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Vigorous debate over nuclear sites

If the Government endorses a programme to build new nuclear generating plants, there are a number of measures that might be taken to improve the planning system. These measures could have implications for a number of forms of development.

The Prime Minister has pushed the debate on energy and the UK's declining energy capability back into the spotlight after a series of announcements. So what does it mean for the planning system and what are the likely impacts for Yorkshire?

Tony Blair's position on new nuclear plants was made clear during his recent speech to a CBI annual dinner where he indicated that the building of a new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK was "back on the agenda with a vengeance".

This follows his announcement that a review will be taking place to consider all energy options, including civil nuclear power. But we won't have to wait long to find out its conclusions as the findings are expected to be reported in July.

If the Government endorses a programme to build new nuclear generating plants, there are a number of measures that might be taken to improve the planning system. These measures could have implications for a number of forms of development.

If the findings of the review are positive towards nuclear power, it is estimated that between six and 10 new power stations would need to be commissioned to replace the current ageing nuclear plant.

But these don't just spring up... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The Prime Minister has pushed the debate on energy and the UK's declining energy capability back into the spotlight after a series of announcements. So what does it mean for the planning system and what are the likely impacts for Yorkshire?
 
Tony Blair's position on new nuclear plants was made clear during his recent speech to a CBI annual dinner where he indicated that the building of a new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK was "back on the agenda with a vengeance".
 
This follows his announcement that a review will be taking place to consider all energy options, including civil nuclear power. But we won't have to wait long to find out its conclusions as the findings are expected to be reported in July.
 
If the Government endorses a programme to build new nuclear generating plants, there are a number of measures that might be taken to improve the planning system. These measures could have implications for a number of forms of development.
 
If the findings of the review are positive towards nuclear power, it is estimated that between six and 10 new power stations would need to be commissioned to replace the current ageing nuclear plant.
 
But these don't just spring up overnight and the consent process is lengthy and complicated.

Sizewell, which is the UK's "newest" nuclear plant, took around 15 years from conception to commissioning, back in 1995, because the existing consents process for new nuclear power stations in this country is so detailed and complex.
 
Not only is planning permission required, there are other detailed consents and licensing requirements for a nuclear site administered by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Health & Safety Executive.
 
Clearly, the public will expect that a nuclear power station is planned and built to the highest possible specifications to ensure that it is safe. However, it is worth emphasising that this process doesn't currently lend itself to arresting the decline in the country's declining energy capability.
 
Finding the right location for a nuclear power station is another factor that is likely to slow up the planning process. All new energy projects, whether they are wind farms or nuclear power stations, lead to a lot of debate, particularly among local communities.

There is much conjecture that new nuclear sites will be proposed on the sites of existing nuclear facilities. However, there is likely to be significant work required to ensure that such sites remain suitable for this controversial form of development,

The existing planning consents system can be very slow and the public will need to be satisfied that any proposals for new nuclear power stations are safe.
 
However, unless the consents system is streamlined, the planned closure of existing nuclear power stations and delays in bringing forward new generating plant could affect the security of electricity supplies in the UK.
 
In Yorkshire, there is probably less likelihood of a nuclear power station being proposed. However, regional planning policy requires Yorkshire and the Humber to make a contribution to the provision of renewable energy.
 
The region already has its wind farms and others are currently being planned and built in the region. Knabs Ridge, near Harrogate, is the latest site where planning permission has been granted for a wind farm containing eight wind turbines.
 
As the debate rumbles on, many are calling on the Government to do a full assessment to establish the most suitable nuclear energy plants. This might be the only sensible option available to establish how we can all contribute to ensuring that our supplies of electricity remain secure.
 
David Goodman is a partner at Hammonds in Leeds.


Source: http://www.yorkshiretoday.c...

JUN 1 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/2880-vigorous-debate-over-nuclear-sites
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