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Government’s nuclear plans declared unlawful

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High Court Judge Jeremy Sullivan has thwarted Tony Blair’s plans for a new generation of nuclear power stations, branding the government’s consultation on nuclear power “seriously flawed” and “procedurally unfair”.
Winning its bid to make the government rethink its nuclear programme, environmental campaigner Greenpeace has been granted an order quashing the decision to build the new stations.
Ministers had said the energy review, launched in January 2006, was only part of an ongoing process which would ensure full consultation. It published The Energy Challenge, which said “new nuclear power stations would make a significant contrinution to meeting our energy policy goals”.
In court, Greenpeace objected to a failure on the government’s part to present clear proposals and information on key issues, such as the disposal of radioactive waste and building costs. The Judge agreed the information given on waste had been “not merely inadequate, but also misleading”.
Liberal Democrat shadow environment secretary, Chris Huhne MP, was delighted with the result: “You can not perform a U-turn on nuclear power, as Tony Blair did between the last two government statements on energy policy, without a proper debate and a full discussion of the options.”
Parliament’s Trade and Industry select committee chairman Peter Luff, called the win a “hollow victory” for Greenpeace, but added the government had only itself to blame, having failed to deal with radioactive waste legacy issues in the past, and initially ruling out an expansion of nuclear power in a 2003 energy white paper.
Alan Duncan, trade and industry spokesman for the Conservative Party, said the ruling showed the government to be “fundamentally deceitful”, and the Labour party had “no intention” of consulting widely in the energy review.
A spokesperson for British Energy, the UK’s largest power generator, said it would continue to fight for new nuclear facilities.
Vincent de Rivas, chief excutive of EDF Energy commented: “The real focus for all of us must remain the best way to deliver an energy mix for our country which will help tackle climate change at the same time as ensuring the UK has a secure and afforcdable supply of energy. We are convinced on the need for a diverse range of energy sources including all types of low carbon generation, including nuclear, linked to a strong effort on energy efficiency.”
The government, which receved permission to appeal the decision, is still likely to publish draft legislation on its energy policy this month.

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