(the full submission can be downloaded here)

October 12th 2015

 

The legal requirement for the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change to review the original 2005 decision to include nuclear power in the UK’s future energy programme has been set out in a document prepared by members of Together Against Sizewell C (TASC), and has been delivered to Secretary of State Amber Rudd on two occasions over the past two months. At the time of writing, TASC has received no reply from Ms Rudd.

 

The document, (Nuclear Power: New Evidence: A call for a full-scale statutory review of the Overarching National Policy Statement for Energy (EN-1) made pursuant to Section 6 of the Planning Act 2008 – attached) demonstrates unequivocally that the Secretary of State has a legal obligation to review the policy which was derived using 2005 data and that the accuracy and importance of that data has significantly changed in the last decade to the point where it no longer justifies the choice of nuclear power as part of the energy mix. In fact, using figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s own ‘Pathways’ website, TASC has shown that, far from helping to achieve government energy objectives, the inclusion of the nuclear component will:

  • risk ‘the lights going out’;

  • waste £billions;

  • be less effective in meeting energy policy objectives than a more ‘demand-side-led’ strategy; and

  • leave the ‘urgent need’ for new electricity supplies that the Government claims are necessary unmet.

TASC has undertaken and completed the task which DECC has now invited people to carry out: i.e. review its energy ‘Pathways’ options and to arrive at their own energy mix while meeting climate change, cost and infrastructure targets. The pathways constructed by TASC all avoid a nuclear component, the inclusion of which has been deemed essential by successive governments. The TASC pathways, based entirely on DECC’s own data, demonstrate that the reverse is true. Far from making government policy easier to achieve, nuclear power’s inclusion in the energy mix will hamper successful policy implementation.

The pathways identified by the TASC document, will, without exception:

  • cost the country less than every single government Pathway;

  • more successfully ensure energy security (‘keep the lights on’) than every government Pathway because they rely on less imported energy overall, less imported fossil fuels and less imported oil

and gas in particular;

  • use less energy overall and less electricity in particular;

  • involve a (slightly) greater diversity of energy supply;

  • more successfully achieve the need to balance demand and supply of electricity at all times;

  • achieve an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050;

  • rely on less use of fossil fuels;

  • ensure warmer homes at less cost;

  • cause less air pollution and less damage to human health.

In a cover letter to Amber Rudd, TASC requested a reply to their document within two weeks of its delivery. TASC has received no reply from Amber Rudd to date.

Should the Secretary of State refuse to acknowledge the legal imperative conferred on her by Section 6 of the Planning Act 2008 to review the National Policy Statement EN-1, she will be in receipt of a letter from TASC lawyers asking her to justify her silence on this matter since the 7th July when she was originally sent the document.

Pete Wilkinson, Chairman of TASC, said today, ‘The government has a legal obligation to justify its increasingly bizarre and incomprehensible obsession with nuclear power which is undeniably a costly and environmentally damaging option which we can do without, as our document and as DECC’s own data demonstrate.

‘It has fallen to TASC to pursue Amber Rudd to ensure the government meets its legal obligations to review the National Policy statements for Energy. We expect a swift and constructive reply from Ms Rudd as we do not wish to invoke the force of the law. However, if required, we will do so in the interests of putting this country on a path to a sustainable, equitable, affordable and environmentally benign energy programme which will avoid further security risks such as the red alert status currently in force at Sizewell B and which will spare host communities the disruption caused by a protracted construction period, the prospect of leaving their homes in the event of an accident and the need to pass on to their children the nuclear waste legacy which we will create if we allow this misguided policy to come to fruition.’

TASC will send yet another copy of the report to Amber Rudd in the near future. It has also been sent to the Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change and is being widely distributed to opposition political parties, media and anti-nuclear organisations.