New nuclear power station on the cards

The prospect of a new nuclear power station being built in the region came a step closer yesterday, after the prime minister signalled his backing for a new generation of such stations.

The prospect of a new nuclear power station being built in the region came a step closer yesterday, after the prime minister signalled his backing for a new generation of such stations.

Controversial proposals to build a Sizewell C station on the north Suffolk coast have been on the agenda for more than a decade and now Gordon Brown has told business leaders that nuclear power has a role to play in tackling climate change and improving energy security.

Speaking at the national conference of the CBI yesterday, he revealed the government would announce its final decision on nuclear power in the new year, which is expected to back a new generation of stations. It comes after a public consultation on the issue ended.

Greenpeace accused the prime minister of being “obsessed” with nuclear power and said in a statement: “Brown's speech is a re-run of Tony Blair's speech to the CBI two years ago when he called for new nuclear power stations.

“The prime minister last week outlined plans to generate 20pc of our energy from renewable sources; now, just one week later, we are back to the old mantra of nuclear power.

“Declarations like this threaten to strangle the renewables industry before it can even get close to that 2020 target.”

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Suffolk Coastal District Council has recognised the importance of energy efficiency, but insisted local views must be taken into account when considering proposals for a Sizewell C.

Andrew Nunn, cabinet member for the natural environment, said: “What we want are guarantees that the views of local people, and this council that represents them, will have a real influence on the decision. We do not want to lose the right to control the impact any proposed development could have on what is a unique environment around Sizewell. This district's local knowledge and requirements must be taken into account.”

The council has argued there should be no rewriting of the rule book to allow plans to be fast-tracked and has identified a number of local issues it feels must be taken into account before any permission is granted.

This includes the fact the existing Sizewell site is within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), on the Heritage Coast and close to internationally important sites for wildlife.

A spokesman added: “There are concerns that any new nuclear plant should be restricted in output so that it can use the existing transmission lines at Sizewell rather than need new power lines and pylons to be erected in the surrounding countryside.

“The council also wants the possible effects of coastal erosion at the site, and north and south of it, to be addressed, along with assurances that disruption caused by the construction process is kept to a minimum and that generous compensation is available for the community.”

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