Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 4:10 pm on 21st February 2007.

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Photo of Nora Radcliffe Nora Radcliffe Liberal Democrat 4:10 pm, 21st February 2007

Apart from its welcoming the High Court judgment, of which I will say more later, the SNP motion is one that I could endorse. The difficulty that I have with the SNP is its somewhat erratic record on some environmental matters. It talks the talk on green energy but, with a few honourable exceptions, consistently opposes wind farms in its own backyards. The SNP supported the Edinburgh trams, then opposed them. It supported the Edinburgh airport rail link, then opposed it. It supported the Glasgow airport rail link, then opposed it. It supported the Borders railway, then criticised it. However, its motion ends with a sensible statement on energy and climate.

It is interesting that all that the recent High Court ruling delivers is more consultation. I am totally frustrated by the time that has been wasted on consultation on nuclear energy to try to get the answer that Tony Blair wants. More consultation will take more time, and it continues to divert Government from pressing ahead with renewable energy, cleaner technologies and energy efficiency. The Sustainable Development Commission's report on nuclear power, published in March 2006, states that

"there is no justification for bringing forward plans for a new nuclear power programme at this time."

Building state-subsidised nuclear power plants will produce vast quantities of waste that we do not know how to deal with, put a lot of our energy eggs in one terrorist-vulnerable basket and result in more expensive decommissioning 20 or 30 years hence. Nuclear decommissioning will cost at least £0.25 billion a year for at least the next three generations.