22 September 2006
Nuclear Free Local Authorities Condemn 'Sham' Consultation on New Nuclear Stations
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) Steering Committee is advising all local authorities to contest the need for new nuclear generating capacity and object to the proposals contained in a DTI consultation that will dismantle the planning inquiry system and destroy local democratic accountability.
In a briefing paper prepared by the NFLA Legal Adviser, Jamie Woolley,
councils are being advised:
• that the Government is intent on emptying any public inquiry on new nuclear build of any significance other than the consideration of local environmental impacts. This policy has been demanded by the nuclear industry as a prerequisite to investment so as to avoid proper scrutiny of its case;
• that Government’s attempt to curtail debate and the role of the public inquiry in this way is offensive, misguided, potentially unlawful and corrosive of democratic values and the traditions of local participation in planning matters;
• that the conclusion that nuclear is needed has not been arrived at properly, is entirely premature and may constitute an unlawful limitation on the discretion that Government must use in supervising subsequent regulatory decision-making;
• that there has been no proper process of fact gathering, or authentic consultation and that the present DTI consultation is equally inadequate and a sham.
Commenting on Government proposals, the NFLA Legal Adviser said:
"Although the Government appears to have made up its mind on a matter it is now consulting on we nonetheless urge every local council to respond to the DTI and signal strongly a determination to contest the case for new nuclear stations at every opportunity. During the Energy Review earlier this year local government as a whole was particularly strong in its opinion that renewable energy, combined heat and power generation, better energy efficiency and energy saving in homes and workplaces must be prioritised over new nuclear construction."