices down, but those that did not experienced a much higher rate of food inflation, which created real political instability. Unfortunately, that experience revealed the short-term benefits of protectionism, and it has created a new political and economic reality that might lead to further protectionism and exacerbate food volatility. Much of this has passed us by, however. Food security and food prices are rarely, if ever, raised in the House, and few of our constituents are particularly concerned so long as the supermarket shelves are full of what they want to buy at a price that they are prepared to pay.
The price of food should be making the future of productive land an important concern for us all. The Foresight report on food security stresses that
“the past century of low food prices is at an end.”
Agricultural production will become a much more important industry sector, and at this time when food production is so important, we have no restrictions in place to stop developers tarmacing over our own highly productive food-producing land.
Price is starting to impact on my constituents. In my constituency, the average wage is just £17,000 and therefore more money as a percentage of income is spent on food than in many other areas. My constituents are noticing prices. I had a gentleman in my surgery this weekend who said that he had had a heart attack and was told by his doctor that good fresh food was essential to his health. As he is on jobseeker’s allowance, he cannot afford to eat good food and is now reverting to buying cheap junk food.
Supermarkets are extending their promotional offers, as they know more than anyone the extent to which prices are rising, but for how long will they be able to resist passing on the increased commodity costs to the consumer? Prices are increasing, nutritional standards will fall, the vulnerable in our constituencies will have to revert to the cheapest food possible, and—following on from those who have protested about fuel price increases—we will receive more post from people on the subject of food prices. There is a good reason for that. Commodity prices in April were 4.7% higher than in the same period last year. I hope the Treasury is looking into the impact that that will have on economic growth and inflation; the Bank of England certainly is. Kraft Foods has announced that it will be raising its food prices, which will hit every one of our constituents. The cost of food is also increasing, because of the high
reliance on energy in agriculture, while the British Chamber of Shipping calculates that sea transport costs are increasing due to piracy, and the degradation of land due to droughts, flooding or urbanisation will put further stresses on existing productive land, yet we have no statutory defence against those who might want to build on our most productive land.
We must start to approach food security with the same zeal that we approach energy security. Domestic energy supply is seen as critical to our long-term energy security. We seem to understand that reliance on volatile suppliers of energy is bad for economic growth, stability and consumers, and for food security, too, we need to start to put in place the measures that will give us further certainty in terms of price, production and vulnerability of supply.
As the Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government, my right hon. Friend Greg Clark, will know, according to the Campaign to Protect Rural England by 2030 Kent will lose 10% of its productive land due to sea level rises, so we will be losing productive land in any case due to climate change and sea level rises. It would be mad at the same time to lose additional productive land when we have the powers to stop that happening.
I urge the Minister to take on board the genuine importance of this Bill for wider economic and social needs, to recognise that the protection it offers grade 1 agricultural land must be incorporated into the national policy planning frameworks, and to ensure that food production is seen as an increasingly important part of our domestic security. I realise that protecting grade 1 agricultural land is not the sole answer to food insecurity and price increases, and I am not proposing food sovereignty, but land use protection is one of the mechanisms that we must put in place in order to reduce our exposure to the volatility of the international market. Therefore, we must, at the very least, not lose more productive land than we have lost to date."
 

 

Laura Sandys MP meets with DECC and BIS to discuss Thanet's 'Green Isle' Vision
 
7th November 2010
 
At a meeting Laura Sandys, MP for South Thanet, held on Monday with the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), it was clear that the departments are keen to support the concept of Thanet becoming a centre for green technology, green jobs and green skills.
 
As the Coalition Government begins introducing measures that will make Britain greener, a whole host of opportunities will open up for both businesses and local people in Thanet to take advantage of the emerging green sector and its numerous incentives.
 
Following the meeting, Laura Sandys MP explained: “Our world renowned offshore wind farms should serve as anchors for future external investment into Thanet. Opportunities such as solar, biomass, marine energy, home insulation and micro-generation provide numerous windows for development and could deliver much needed employment opportunities for local people.
 
“Throughout the meeting, I pressed both Departments to provide help and guidance to Thanet with identifying initiatives, partners and support so that we can secure these opportunities.
 
“There was a significant appreciation of Thanet’s deprivation levels and our green assets. Our relatively clean environment, our stretch of coastline, and expanse of Grade 1 agricultural land all make Thanet a prime location for the roll out of green industries.”

 

A Great Day for Thanet The Largest Wind Farm in the World Launched in Thanet

23rd September 2010
 
“Today is a really important day for Thanet with the largest wind farm in the world being opened off the shores of Broadstairs and Ramsgate by Chris Huhne MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.  I have been a passionate advocate of the wind farms and believe that this now places Thanet at the heart of wind farm development in the UK.

 

“The wider opportunities from this investment can help us revitalise the Thanet economy through green jobs and new green technologies.   By attracting companies that specialise in green technologies to Thanet we can play an important part in the development of low carbon technologies,  and hopefully gain Marine Energy Park Status, a Government initiative to create renewable energy hubs.  In addition I believe that Thanet can greatly benefit from the lower skilled jobs that green policies such as the Green Deal will deliver.

 

“Thanet is uniquely placed to be at the leading edge of the green economy and today’s launch is the start of a longer term economic opportunity for Thanet.”

 

 
Have a look for yourself - click on this link - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11395824

Green Alert for Small Businesses and the Young
 
1st August 2010

 

I was even more enthused by a meeting that I had with one of the operators of our Wind Farms this week in Ramsgate.  We do have an extraordinary opportunity to build a whole new industry working for and with our new investors in Thanet. 

At the meeting we discussed the range of skills that our young people could be trained for at all levels supporting more jobs locally.  Our college could become a centre of excellence for green skills offering the best in NVQ qualifications.  The operators will in the future also need engineering graduates ensuring that our young who go off to university have some exciting work back home when they return.

There are already business opportunities for local companies and anyone who has not seen the business directory website should visit www.kentwindenergy.co.uk to register their service.   From electricians through to marine maintenance, vehicle repairs, scaffolding companies and haulage companies – businesses of all sorts and all sizes are encouraged to register.

As many of you know I see a strong future for Thanet taking a lead in the green economy, capitalising on the current investment but going so much further.  There are a lot of small businesses that could be established to support micro-generation of energy, we should aim for quality eco housing, establish electric power points for green cars and have a much greater focus on water management.  A green economy will support our local tourism, promote the area as unique and extremely attractive and provide Thanet with a very special calling card. The Green Grand Isle!

 

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