Tory shadow energy and climate change secretary, Greg Clark, claimed the government has had ‘its head in the sand on this issue for 12 years’.

Mr Clark fears the strain put on the system by the current cold snap increases the chances of interruptions to the system.

He said: “I have repeatedly warned that Britain lacks the essential back-up plans needed for situations like this one.”

“This alert is just a taste of what’s to come as a result of Labour’s negligence”, added Mr Clarke, citing the National Grid’s prediction that the ‘likelihood to interrupt’ gas supplies is ‘high’ in the North West and the East Midlands.

The National Grid responded that supplies were not going to run out.

Luke Walsh

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie