Category Archives: In Parliament

PRESS RELEASE: Gloucester MP welcomes huge step forward for Tidal Lagoons from Hendry Review

Richard with Charles Hendry

Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Marine Energy and Tidal Lagoons and Gloucester MP Richard Graham said that the Hendry Review of Tidal Lagoons gave the clearest possible recommendation for the government to move fast and develop this new global industry.

Richard said, “Charles Hendry said he had started a sceptic and ended a huge enthusiast for the opportunities in this sector. On the core issues of security of supply, decarbonisation, affordability and economic gain (jobs above all) his Review found strongly in favour of the UK being the world’s first mover of Tidal Lagoons – and he urged the government to get negotiations for a Swansea pathfinder moving as soon as possible, with an aim of seeing electricity generated from the Swansea Tidal Lagoon in 2022.”

The Hendry Review noted the huge public support for Tidal Lagoons, the importance of UK manufacturing, supply chains and tourism, and made over 30 recommendations, including the creation of new delivery body (Tidal Power Authority).

“This report gives the government the opportunity to move forward on domestically sourced, very low carbon generation from our greatest untapped source of energy – our tides. I will be inviting members of our All Party Group to write a further letter to the Chancellor giving our support for the recommendations and urging him to make a positive response before the Budget,” said Richard

Mark Shorrock, the Chief Executive of Tidal Lagoon Power said, “the Hendry Review has set the final piece of the jigsaw in place and we look forward to working with Ministers and Officials to bring this new industry to life. We really appreciate the work done by Richard and APPG members in putting tidal lagoons at the centre of Parliamentary debate.”

Charles Hendry said, “it is clear that tidal lagoons at scale could deliver low carbon power in a way that is very competitive with other low carbon sources. We are blessed with some of the best resources in the world, which puts us in a unique position to be world leaders. The costs of a pathfinder project would be about 30p per household per year over the first 30 years.”

Launch of the Independent Hendry Review on Tidal Lagoons

Charles Hendry has published his Independent Review of Tidal Lagoons and I hosted a press conference for him today.

Charles said he had started a sceptic and ended a huge enthusiast for the opportunities in this sector. On the core issues of security of supply, decarbonisation, affordability and economic gain (jobs above all) his Review found strongly in favour of the UK being the world’s first mover of Tidal Lagoons – and he urged the government to get negotiations for a Swansea pathfinder moving as soon as possible, with an aim of seeing electricity generated from the Swansea Tidal Lagoon in 2022.

Read his report here: https://hendryreview.wordpress.com/

Why I believe engagement is the right policy with China

Richard with President Xi Jinping

Richard with President Xi Jinping

China has undergone immense change. When I first arrived in Hong Kong in 1980, China didn’t impinge much on the world. Although a UN Security Council member with the world’s biggest population, she generated only 2% of global growth. Today she represents 15% of global GDP, investing about £10 billion annually into the UK. 140,000 Chinese students study here while almost a million tourists have come this year.

In my own constituency and the surrounding area leading exporters like Renishaw, Severn Glocon and Prima Dental all depend considerably on Chinese customers. So do all the aerospace contractors, some of whom (like Messier-Dowty) manufacture in China as well as in our county. We host Chinese students on training and university courses, or on exchanges from Hangzhou Medical College, to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. We export a range of goods from marine diesel engines, dental drills and gantrail to flavoured tea, coatings and cylinders. No wonder UK exports have doubled since 2010. Perhaps most importantly Gloucester hosts the EDF Energy operational HQ for all our nuclear power stations. The new plan at Hinkley Point depends on Chinese financing. And nuclear energy is key both to more home-grown, zero carbon energy and keeping the lights on.

The China factor in our country is for real: it is important for jobs, businesses and our energy needs. As the only Chinese speaking parliamentarian, who has worked in both mainland China and Hong Kong, I want my colleagues to see what’s happening there and why China matters. But business and investment cannot come at any cost and what is happening there is not simply about trade and investment. Our history, systems and values are very different, which leads to many challenges.

On every All Party Parliamentary China Group visit I have to explain aspects of our democracy to Chinese interlocutors. The human rights representative in our Beijing Embassy continues, with colleagues, to advocate a true Rule of Law. In today’s changing China leaders readily acknowledge the importance of this: but the speed and practical implementation of reform is behind China’s own needs, and the legislative function is controlled by the ruling Communist Party.

The UK has much to offer in this sphere and the Great Britain China Centre, of which I’m a director, does hugely important and behind the scenes  work with Chinese bodies on many aspects of the Rule of Law. Ultimately this is because the Rule of Law matters so much: not just giving businesses confidence to trade and expand, but defining the relationship between state and citizens too.

Some ask, and will continue to ask, if the UK has sold its soul for money, as the Dalai Lama suggested. It’s easy to criticise the UK for being so open to business with an authoritarian country: I could write the script myself. But at a time when so many non-Western states are crumbling and the Western world is itself facing huge political challenges, it would be bizarre not to engage with China –  a vast nation which has held together against the odds, taken a billion people out of poverty and is now a major global power, impacting all our lives directly and indirectly.

So I believe engagement is the right policy. We’re right to do so wholeheartedly, provided we don’t take our eye off obvious risks, like cybersecurity: and continue to raise, in line with our values, human and animal rights issues. In any event I believe these are in China’s own long term interests too. Ultimately I believe we both have lots to learn from each other, without expecting to agree all the time – and that needs engagement. That’s been my approach for 35 years and today, in uncertain times, dialogue and partnership is far more in our interests than it was back in 1980.

PRESS RELEASE: Gloucester MP Richard Graham to demand action on CrossCountry Trains at Prime Minister’s Questions Today

2011-06-transport-minister-mike-penning-at-gloucester-stationRichard Graham will today be asking the Leader of the House at Prime Minister’s Questions today to ask CrossCountry to make a solid commitment to extra services to Gloucester.

The MP has been campaigning for a number of years for an increase in stops at Gloucester on services between Birmingham and Bristol. CrossCountry runs 63 intercity trains a day between Birmingham & Bristol of which only 3 stop at the city of Gloucester.

Formal talks with the Department for Transport on a new franchise for Cross Country concluded in September 2016. Richard Graham met with Rail Minister Paul Maynard in November to discuss possible extra services.

A letter from the Minister confirmed that CrossCountry had indicated that two additional calls each day could be possible from December 2017 but they subsequently told the department this would not be possible due to lack of capacity and that these might be delivered from December 2018.

CrossCountry released a public consultation on 31 October on December 2017 timetable changes in which they state “we were seeking to add some additional station calls at Gloucester in our Manchester to Bristol services from December 2017. It will not be possible to achieve this as there is not enough track capacity to accommodate these services at this time. It is possible this may be achieved in December 2018, and we will work with Network Rail to review the situation. We will consult affected stakeholders on this proposal nearer the time.”

Richard said, “The current situation is totally unacceptable. While we continue to improve station infrastructure & gear up for more and better London route services, Cross Country treats the City of Gloucester as a sort of rail leper – doing anything to avoid more than 3 out of 63 Inter City services a day stopping at the City of Gloucester. Whatever the technical issues of eg electrification at Bristol train operators simply should not be allowed to avoid cities in the way Cross Country has done on this service. It’s time for Ministers to demand change.”

Richard will press the Leader of the House on this today. He has also written to the Managing Director of CrossCountry and is speaking to Network Rail.

PRESS RELEASE: MPs and Councillors secure urgent resurfacing works on M5

2016-11-31-john-hayes-minister-roads-photo

After complaints of excessive noise pollution from local residents close to Junctions 11A and 12 of the M5, Gloucestershire’s national and local representatives have worked together to secure agreement from the government to resurface part of the M5.

The MPs for Gloucester, Stroud and Tewkesbury have worked with Councillors Keith Pearson and Andrew Gravells and Road Minister John Hayes MP on bringing forward the work a full year earlier than expected, starting in March 2017.

Cllr Andrew Gravells for Abbey, said: “It was good to have the support of Richard Graham, and I’m so pleased that after all our hard work and campaigning for this, the project to produce a quieter M5 will now begin as soon as next March. This is great news all round.”

Cllr Keith Pearson for Upton St Leonards, said: “Having been involved for over 14 years with this issue of noise in Upton St Leonards, I am extremely pleased that this work has been seen as important enough to bring forward earlier than originally planned. I thank the Roads Minister John Hayes and all the other MPs who have helped to get the issue resolved, the residents will be delighted I am sure.”

Richard Graham, MP for Gloucester, said: “I was very happy to arrange this meeting with the Roads Minister and am grateful for his help for residents in all three of our constituencies.”fullsizerender

 

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