Bid to highlight Plymouth's role in marine energy
CALLS have been made at Westminster for a parliamentary debate to highlight Plymouth's contribution to marine energy.
City Tory MP Oliver Colvile, pictured, made the bid after he found that on a recent official trip to Scotland few people were aware of the region's role in harnessing the natural renewable resource.
Boasting world-class expertise and state-of-the-art facilities, Plymouth is at the cutting edge of research in wave and tidal power.
The city is one of three centres that make up the South West Marine Energy Park, seen by the Government as the marine equivalent of California's Silicon Valley.
It already boasts 300 marine-related businesses, employing more than 13,000 people.
Companies working in renewable energy could use the city's facilities such as the dockyard and port, and also tap into a specialist workforce from dockyard staff to graduates with hi-tech skills, Mr Colvile, MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, said.
The £19million Marine Science building at Plymouth University due to open shortly, is seen as a key part of the park.
Housing up to 150 researchers and technicians, it will have a giant tank which will recreate conditions at sea – vital for testing marine energy technologies.
Speaking in Parliament, Mr Colvile said: "Earlier this week, I attended a meeting of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly in Glasgow. One issue discussed was that of marine and renewable energy. It appeared that few people were aware of the role that the South West was playing in delivering that. May we have a debate on this important issue, so that we can promote the South West and its contribution in this area?"
Responding, Commons Leader Andrew Lansley said: "I hope that we will have the opportunity for that debate."
He suggested it could be raised during the passage of the Energy Bill through Parliament.
"The Government attach considerable importance to this matter and have invested more than £17million in testing and academic facilities for marine energy in the South West, and are encouraging the region to become the first UK marine energy park," Mr Lansley added. "I am sure he will want to illustrate that contribution to our future energy requirements and security during our debate on the Energy Bill."