Business Secretary: “We will not be blackmailed by dictators with their hands on the gas taps”

Kwasi Kwarteng has highlighted the need for the UK to be prepared for any energy supply scenario – however extreme

The government has reiterated its firm stance against Russia amid reduced gas flows to Europe through the Nord Stream pipeline.

Delivering a speech at the Chatham House Second Century London Conference, the Business Secretary talked about the UK’s preparedness for the reported winter energy crunch.

Kwasi Kwarteng said: “We remain resolutely focussed on creating a clean, affordable home-grown energy system.

“And it’s not simply a question of climate change, tackling climate change, which we take extremely seriously, it is also a matter of national security.

“We cannot – and will not – be blackmailed by dictators with their hands on the gas taps.”

Mr Kwarteng said despite the diversity of energy supply “we must be prepared for any scenario – however extreme”.

He added: “Like many others in Europe, I’ve also requested to extend the life of our coal-fired power stations for extra supply for this winter.

“Now, West Burton coal power station will remain open this winter, and negotiations with Britain’s 2 other remaining coal plants are ongoing.

“But we cannot escape the fact that as geopolitics has changed – so must we. And that’s why we are exploring domestic gas storage options carefully.”

The Business Secretary said he expected a report from the British Geological Survey to consider the next steps around shale gas extraction in England.

He said: “We have always been clear that shale gas could be part of our future energy mix, but we need to be led by the science and above all we need to have the support, the ongoing support of local communities.”

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