The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answers on 21st March 2022:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans further to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions imposed on Russia, what plans they have to strengthen energy security in the UK.
Lord Callanan (Con): The UK does not face questions around security of supply but of high prices. Unlike other countries in Europe, Great Britain is not dependent on Russian gas; in 2021 it made up less than 4% of UK supply. Great Britain benefits from highly diverse and flexible sources of gas supply and a diverse electricity mix, which ensures that households, businesses and industry get the energy they need. The Government continues to work closely with key international and industry partners to monitor gas supply and demand, and the Government remains confident that Great Britain’s energy security will be maintained.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the world has seen volatile oil and gas prices, which were already at historic highs. Further energy price rises cannot be ruled out, given Russia’s aggressive actions. The energy price cap insulates millions of customers from volatile global gas prices during the winter months and will continue to do so. Great Britain’s exposure to volatile gas prices reinforces the importance of this government’s plans for a strong renewable energy sector to strengthen future energy security and resilience.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions imposed on Russia, what plans they have to strengthen food security in the UK.
Lord Benyon (Con): Recognising the importance of food security, in the Agriculture Act 2020 the Government made a commitment to produce an assessment of our food security at least once every three years. The first UK Food Security Report was published in December 2021, and shows that, overall, the UK has a highly resilient food supply. As we have seen over recent times, the food supply has coped well in responding to unprecedented challenges.
The UK’s food import dependency on the Eastern European region is very low, so Defra does not expect any significant direct impact of this conflict on UK food supply. Ministers meet regularly with food industry figures, who remain confident in the supply chain. We will continue to speak with the industry to understand any potential pressures.
Defra has increased its engagement with industry through various forums to understand significant impacts of the Russian invasion on individual industries and supply chains in Defra’s sectors.
Defra is well-versed in responding to disruption. Extensive work in this space has reinforced the long-standing view that the most effective response to food supply disruption is industry led, with appropriate support and enablement from Government.