22 February 2007
Barrett criticises Government over nuclear folly
John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, today attacked the Government for attempting to stifle the debate on nuclear power.
Alistair Darling trade and industry secretary, today admitted to MPs that the government’s plans for new nuclear power stations will have to be delayed after a High Court judge last week ordered Tony Blair to rethink his flagship energy reform.
The Court ruled that the original consultation conducted by the government before deciding to replace Britain’s ageing fleet of nuclear reactors had been “misleading”, “seriously flawed” and “procedurally unfair” and failed to deal with the issues of waste disposal or the cost of building news plants.
However, Tony Blair has made it clear that the High Court findings would not affect the Government policy. A new energy consultation will now be published later this year.
Speaking from Westminster, John Barrett said:
"The Government has spent millions of pounds bailing out the nuclear industry. As the High Court pointed out, for the consultation to make so little mention of the economics of building new nuclear plants is plainly ridiculous.
“With the Prime Minister having reiterated that his energy policy will not change, the Minister’s promise today of a new consultation rings very hollow indeed.”
“What we need is a genuine consultation, not another rubber stamping process with the Government ignoring anyone who holds a different view.”
The case against the Government was brought to the High Court by Greenpeace, who alleged that the Energy Review consultation was flawed. Greenpeace accused the Government of failing to present clear proposals and information on key issues surrounding a new generation of nuclear power.
In a statement today, the Secretary of State announced that a new energy consultation will be published, along with the Government’s Energy White Paper, in May this year.
Tony Blair commented on 15th February that the High Court verdict “won’t affect the policy at all”.