Craig Mackinlay MP: Energy, Thanet Parkway and Green Hub Port

Thanet Parkway event

Parliament returned last week with something of a bang. The unbelievably weighty and complex 420 page Energy Bill returned from the Lords on Tuesday for further consideration known as Report Stage followed immediately by Third Reading.

Thereafter, as it was a Bill originating in the Lords, the Lords will have a final opportunity to either agree or refuse the amendments coming from the House of Commons. In the event all amendments passing back to the Lords were Government amendments, no other amendments either from myself, the various opposition parties and other Conservatives were either not selected by the Speaker, not pushed by the originator, or refused by a vote.

I had laid, with others, approaching 100 amendments to this Bill. I have to say I really don’t much care for it. I spoke robustly particularly against the future ability for the government to create criminal offences by Statutory Instrument relating to Net Zero. We will see if any final changes are possible in the Lords. I caused a Third Reading division on the Bill, comprehensively lost but I wanted my concerns duly recorded.

On Energy issues, I keep a watching eye on how the UK’s electricity is provided. Over the wonderfully hot weekend we’ve had, electricity use was fairly low at 29-30 GW, doubtless as BBQs were lit and we enjoyed some outdoor life. It was virtually windless both here and across Europe. Solar did quite well despite the ever-shortening days, peaking at 15% of electricity provision on Sunday.

Despite 30 GW of installations of onshore and offshore wind around the country, there was barely 1/30th of this potential produced, hovering around 1 GW all weekend and just a few percent of the UK’s electricity needs, electricity itself being a mere 20% of entire energy use. Burning imported pelletised wood (mainly from North America and transported across the Atlantic on diesel powered ships) accounted for approximately 5% with predominantly gas turbine produced electricity, remaining nuclear, coal would you believe, and interconnectors bringing electricity from abroad ensuring that the lights stayed on. Relying on others for guaranteed energy does seem like a fool’s errand as we’ve learnt from Putin’s Russia. It is not uncommon for Winter demand being closer to 50 GW so I am sure you can see the problem with the future energy plan of even greater reliance on renewables. It’s why I am focusing on this issue.

It was with great pride to be part of the successful official opening of Thanet Parkway station, the first new station in East Kent for 100 years. I am pleased to have been instrumental, following a Prime Minister’s Question in July 2021, in ensuring the last tranche of funding to make it happen was made available from government, else the project would likely have failed.

For some in Cliffsend the whole concept of this station is not supported. There are complaints of light pollution and excessive noise by the annunciator. I’m sure we can work together to alleviate these issues now that the concept has moved from a planner’s drawing to reality.

Others in Cliffsend are enthusiastic because of the convenience it brings and also with the knowledge that house buyers generally see a local station as a significant plus point. Others moan about the cost of £35m and that it won’t receive the footfall to make the investment worthwhile. I’m always the first, as a former Member of the Public Accounts Committee, to have concerns about costs of government projects. DWP spend on non-pension benefits now amounts to £470 million per day if big numbers of government expenditure turn your head as they do me.

President Lincoln’s use of poet John Lydgate’s phrase springs to mind:- “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” What is unique in planning terms is this: for the first time in my memory, a project being delivered that is ahead of the curve, rather than laggardly behind it. The benefits to the growing Discovery Park, the ability to serve Manston as my preferred future use as an airport, or indeed whatever emerges, and to service appropriate new development and businesses, are obvious.

The pieces of significant investment into Thanet and East Kent are falling into place. We just need to get plans for Ramsgate Port further forward, and I must say at this point, that hoping for a ferry, however nominally desirable is becoming ‘pie in the sky’. I may have concerns about energy policy, based upon our supposed 100% reliance on unreliable renewables but I’m not opposed to the concept that there is a role to play in the mix of old and new technologies to make up the jigsaw of the whole.

And so I am looking at more exciting job creating opportunities around the ‘green hub’ proposal as part of the Levelling Up £21m allocated to Ramsgate, concentrating on skills in the new energy sector which are not being met. I hope to bring together a new consortium, with even more funding to put on the table to the Thanet Levelling Up board and start to turn the page on a costly but redundant port facility.

18 Comments

  1. Craig,youve rewritten history. Thanet parkway project was originally nothing to do with HOUSING according to consultation papers. You and co conspirators hid the concreting over of cliffs end greenfields from the villagers.

  2. With a salary of in excess of 16000 plus expenses, government pension, and all the government allowances, possibly a works pension, and private pension. Must be great to be a Kent councillor when so many normal people and pensioners are struggling. Do it for the people ?? councillors of all partys are just laughing at the public.

  3. Mackinley can’t even get the price right he thinks 35 million when everyone else is saying more than 40 plus million was spent on the total waste of a train station. He like all other Tories are not listening to the people. Please please don’t vote Tory, 13 years lives being destroyed by rich idiots lining there own pockets

  4. You have got that mixed up with MP’s Paul Link, they get a generous pension no matter how long they were an MP, a subsidised restaurant, transport, and any amount of other perks, even when they are no longer an MP!

  5. Paul, if you think im not worth £300 a week fair enough, but i do not get a pension after being a councillor unlike m p s. I do agree some county councillor’s do not earn their ALLOWANCE

    • Mr Lewis – no you are not worth £300 a week or any of you . Much more than my state pension which I paid contributions for since 1963!! I would have respect for you people if I thought you represented value for money. A complete waste of money.

  6. Mackinlay says that Manston is his “preferred future use as an airport”. His grammar is definitely dodgy, but not the only dodgy -or dodgy-seeming, at least- thing connected with a) Thanet parkway and b) the proposal for an airport on the outskirts of Ramsgate.

