Green groups attack planning reforms to fast track plants

The Government is due today (November 9) to publish six draft national policy statements designed to fast-track the building of 'clean' coal, renewable energy and nuclear power stations.

Energy and climate change secretary, Ed Miliband, is due to reveal changes to the planning process which could hurry applications through the, often lengthy, planning process.

Mr Miliband speaking ahead of the announcement said: “We need new nuclear power, new renewable and new and clean coal.

“There are issues with waste from nuclear power, but we are proposing deep underground power stations like they do in Europe.

“We have to go through a process when we put forward a number of sites and I’ll have more to say when I make the formal announcement later today.”

Friends of the Earth voiced concerns the changes will ‘severely limit’ people’s ability to have a say in decisions on major projects.

The group’s executive director, Andy Atkins, said: “The battle against climate change must be at the core of all Government decision-making, especially on massive projects like new power stations and roads.

“The Committee on Climate Change has warned the Government that tougher polices are needed to meet UK carbon budgets.

“The draft National Policy Statements will test claims that the UK is taking a real lead in developing a low-carbon economy ahead of crucial climate negotiations in Copenhagen in a few weeks time.”

Greenpeace’s head of climate and energy campaign, Robin Oakley, said: “This is Miliband’s chance to enter the heavyweights. And he can do this by showing he is willing to tackle the most polluting forms of energy generation.

“A tough regulation to give an iron-clad guarantee that coal pollution is ruled out of our energy system would make Britain and Miliband real clean energy leaders.

“Given the unique role coal plays in causing climate change, building coal stations purely on the basis of an experimental technology could prove to be one of humanity’s greatest gambles.

“And the publication of the draft nuclear National Policy Statement is a reminder of just how many hoops the industry has still to jump through.

“It shows that new nuclear is by no means a done deal. Nuclear is a dangerous and expensive irrelevance to tackling climate change and providing real energy security.

“We don’t need coal or nuclear, because proven green technologies such as wind and combined heat and power stations can secure Britain’s energy needs, create green jobs and slash our emissions.”

Luke Walsh

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie