Catherine pushed the Energy Security & Net Zero Secretary on ensuring Newcastle International Airport is supported in the future phases of their solar farm, following the loss of European Union funding.

Catherine attended the opening of the first phase of Newcastle International Airport’s solar farm on Friday, joining Energy Minister Lord Callanan, Cllr Nick Kemp, Leader of Newcastle City Council and Cllr Tracey Dixon, Leader of South Tyneside Council. She heard about the Airport’s plan for a further three phases of development, aimed at supplying 100% of the Airport’s electricity and meeting their commitment to Net Zero carbon emissions by 2035. These further phases include battery storage, to ensure the project can continue to supply the Airport all-day, and all-year long.

Speaking during Energy Security & Net Zero questions, Catherine highlighted “Last week, I attended the opening of the first phase of a new solar farm at Newcastle Airport. It was 50% funded by the European Regional Development Fund, which post-Brexit, we no longer have access to.”

Catherine added “As the further three phases are vital to ensuring the airport meets its Net Zero target, and the Government can meet its own solar target, what is the Government doing to ensure these further three phases will be supported, in some way, by the Government?”

In response, Energy Security and Net Zero Minister Amanda Solloway pledged to provide more information on the matter.

Following the question, Catherine said:

“Newcastle International Airport is vital for the regional economy providing jobs for our region but also vital trade links across the world. We must ensure that aviation is able to transition and Newcastle International Airport are taking steps to secure a sustainable future and delivering their commitment to Net Zero carbon emissions by 2035, 5 years earlier than the Government requirement for airports.

“However, with the loss of European Regional Development funding, which was critical in achieving this first phase of the solar farm, assurances are needed to secure the future phases of this development.”

“With the Government having their own Net Zero and solar energy targets to meet, they must do more to ensure funding and support is still in place post-Brexit for these vital elements of our renewable energy generation infrastructure.”