Minister praises coast prospects

Energy Minister Charles Hendry met leaders of Fylde energy firms at a lunch in the Clifton Arms Hotel in Lytham.'Charles Hendry (second left) and MP for Fylde Mark Menzies (left) chat to the leaders. PIC BY ROB LOCK'11-3-2011
Energy Minister Charles Hendry met leaders of Fylde energy firms at a lunch in the Clifton Arms Hotel in Lytham.'Charles Hendry (second left) and MP for Fylde Mark Menzies (left) chat to the leaders. PIC BY ROB LOCK'11-3-2011
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ENERGY minister Charles Hendry praised the Fylde coast’s growing energy industry as one of the most important for the future economic prosperity of the area.

The Government minister visited the area, after being invited by the Fylde Westminster Group, a liaison between the Fylde coast’s energy firms as one of the backbones of industry.

He visited BNFL’s Springfields site and Cuadrilla, the first extractors of shale gas in the country, before attending the meeting at the Clifton Arms Hotel in Lytham.

Mr Hendry, minister of state at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, said: “One thing that strikes me here is the range of different energy services in the area - and that is important for local jobs.

“It is a big growth area for the wider Lancashire economy.

“It’s about jobs, jobs and jobs.

“Although we are very keen to recognise the importance of oil and gas in the years to come, we are very much aware of the importance in developing as many resources of our own as we can.”

Utility firm bosses took the opportunity to quiz the minister, who is responsible for renewable energy, new nuclear energy and gas policy along with other energy responsibilities.

Russ Priestley of British Independent Utilities, based in St Annes, said: “I’m pleased he’s chosen to make the trip to see us. It’s not a regular occurrence and we hop it’s a productive trip.”

Jason Thackray of Inenco, also based in St Annes, added: “It’s encouraging that he was open to questions and there is a lot of interest in the changes going on with the Government due to the spending review.”

New firm Coastal Energy, linked to Lytham’s Helical Technology, took the opportunity to ask the minister to include its new heat pump technology in the Government’s new Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme.

The firm’s Jonathan Taylor said: “We expressed to him the need to go back to Whitehall and consider our heat pump technology for the Government’s Heat Pump Incentive. It would give people an £850 incentive to install the pump in their homes.”