7 June 2007
Barrett slams Government over lack of ambition for renewable energy
John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, today slammed the Government for showing a crippling lack of ambition in renewable energy over the likely decision to press ahead with a new generation of nuclear power stations.
Speaking in the Commons Chamber during Trade and Industry questions Mr Barrett accused the Government of undermining future research and investment in renewable energy by backing nuclear power.
Mr Barrett said:
“In 2003 the then DTI Secretary said that embarking on a new generation of nuclear power stations would, and I quote “have guaranteed that we would not make the necessary investment and effort in both energy efficiency and renewables. Does the Secretary of State share this assessment today and would he agree with me that in Scotland in particular, with the natural resources at our disposal, every pound that is spent on nuclear power is a pound that should have been spent on renewables?”
Speaking after the exchange, Mr Barrett said:
“Nuclear is a tried, tested and failed technology with far higher costs than the renewable alternatives or and energy efficiency measures. In 2002 alone the Government spent £410 million bailing out the nuclear industry and yet the government seems intent on pressing ahead with a new programme of nuclear power stations.
“The Government talks a good talk on renewable energy but in reality has displayed a crippling lack of ambition. It is time for minister to accept that pushing ahead with nuclear power will seriously undermine the potential for an increase in renewable energy and energy efficiency measures.
“We need a Government who are serious about tackling climate change, and delivering a clean, green and safe energy strategy for the decades ahead. The only way to achieve this is by ruling out nuclear power."