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Build green economy to wean UK off Russian energy, Trade Secretary says

Anne-Marie Trevelyan will say the UK must use its relationships with ‘reliable energy partners’.

03 April 2022

The International Trade Secretary is to argue the UK must build its green economy to “eliminate Russian fuel from our energy mix once and for all”.

Speaking during a visit to Norway, Anne-Marie Trevelyan will say the UK must first use its relationships with “reliable energy partners” to “meet our needs, protect our supply chains, and steady the global market”.

But it must also invest in more sustainable sources, she will say, as green energy is out of the “malign reach” of Vladimir Putin.

It comes as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused turmoil in global energy markets.

The International Trade Secretary will make the remarks at a keynote speech at the Nor-Shipping Ocean Leadership conference on Monday.

Her trip to Norway will also involve meetings with senior figures in Norwegian industry and government.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) said Ms Trevelyan will seek to “strengthen ties with a key geostrategic partner in the face of the Russian aggression in Ukraine”.

During the speech, she will say: “Our partnership is more important to Europe’s security than ever before. We have relied on Russian energy for far too long.

“Through trade and investment, we can end this dependence, and starve Putin’s war machine of the funding it needs.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Anne-Marie Trevelyan (James Manning/PA)

“First, we must use our relationships with reliable energy partners like Norway to meet our needs, protect our supply chains and steady the global market.

“The UK used more gas from Norway than the North Sea last year, and we greatly value our long-standing, mutually beneficial partnership.

“Second, we must use trade and investment to build the green economy. Putin’s hands may be on the taps for oil and gas, but green energy is out of his malign reach.”

Ms Trevelyan will argue that “the more we trade and the more we invest, the more prosperous we will become”.

“We can use these gains to build a green economy that will eliminate Russian fuel from our energy mix once and for all,” she will say.

“The likes of Putin won’t succeed. They won’t divide us. Because we know that we are stronger when we trade together, stand together and fight for progress together.”

Last week Conservative former cabinet minister Lord Deben said the Government should “nail its colours to the mast” on moving to green energy to encourage investment from the private sector.

Asked on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme if making the switch had to involve a “bigger state”, he said: “What the Government needs to do is to give the private sector confidence that it’s going to keep to its policies, that it will provide the proper atmosphere for investment, and it will get most of this money out of the private sector.”

The Tory peer and chairman of the independent Climate Change Committee added: “The thing that it’s now got to do is to nail its colours to the mast, to put very clearly what it’s going to do this year, next year, the year after, and stick that into legislation so people know it’s going to happen.

“If they do that, and they do it right across the Government – everybody, all the ministers making it quite clear – then I believe we’ll get the investment that we need.”

An energy security strategy promised by Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been held up by Cabinet in-fighting, but is expected to be published early this month.

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