In his condemnation of the Prime Minister’s “shameful granting of over 100 new oil and gas licences” Mike Baldwin does nothing to address the huge problem of how we are to generate enough energy to meet the targets set by Net Zero. We are witnessing a headlong rush into converting everything to run on electricity, from boilers to heat our homes, cookers to cook our food and cars to get from A to B. Added to this and many new household appliances that, if run from batteries, need electricity to charge them up. Where is all this extra energy to run these going to come from? With an ever-growing population, as well as the increases in demand, we are reaching a critical point where, given a hard winter, supplies may have to be temporarily turned off to conserve energy; suddenly we’re to all be transported back to the early 1970s!

Laudable though the aims of Net Zero are, we seem to be putting the cart before the horse whereby there is very little being done in terms of infrastructure to meet the intended aims. Quite simply, whilst wind and solar power offer a cog in the wheel of reducing carbon, they can never be used as a main method of generation. Tidal wave power is an option, but would be hugely expensive (though that hasn’t stopped the Government pursuing HS2; another hugely expensive project that, unlike tidal wave generation, will only benefit a few people) whilst nuclear power stations take some 20+ years, from planning to actually coming on line, to be up and running. 

Another thing that seems to have been forgotten is how many of our homes in Devon, and other rural areas, can be heated without oil. Many of us live in centuries-old cottages, for which oil is the only option to keep warm and supply a constant source of hot water. Many of these properties are Grade II listed, so the fitting of solar panels and wind turbines is not an option; I’m also given to understand that applying insulation to cob walls (another type of construction common in Devon) is also difficult as well as hugely expensive. Again, this is an issue those that support a headline rush to Net Zero forget to mention.

Finally, I’d like to take issue with Mr. Baldwin’s claim that nothing will be done to protect our energy security in pursuing the Prime Minister’s agenda; we’ve seen, since the outbreak of the Ukraine/Russian war, many threats from Russia to interrupt our supplies should we back Ukraine militarily. 

Indeed, they have already massively reduced their export of gas to Europe making,  I would have thought, relying upon our own energy generation a priority. 

I have no problem with the aim of Net Zero but to set deadlines that are so close, and then sit back and not do anything with the infrastructure to achieve this, is insanity. We desperately need some joined up thinking within government, but that is in very short supply at the moment.

Matthew Biddlecombe

Sampford Courtenay