It was my pleasure to host a reception in the House of Commons last week to highlight our region’s compelling bid to host the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) facility.

Moorside – on land next to Sellafield - is on a shortlist of five sites to locate the first-of-a-kind nuclear commercial fusion power plant, and I was joined by community leaders from Copeland – including representatives from bid leaders Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership and Copeland Borough Council – to show our mutual support for the project.

Locating this fusion pilot at Moorside would be a game-changer for both West Cumbria and the wider North West.

It would make our region a magnet for the best scientists and energy leaders from Britain and around the world.

Once again, it will be Cumbria innovating on a global stage, building on the expertise, pioneering spirit and collaboration that has evolved here over decades.

STEP Moorside could make West Cumbria the ‘Silicon Valley’ of clean energy generation.

The pilot will demonstrate how clean, abundant energy from fusion technology can be the foundation of the UK’s energy security, knowledge that we can then export overseas.

In doing so, it’ll create new jobs and opportunities for the Cumbrian communities, which have embraced and propelled industry forward over the years.

I’m strongly backing the bid for Moorside and the important role that it can play in the future energy mix.

Cumbria is already a net exporter of electricity to the rest of the UK and this would really take this to the next level.

The UKAEA is making a recommendation on a preferred site to Government, with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) scheduled to make the final decision in later 2022.