Environment

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 4:27 pm on 21st February 2007.

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Photo of Rosie Kane Rosie Kane SSP 4:27 pm, 21st February 2007

Today's debate is timely given that, on Monday this week, Frances Curran, Patrick Harvie and I joined the Greenpeace International ship the Arctic Sunrise to sail to Faslane to view the horror of the other side of the nuclear industry—weapons of mass destruction. Nuclear weapons cannot exist without nuclear power. The products of nuclear power are used to create such monsters. That must be kept at the front of the debate about nuclear power today and in the future.

I cannot even begin to guess the Westminster Government's motivation on nuclear power, but is it a coincidence that it plans to increase the number of nuclear power stations in line with an upgrade of our nuclear weapons systems?

Our Government is lining up in a sabre-rattling exercise with Iran on the same issue. It claims that Iran's move towards nuclear power is a cover-up for the introduction of nuclear weapons. That sounds like the pot calling the kettle black.

Like many members, we welcome Mr Justice Sullivan's decision at the High Court of Justice in London in response to Greenpeace's challenge. He states clearly in his decision that the so-called consultation exercise was seriously flawed. It is a disgrace, but not a surprise, that the Government deliberately held back important documents.

Most people throughout the country oppose the new wave of nuclear power stations. That opposition would be strengthened if the truth—the whole truth—was in the public domain. We must listen to the public and to polls on the matter, which is of huge interest and will be a huge expense to the public.

The question is whether the Scottish Executive will exhibit the same clandestine behaviour as the Westminster Government and whether it will keep the public in the dark. I reckon that it will. We see it in the Executive's amendment, in which, as several members have said, Allan Wilson does not even mention nuclear power. If that is not ignoring the elephant in the room, I do not know what is.

If forward planning and care for the environment and the planet's future had been a priority decades ago, the billions that have been spent on subsidising the nuclear industry could have been invested in clean energy and in initiatives to reduce energy use. We still have the opportunity to do that and we could begin today if every member in the chamber sided with the vast majority of the Scottish people and voted for an end to nuclear power—but I reckon that the foot of Westminster is placed firmly on Executive members' necks, and that they will not support the people of Scotland, the environment, the future of the country or the planet.

In the wake of Mr Justice Sullivan's decision in favour of Greenpeace, the Government must conduct a review, but it should take the opportunity to move away from the nuclear option. It should learn from the mistakes of the past, which are symbolised by the tonnes of nuclear waste that are littered around the country, which will poison the planet for the foreseeable future. The Conservatives mentioned that waste.

Many members subscribe to the views of Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and many have built careers on signing their petitions and wearing their badges. It is incumbent on those members to put their money where their mouth is, to vote to end the nuclear power project and to thank Greenpeace for taking the issue to court. If members do otherwise, they will let down the people of Scotland and the planet. The Parliament should fire a warning shot: it should say that we will not tolerate nuclear power of any scale in Scotland, in any circumstances.