There will be no energy rationing in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the UK government has said.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he could “completely” rule out limiting the amount of oil and gas people are allowed to buy.
Earlier this week, after Russia insisted that buyers of its natural gas pay in rubles rather than euros or dollars, Germany and Austria took the first formal steps towards rationing.
The Berlin government said priority would be given to households, hospitals and other critical institutions,
Meanwhile, the Dutch government has said it will urge consumers to use less gas, while Greece has called an emergency supplier meeting.
Asked on BBC One’s Sunday morning show if it was a “good idea” for the UK to look at energy rationing, as Germany has done, Mr Shapps replied: “No, I don’t”.
Pressed on whether he can ‘completely’ rule out such a move in the UK, the Transport Secretary added: ‘Yes I can. This is not the road we want to take.
Earlier in the same show, The Shadow of Labor business and Energy Secretary Jonathan Reynolds said the government “should make those plans and the government should prepare, not necessarily publicly, for this situation.”
He added: “There is a lot of complacency in this country about the relatively lower exposure to Russian gas that we have.
“But we have to bear in mind that part of the supply for this country comes from, for example, Norway or from the liquefied natural gas that goes into the terminals and the wells, it is partly because the Russian gas meets the demands of Central Europe.
“I think what the government should announce is a plan that’s not just buying fossil fuels from one authoritarian regime to another, but this long-term plan on renewables or energy efficiency. nuclear and energy that would make the difference.”
However, Labour’s position changed later. He told the Times Radio an hour later, this rationing “would be a disaster for households and businesses”.
He added: “But the fact that you even ask the question is an indictment of the Conservative energy policy of the past decade.
“We still haven’t had a plan from the government, even though they said it was a priority and an emergency for them.”
Minutes later on LBC, he clarified that Labor believed ‘a successful plan would absolutely mean we didn’t have to consider’ energy rationing.
Later this week, the government will release its much-delayed energy strategy, but there are reports of contention within the cabinet over plans for a big onshore wind expansion.
Asked if planning laws should be relaxed to allow more onshore wind, Mr Shapp told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday: ‘I am not in favor of a big increase in wind farms terrestrial, for fairly obvious reasons – they sit on the hills there and can create something of an eyesore for communities as well as real noise issues.
“So I think for environmental reasons the way forward is largely, not entirely, but largely offshore.”
The Sunday Telegraph has reported that Boris Johnson is preparing to announce plans to extend the government’s commitment to moving forward with new large-scale nuclear power stations this decade.
The newspaper said the plan was to support one by 2024, but the new ambition is believed to be to support the construction of two by 2030.
The move to increase nuclear power generation would be part of a major local energy expansion in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.