Plaid Cymru, the Party Of Wales, news, comment, opinion and observations from the South East corner of the old historic county of Gwent...
Saturday, 13 June 2009
TAKING PART IN THE NUCLEAR CONVERSATION
Sometimes the differences between what goes on in Wales and what goes on in Scotland are pretty blatant - it is becoming increasingly clear that we got a seriously flawed devolution settlement. The Scottish Government will be a full party to any discussions about the construction of any new generation of Nuclear power plants in Scotland and along with the Scottish people it will play a full part in the planning process.
In Wales things are quite different, the National Assembly may end up as a coat holder, actioning decisions made elsewhere in relation to Energy Policy in general and Nuclear Energy in particular. Now this fact should be a matter of serious concern, especially when it comes to Nuclear Energy developments that may take place within or near to Wales - any planning processes related to Energy provision should take place with the full involvement of the people of Wales and their elected representatives and alternative energy generation schemes should be fully (and seriously considered) as well - this may not however, be the case.
While the Scottish parliament and the Scottish people will be full participants in the process of deciding how and where any nuclear power stations may be sited in Scotland, in Wales, the Welsh people and their elected representatives may well end up as impotent onlookers in any discussions as long as Westminster dictates Wales’s energy strategy. New Labour’s consistent refusal to devolve control of planning consent for 50MW power generation projects to the National Assembly damages our economic prospects for only with complete planning control over power generation can Wales generate long–term sustainable job opportunities.
As far as the somewhat distracted dying New Labour Government (if one can use that word) is concerned, we have a a clear case of the lights are on but nobody being at home and there are no new fresh original ideas about solving our energy problems. Back in 2008, Gordon Brown’s cabinet’s confirmation of Tony Blair’s decision to back the nuclear option to solve the UK energy needs was both disappointing and short-sighted, but, was not unexpected. By making nuclear power its priority this failing Brown Government has effectively abandoned any serious attempts to conserve energy, and has significantly undermined its own commitments to tackling climate change.
When it comes to power generation there are real job opportunities here that need to be fully grasped; the renewable energy sector should play an immensely important role in creating more green energy jobs. We need to create a decentralised power generation system which will create sustainable long-term jobs for local people, not damage the environment and contribute to providing our local communities with a long-term viable economic energy future. Now is definitely the time for control of energy policy to be devolved to the National Assembly and time for some original non nuclear thinking and a fundamental sea change in attitude from all levels of government in Wales towards energy policy.
Useful Weblinks and Documents
Department of Trade and Industry (originally released Wednesday 23rd May 2007)
This discussion paper, produced in April 2006, reviewed previous policy and practices for sitting of nuclear power stations and considered sitting issues that would be relevant to any new nuclear build.