Green groups pull out of nuclear power consultation

Environmental groups have pulled out of a nationwide consultation on whether or not to build new nuclear power stations in Britain calling it a "sham".

Greenpeace lawyers are now said to be examining the possibility of court action to overturn this second consultation as they did the first.

John Sauven, executive director, said: “This new consultation is a sham and a fraud. It manages somehow to be just as skewed as the last and seems to have been designed to ignore the views of the public while simultaneously telling people what they should think.

“This government can’t get nuclear power past a fair consultation because the policy is environmentally, financially and scientifically flawed.”

Other groups who have withdrawn include CND, WWF, Friends of the Earth and the Green Alliance – a leading green lobbying coalition.

With most existing nuclear power stations due to close by 2023 the government says its “preliminary view” is new ones should be built to secure energy supplies and cut carbon emissions.

John Hutton, secretary of state for the Department for Business and Enterprise, said: “It is right that we debate the pros and cons – our livelihoods and the future health of the planet depend on us getting this right.”

Last weekend (Saturday, September 8) more than 1,000 people took part in nine public meetings across the country as part of the consultation.

But the green groups described the meetings as “no more than a government public relations device”.

Earlier this year Greenpeace won a High Court ruling overturning an earlier consultation deemed to have been “seriously flawed” and “manifestly unfair”.

A new consultation began in May and is to end on October 10.

But a Greenpeace dossier released last week argues the replacement consultation is designed to deliver nuclear new build regardless of public opinion.

It also condemns the consultation materials as “misleading, inaccurate and biased towards nuclear power”.

“It’s not too late for ministers to salvage this process and avoid another legal showdown,” said Mr Sauven. “But if they won’t listen to the public they might once again be forced to listen to a legal mauling from the High Court.”

David Gibbs

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