A ‘surge of investment’ in new energy sources will be needed to move the United Kingdom away from fossil fuels in the decades ahead, said Mr Huhne.

Mr Huhne was speaking as the Government launched a consultation on the coalition’s revised draft national policy statements on energy.

Under the plans half the new energy generating capacity built in the UK by 2025 will come from renewable sources.

With a ‘significant proportion’ of the remaining half coming from nuclear power or the still largely unproved Carbon Capture and Storage (CSS).

Mr Huhne confirmed eight sites as potentially suitable for new nuclear power stations, but ruled out three sites for the development of new nuclear power by 2025.

This came alongside the publication of the feasibility study which has ruled out creating a tidal energy project in the Severn estuary.

Mr Huhne said: “I’m fed up with the stand-off between advocates of renewables and of nuclear which means we have neither.

“We urgently need investment in new and diverse energy sources to power the UK. We’ll need renewables, new nuclear, fossil fuels with CCS, and the cables to hook them all up to the Grid as a large slice of our current generating capacity shuts down.

“The market needs certainty to make this investment happen, and we are determined to clear every obstacle in the way of this programme.

“So today we are setting out our energy need which will help guide the planning process, so that if sound proposals come forward in sensible places, they will not face unnecessary hold-ups. And I am making clear that new nuclear will be free to contribute as much as possible with the onus on developers to pay for the clean-up.”

On the Severn energy scheme Mr Huhne added: “There is no strategic case at this time for public funding of a scheme to generate energy in the Severn estuary

Following Mr Huhne’s announcement PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), senior consultant, Rebecca Holyhead, said: “This is good news for the UK’s nuclear industry and marks an important step in the move towards new build.

“This, coming alongside a commitment to CCS and renewable energy, increases the UK’s ability to meet its growing energy needs.”

Luke Walsh

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