  7. Forty four million pound borrowed for White Elephant Station, so once you include interest charges it’s a lot more than that.
    As regards councillors allowance, these were fixed by the Tory government but if you’re not happy about Barry Lewis, you could always stand yourself and see how many people vote for you!

  8. As always, comment veers off to the right without hitting the issues. KCC is not going to be saved by cutting Cllr allowances, no matter how satisfying that may feel.I have no particular political view on cllr allowances, but having done the job, I can tell you doing all the ward work, which is 90% of the work, can be overwhelming.
    Keyboard warriors who do nothing but carp and moan from the sidelines ought to give it a try,before they engage in rubbishing cllrs. Of course some Cllrs are a waste of space, but Barry for all his faults is not one of them.You may not agree with his views but that does not give you licence to comment about a job of which you know very little. Mackinlay on the other hand is worthy of criticism. Thanet Parkway will continue to bite all those who supported and funded this noddle headed scheme.
    Mackinlay’s aberrant views on climate change and almost everything else is well, embarrassingly lacking in perspicacity and intelligence.How such a poorly qualified individual can hold office for so long is testament to the shocking state of politics and parliament, in the 21st century.Those who elected someone, who even this zombie govt, considers unsuitable for high office, ought to hang their heads in shame.The last 13 years have been a succession of poorly thought out policies, interspersed with stupidity,periods of utter madness and incompetence.All that can be said of the present administration is that it is not quite as bad as it predecessors,but in its indolence, problems are beginning to build up.

  9. Mackinlay’s silence on the UK government’s total failure to secure any new offshore wind capacity is deafening. How on Earth is the Govt supposed to meet their target of 50GW worth of offshore wind capacity when they can’t even attract businesses to build new sites? Both wind and solar are still far cheaper forms of energy than gas (up by 100%), despite the recent rise in the cost of renewables (up by about 40% and attributable to inflation and supply chain issues), so you’d expect the Government to be relying on a significant expansion of renewables for our energy needs. Instead, they are obsessed with expensive fossil fuels which only make the climate crisis worse and impact on our ability to go decarbonised by 2035 and fully net zero by 2050 (see the 2015 Paris Agreement). If you think that renewable energy is not cost effective, why has your government set a target it is now flouting as part of their plans for net zero by 2050? Why even build them at all if they only provide a small fraction of the energy we need to live on? Yet there they are, providing safe and clean energy for all to use. The Govt’s frank willingness to stall vital progress towards ensuring the safety of our own planet by setting their prices at a rate that makes it economically infeasible for business to grow the UK’s offshore wind capacity is reckless and reveals the utter economic incompetence of the Tory Government.

  10. Not content with cheerleading for the ongoing disaster that was Brexit, Craig’s new favourite cause is another massive act of local and national self-harm: constantly churning out misinformation and doing his level best to destroy the renewables and wind energy sector. He’s like a pound shop Don Quixote, tilting at windmills.

    And this despite the fact his own constituency is home to one of the largest wind farms in the world, not to mention major industry employers and players such as Vattenfall and London Array. These are future facing, growth sectors that any other local MP would be bending over backwards to support and encourage more inward investment and growth from. Not Craig. He’d rather give his backing to Tony Freudmann – a man with a 30 year history of abject failure on his CV – and RSP, with nothing to show in its accounts other than £33m in debt to a mystery offshore entity.

    Craig childishly selects moronic stats to trash the renewable energy sector – like picking a specific day/time with low wind as if this proves anything. Fact is, in the first quarter of 2023, wind power overtook fossil fuels and generated more energy than gas, (See https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/british-wind-power-overtakes-gas-first-time-q1-2023-report-2023-05-10/ ).

    Thanet deserves better. We deserve an MP who will fight for us and fight for genuine high growth, future facing, renewables industries setting up and operating in Thanet, NOT fight against them. We deserve an MP who shows a little more pride in the towns in this constituency and who we can also feel proud of, rather than cringe and hang our heads in shame every time he opens his mouth or posts on here, on Twitter or in any media outlet foolish enough or desperate enough to give any airtime to his increasingly bizarre and ill-informed views.

    How much longer do we have to endure this man as our MP? What has he actually done for Thanet? Roll on GE2024 and let’s finally see the back of him.

    • The answer to that Jason is nothing, and he doesn’t even live in Thanet! Him and his other Thanet Chocolate MP Gale are trying to promote Manston because they think it will win them extra votes at the next election. Don’t be fooled, these 2 are traitors to Thanet, as cargo aircraft flying in at less than 300 meters high over Ramsgate Harbour will kill off the hospitality trade, and devalue property!

  11. I wonder why Craig doesn’t mention that the minister for transport, Huw Merriman came down specially for the opening of Thanet Parkway. I hope its not resentment on Crsigs part thst Hyw , who entered parliament the same time as Craig, has scooted up the ministerial career ladder, while Craig is still slipping off the bottom rung.

    • I wonder why he doesn’t also mention that he runs a freight airline transport company called Mama Airline Limited when he talks up & supports Manston? Guess it must always just slip his mind & clearly there is zero conflict of interest there.

  12. Craig is only interested in things he has a financial interest in.

    He is a lazy MP even by current standards. People are not queuing up to say “he really helped me do (XYZ) or fought my cause on (xyz)” like almost all MPs (including Gale) because he doesn’t do this.

    Even if you agree with some of his agendas – he is a terrible local MP.

    Also don’t agree with his agendas he is wrong.

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