Shadow minister calls for ‘urgency’ over climate change

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A shadow minister for international trade who has been given a damehood has called for “urgency” in the Government’s response to tackling climate change.

Labour MP for Llanelli Nia Griffith, who has become Dame Commander, said she is concerned that moves towards investment in renewables is often something which is pushed to one side.

She has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, which have been announced ahead of her Platinum Jubilee.

The shadow minister emphasised her involvement in the Climate Change Act, after spending many years campaigning about the climate crisis, and the redevelopment of the Llanelli Railway Goods Shed as some highlights to her career as an MP.

She told the PA news agency: “It was very, very exciting to be working on that act.

“What has disappointed me is that since 2010, we have rather sat backwards and not put the foot on the accelerator on the things that we need to do, for example, a lot more investment in renewables.

“That’s now coming back to bite with the realisation that we’re very reliant on imported gas and oil, with the situation in Ukraine obviously influencing that. There should have been a lot more done.

“What worries me is that it’s very often something which can be pushed to one side. It’s urgent that things should be done now and not just left.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

“So I’d like to see a greater emphasis from this Government on investing in the ways that we can to cut down our emissions.”

A Government spokeswoman said: “Thanks to a massive £90 billion investment in renewable energy in the last decade, we have one of the most reliable and diverse energy systems in the world, and unlike the rest of Europe, we are not dependent on Russian energy imports.

“Nearly 40% of our electricity now comes from renewable sources, and since 2010 we have delivered a 500% increase in the amount of renewable energy capacity connected to the grid.

“We have also recently set out an energy security strategy which will supercharge our domestic renewable energy capacity in the long term.”

Dame Nia added that it was an “absolutely huge privilege” to have been given a damehood, thanking her colleagues for their work on her projects over the years.

“I have to say, I was absolutely astounded when I received the news,” she said. “I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the people who have worked with me over the years on many projects that I’ve been involved in, because whatever I’ve achieved has not been by my efforts alone, it’s been in cooperation with others.”

She added that her role as an MP for Llanelli is “absolutely central” to her life.

“What I really wanted to achieve as an MP is first and foremost influencing policy for the better, and that means trying to get things done which actually improve people’s lives,” she said.

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