Westminster in nuclear fall-out with SNP

By Alice Cannet

David Miliband has criticised the Scottish government after it vowed to prevent Westminster from building new nuclear power stations in Scotland.

Speaking on BBC radio Scotland, the British Energy minister urged SNP to revise their nuclear stance and said the decision was a shame for Scottish industry.

During his visit to Hunterston nuclear station in Ayrshire yesterday, Miliband said: “Credible solutions to the challenge of climate change require we use the full range of low-carbon fuels.

“Even previous opponents of nuclear power have accepted that it is wrong to rule out new nuclear in these circumstances.

“Unfortunately the SNP continue to oppose new nuclear, even though the Scottish people are supportive.”

On Wednesday, Westminster published a list of 11 sites where new power stations would be built. It includes sites in England and Wales but none in Scotland.

The plans set out a new generation of nuclear stations built on the sites of existing or formerly active stations. The nominated sites include Hartlepool, Heysham, Kirksanton, Sellafield, Braystones, Oldbury, Hinkley Point, Dungeness, Bradwell and Sizewell in England and Wylfa in Wales.

Scotland’s use of its planning power to block new nuclear power stations is perfectly legal, but Westminster has suggested the decision as undermining its energy policy.

Westminster also reminded Scotland that the power generated from English nuclear plants is crucial to maintain electricity flowing north of the border.

Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmond, hopes to revive the economy and create jobs from wind and tidal farms sources. A fervent green energy supporter he insists renewable sources are enough to cover Scotland’s power needs alone.

SNP energy spokesman Mike Weir supported this view, saying: “There is more than enough green and renewable potential in Scotland to provide a diverse, low carbon electricity supply, so the argument that we need nuclear is totally redundant.”