Nuclear Free Local Authorities Press Release

CONSERVATIVE COUNCIL LEADS THE WAY IN OPPOSING NEW NUCLEAR STATIONS

26 February 2007

Conservative controlled West Somerset District Council has cemented opposition to nuclear power in its Local Development Plan. It says it will "...resist the development of further nuclear power generation capacity at Hinkley Point" (1). The move reflects scepticism in some quarters of Conservative Central Office about the role of nuclear power in meeting future energy needs and cutting carbon emissions.

The decision will be a set back to British Energy which is now in talks with EoN (PowerGen), RWE (nPower) and EDF Energy about sharing the £2billion construction cost for a new nuclear station at Hinkley Point on the north Somerset coast. Bipartisan political support between Labour and Conservatives is essential for such large scale and risky projects. Currently Government do not expect any new station to be operating before 2020. At least 3 general elections will be called before then and with public support for nuclear running at about 34% (2) many politicians see nuclear as a vote loser.

Supporting the West Somerset decision, Fife Councillor Mike Rumney, Chair of Nuclear Free Local Authorities (3), said: "Councils across the UK and Ireland of all political persuasions are opposing the development of further nuclear generation capacity. I urge even more to join us and reject the nuclear waste and nuclear risks imposed by nuclear power.

Government is increasingly out of touch with voters on this issue. Earlier this month the High Court censured Government for failing to undertake proper public consultation on whether to support nuclear power. When it consults again, as required by the High Court, then it must do so comprehensively and in a way that genuinely involves the public. I am confident that the public's message to Government will then be that nuclear has no place on the centre ground of British energy policy." [END]

More information: Stewart Kemp 0161 234 3244 or 0777 193 0196

Notes:

  1. West Somerset District Council approved in April 2006, at the close of the Government's Energy Review consultation, its Local Plan (Policy EN/5) opposing new nuclear development. The Plan is valid until April 2009 and states: "...the local planning authority will resist the development of further nuclear power generation capacity at Hinkley Point over and above that already approved." The Council's composition is: Conservative 18, Independent 7, Labour 2, Liberal Democrat 2, Democratic Alliance 2.
  2. An opinion poll commissioned by the Financial Times showed 34% support for new nuclear reactors in the UK . Only 21% supported new reactor construction within 65 miles of their home. (Financial Times 20 November 2006)
  3. Nuclear Free Local Authorities is a growing network of councils across, England , Scotland , Wales , Northern Ireland , and the Republic of Ireland campaigning to reduce nuclear hazards and increase public and environmental protection. For more information visit: http://www.nuclearpolicy.info
Stop Hinkley Logo