Renew On Line (UK) 67

Extracts from NATTA's journal
Renew, Issue 167 May-June 2007
   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         

1. UK-2GW of wind and more
2. Energy White Paper delayed
3. Climate Bill emerges
4. £13m Scottish Marine Energy programme
5. Low Carbon Buildings Programme
6. Carbon Emissions and Offset Code
7. More RO squabbles: OFGEM opposes RO
8 UK roundup: Bio-energy
9. EU roundup
10 World roundup
11. Nuclear News

2. Judicial Review
delays Energy White Paper

The White Paper on Energy, originally expected by the end of March, has been delayed following the High Court Ruling obtained by Greenpeace (see later) on the Energy Review public consultation process. The Financial Times (Feb. 16th) commented that the ruling ‘caused chaos in the government as Downing Street and the DTI scrambled to interpret the implications for the energy review’s backing of new nuclear plants’. Nevertheless the FT claimed that ‘Ministers will try to rush through a new public consultation on nuclear power in an effort to keep Tony Blair’s energy reforms on track’ and that ‘the hope in the DTI was that the consultation could take place in parallel with the work on the white paper’.

The White paper is also expected to contain proposals to promote renewables and energy efficiency, but the FT felt that it ‘may now have to be buttressed with a new set of papers that spell out the economic costs involved with building nuclear power stations and, perhaps most controversially, the issue of radioactive waste disposal’.

But Tony Blair seemed clear on the final outcome of the new consultation: asked if the High Court ruling would put on hold plans to build more nuclear stations, he told the BBC: ‘No. This won’t affect the policy at all. It’ll affect the process of consultation, but not the policy.’

This arguably rather bald statement was subsequently only slightly softened by Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling, who, announcing a new consultation exercise, said that ‘we continue to believe, subject of course to consultation, there is a case for having new nuclear stations as one of the options companies should consider’. He noted that ‘it is now likely that the White Paper and the new consultation will be published in early May.’

He said that the consultation document would bring together the evidence and analysis collected and published by the government since the energy review began in Nov. 2005 ‘so that people can take an informed view on whether nuclear power should continue to be part of our energy mix’. He added that ‘this will enable the government to make a decision on the future of nuclear, and certain other issues arising from the White paper, in the autumn’.

Energy Review Consultation ‘unlawful’

In Feb. Greenpeace won a high court ruling on the governments consultation process last year on nuclear power. In a very embarrassing ruling for the government, Mr Justice Sullivan said the review process used to decide whether to support the construction of new plants was ‘very seriously flawed’ and ‘procedurally unfair’.

Greenpeace had claimed that the government had reneged on its promise to carry out “the fullest public consultation” before making its decision. It said the government failed to present clear proposals/information on key issues such as the disposal of radioactive waste and the financial costs of building new plants. Mr Justice Sullivan agreed, saying the information given on waste was ‘not merely inadequate but also misleading’. He added that information of substance did not emerge until after the consultation period had ended. He granted Greenpeace an order quashing the decision as ‘unlawful’ and said ‘something has gone clearly and radically wrong’ with the consultation.

Greenpeace commented : ‘It’s stunningly obvious that there are more efficient, effective, safer and cheaper ways than nuclear power to meet energy demands and cut climate change emissions. A legitimate energy review would have delivered very different conclusions’

Industry secretary Alistair Darling, said the energy review was only part of an ongoing process which would ensure full consultation, but with Tony Blair making it very clear that he saw more nuclear as essential, and with most of the Cabinet, it seems, in agreement, it’s hard, sadly, to see the point of further consultation. As noted in Renew 163, the DTI’s summary of responses to the last consultation in relation to which options should be favoured (see below), indicated that most respondents were clearly anti-nuclear. But that didn’t stop the government coming out in favour of new nuclear. But perhaps views can change...
The DTI’s summary of views submitted to the 2006 Energy Review included data (p.37) on the choices of technology by respondents:
Solar HW: 380 Nuclear -
Solar PV: 420 8 for, 10 against,
Wind: 430 so overall-2
Biofuels: 410
Tidal: 390 from:
Micropower: 385

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