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MP speaks in Enabling Community Energy debate

Mohammad Yasin MP writes: "Today I spoke in a Westminster Hall debate about my support for community energy initiatives.

I supported the Local Electricity Bill in the last Parliament but it wasn’t carried so we need to keep pushing for the change.

Giving power to the people is a great way for communities to make the difference they want to make in tackling climate change and having a real stake in green energy choices."

Read Mohammad Yasin MP's contribution to the debate here.

Hansard: 1 July 2021 2:20pm It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir David. I thank the Backbench Business Committee for selecting this debate and the MPs who have led on it.

Hon. Members will be aware that I supported the Local Electricity Bill in the previous Parliament. I strongly believe in giving power to the people by allowing local communities to have much greater control over the energy that brings them to life. In March 2019, Bedford Borough Council declared a climate emergency, and it has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2030. I know that many other local authorities have done so too. It has committed: “To reduce its own carbon emissions by implementing projects and policies and encourage the residents and businesses of the Borough to reduce their carbon emissions so Bedford Borough is seen as the place to grow and has a good quality local Environment.” It asked me to speak in this debate, as did a number of my constituents, because they recognise that community energy and participation are key to achieving those goals. I agree. Many of my constituents are deeply concerned about climate change. They want to make a difference, despite how overwhelming the task feels. They can make a difference, however big or small, with initiatives such as community energy projects. The Government must do all they can to support and encourage such projects. Bedford Borough Council was awarded more than £1.8 million from the South East Midlands local enterprise partnership’s Getting Building Fund last year, enabling plans for the all-new Bedford Green Technology and Innovation Park to become a reality. A former landfill site is being transformed into a green energy innovation park, and work is now under way at Elstow in Bedfordshire. Work to cap the closed 30-hectare site with clay began last year, and the site is soon set to become home to more than 1,800 solar panels, which will generate and supply on-site buildings and local businesses with low-carbon, clean energy. Plans are also progressing to use the site as an education and training centre. Early support has been pledged by the University of Bedfordshire, Cranfield University and local colleges. It is really exciting to see a former landfill site being transformed into such an innovative energy park, which will provide low-carbon clean energy and green jobs for people and businesses in Bedfordshire. I congratulate everyone who made the project a reality. However, there is so much more that could and should be done. There is a huge swell of support from the public, who are desperate to get involved at a local level with green initiatives. They want a green recovery from the pandemic, not business as usual. There is a huge consensus of support for initiatives such as solar panels in schools. What better way to show the generation that is most going to have to deal with the consequences of the rampant abuse of fossil fuels that we mean business than to have their schools run on green energy? Although the Government talk the talk on such initiatives, they are not walking the walk. We need urgent and early action, not words.

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