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PM’s energy security strategy looks set for further delay

The Treasury says the plans are still under discussion after it was reported Rishi Sunak is holding out on fresh money for the strategy.

27 March 2022

Boris Johnson’s energy security strategy looks likely to be further delayed amid suggestions Chancellor Rishi Sunak is resisting new spending commitments.

Downing Street had been expecting the plan in the coming week after it already slipped from the Prime Minister’s earlier billing of the week before.

Mr Johnson has indicated the strategy will focus on renewables, nuclear and using UK fossil fuels as he seeks to shift away from Russian dependence and ease soaring fuel bills.

Boris Johnson visits National Renewable Energy Centre
Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to the National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth (Owen Humphreys/PA)

The Financial Times reported officials suggesting April 4 was now the earliest date for its publication as Mr Sunak resists providing any new money.

A Treasury source did not deny the delay, telling the PA news agency: “Policy is still being decided on.”

During a visit to the Gulf on March 16, Mr Johnson said the strategy will include a “massive jump forward on renewables, more nuclear, using our own hydrocarbons more effectively”.

He also said it would come “next week”. After that timetable slipped, Downing Street continued to anticipate its arrival this month.

Meanwhile, Cabinet minister Nadhim Zahawi suggested that energy bills for people living near onshore wind farms could be slashed under the reforms.

The Education Secretary also suggested he supports more onshore wind farms but only if they are backed by the local community, as he insisted there “isn’t a row” around the Cabinet table over the turbines.

Wind turbine sizes
(PA Graphics)

Mr Zahawi told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: “I would say that if we are going to make sure that we carry the will of local people, whether it’s onshore wind or nuclear, we have to learn from how it’s done well in other countries.

“The way you do that is to make sure the local community has a real say.

“But also we’ve seen great examples of other people where if they build a nuclear power station, within a certain radius of that power station they get free power.

“So it’s right to look at innovation to make sure we wean ourselves off hydrocarbons, we have to do that, we have to do that well, part of that is making sure we look after the will of the local people.”

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