Ed Miliband visits new Staffordshire housing estate where you pay no bills for 5 years

-Credit: (Image: Jacob King/PA)
-Credit: (Image: Jacob King/PA)

Former Labour Party leader Ed Miliband has a new housing development offering residents no energy bills for their first five years. Bellway, which is constructing the properties on the Victoria Gate site off Lichfield Road, Stafford, has teamed up with Octopus Energy to bring forward the 'Zero Bills' scheme.

The homes are being kitted out with green energy technology including an air-source heat pump, a home battery and roof-mounted solar panels. And on Wednesday (June 26) Mr Miliband, Shadow Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, visited the site with Leigh Ingham, Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Stafford in next week's General Election.

He described the scheme as a 'remarkable offer for people'. He added: "Zero carbon is important, but zero bills is just a different proposition.

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"I'm incredibly impressed by what is being offered here. This is about the future and it's about tackling the cost of living crisis people are facing.

"Most people would ask what's the catch, but as far as I can see there isn't a catch. We should have a future homes standard - that's the right thing for the environment and the right thing for tackling the cost of living crisis."

Ed Miliband and Leigh Ingham in Stafford
Ed Miliband and Leigh Ingham in Stafford -Credit:Kerry Ashdown

Elsewhere in Staffordshire, methods of generating renewable energy have caused concerns however. In recent years areas including the Staffordshire Moorlands have seen a series of proposals come forward for solar farms and battery energy storage sites - with plans for facilities on farmland used for food production proving particularly controversial.

Mr Miliband said: "We don't want to see the best agricultural land used. The current planning guidance recommends that shouldn't be used.

"We want local people to have a say where there are solar farms and there should be a benefit for local communities. But the thing I would also say is we do need solar and wind power.

"We need to tackle the cost of living crisis that people across this area have been through. It's a big part of Leigh's campaign, how we tackle the cost of living."

Mr Miliband added that improving electric vehicle charging infrastructure was also on the agenda if Labour prove victorious on July 4.

Shadow secretary of state for energy security and net zero Ed Miliband, during a visit to a housing development in Stafford -Credit:Jacob King/PA
Shadow secretary of state for energy security and net zero Ed Miliband, during a visit to a housing development in Stafford -Credit:Jacob King/PA

A Stafford Borough Council report recently revealed that there were 428 public charge points in Staffordshire as of January 31, but it is estimated that the county will need 5,140 electric vehicle charge point sockets by 2030.

"We will have a proper plan for a charging network", Mr Miliband said. "There's nothing more frustrating than getting to a charging point that doesn't work and there needs to be a proper regulated infrastructure for people."

The full list of Parliamentary candidates for the Stafford constituency in the General Election on July 4 is as follows

Peter Andras (Liberal Democrats)
Titus Anything (The Official Monster Raving Loony Party)
Theo Clarke (Conservative)
Leigh Ingham (Labour)
Craig Morton (Heritage Party - Free Speech and Liberty)
Michael Riley (Reform UK)
Scott Spencer (Green Party)

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