GMB energy workers’ union warns that spy poison attack shows UK can’t rely on Russia to keep the lights on

GMB, the energy union, has warned that the spy poisoning murder attempt shows the ‘utter folly’ of relying on Russia to keep Britain’s lights on.

Prime Minster Mrs May has announced a series of measures against Russia after it failed to meet the Brit-Govt deadline to explain how a nerve agent was used to poison a former double agent in the UK.

Russia has denied involvement in the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, Wilts.

But GMB has questioned how effective the sanctions will be when half of our liquid gas imports this year have come from Russia, and Russian companies provided six per cent of British gas consumption in 2017

Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, said: “You’d be forgiven for thinking you’re watching an episode of Spooks.

“There is a real danger here for the Government, and one that is avoidable, in terms of energy independence. 

“We need a serious strategy and investment in UK energy to make sure we can stand on our own two feet.

“We cannot and should not be beholden to foreign powers who could turn the tap off, having a huge impact on people, communities, businesses and the whole economy.  

A proper energy policy would have the benefit of creating and securing thousands of skilled and high premium jobs – it’s common sense on every level.”

Half of Britain’s imports of liquified natural gas so far this year have come from Russia, according to the Financial Times.

The UK has received three LNG shipments from Siberia this year, along with three from elsewhere in the world. The FT notes that these shipments make up only 3-5% of UK demand so far in 2018.

Meanwhile, in a new report, entitled ‘The Future of Gas: How gas can support a low carbon future’, National Grid says that it is not feasible to switch over to electric heating on the scale required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80 per cent of 1990 levels by the middle of this century.

Stuart Fegan, GMB National Officer, commented: “This is entirely consistent with what GMB has been saying for years – gas heats 85% of UK homes and provides nearly half of our electricity – so we need to make sure our supply is safe, secure, and in our own hands.

15 Mar 2018

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