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Nuclear Power

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:16 pm on 22nd October 2002.

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Photo of Mr Brian Wilson Mr Brian Wilson Minister of State (Industry and Energy), Department of Trade and Industry 8:16 pm, 22nd October 2002

I shall do so shortly.

I understand that the Liberal Democrats have a big problem on energy policy. They are against lots of things, including nuclear power, and if all those things were withdrawn from our energy mix, the lights would go out and carbon emissions would rise. Therefore, they must also purport to be in favour of things, however hypothetically, to resolve their dilemma. What could be cleaner and cuddlier for them to support than renewables? As we have again heard, they want to outbid the rest of us on renewable targets.

The problem is that the Liberal Democrats did not reach their current mighty heights by being in favour of things. They got there largely by jumping on every opportunistic local bandwagon that happened to be passing. Notoriously, from my point of view, local bandwagons tend to be against renewable energy schemes rather than in favour of them. That is why, in the real world, two thirds of proposed renewable energy developments never happen and why one leading figure in the wind power industry recently said that three issues were obstructing the growth of renewables—planning, planning and planning.