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Greenpeace court threat may scupper Government’s nuclear plans

25 October 2007
Government plans to build a number of nuclear power stations across the UK are under threat after environmental campaigner, Greenpeace, announced that it will take it to court, according to leaked documents from the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.

Already, the Government has had to readjust their planned time frames for the controversial nuclear scheme after Greenpeace won a High Court ruling that the Government had been far from transparent in its plans to build the power stations by failing to consult the public. In addition, there is a further accusation that the Government’s consultation held on 8 September was biased towards nuclear power; this is being investigated by the Market Research Standards body.

John Sauven, Executive Director of Greenpeace UK comments: "The Government has got it seriously wrong yet again. This consultation has been wilfully misleading, flawed, and its methods are now under investigation by the market research standards body. The only way the Government can make the case for new nuclear power is through misinformation and a liberal dose of spin. So much for Brown’s new politics."

The news comes during National Energy Efficiency Week which hopes to draw UK consumers into being ‘green’ by thinking of ways they can lessen their impact on the environment. Yet this latest energy argument is just one of a number of green topics that are currently being hotly debated between the UK Government and European Union.

High on the eco agenda is the unrealistic target for renewable energy sources set and agreed during Tony Blair’s premiership. The 20 percent target to be attained by 2020 has been difficult to implement as the UK presently generates less than five percent of electricity from renewable sources. When total energy consumption, such as fuel used for heating and transport, is added, as the target demands, that figure falls to around two percent.

What’s more the options to increase the amount of renewables used for transport and heating is limited. Biofuels are one option being considered for transport but this would mean major car engine modifications. However, another suggestion has been the reclassification of nuclear energy as renewable as it does not directly emit greenhouse gases.

Mr Sauven continues: “We now know the government believes we can meet this [renewables] target but Brown still wants to scupper the deal to keep the nuclear industry happy.” The Government plans to go ahead and publish a white paper on nuclear power for December 17.

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