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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A nuclear error

The announcement by Energy Secretary Ed Miliband that the government has approved ten sites in England and Wales for new nuclear power stations will lead to some heated debate in the months ahead.

That is especially so in Wales where the official view of the Welsh Government is that there should be a public consultation on the replacement nuclear power station at Wylfa B and that if possible an alternative form of energy generation should be put in place instead. That is also the official view of Plaid Cymru, though the Deputy First Minister and Nationalist Leader, Ieuan Wyn Jones takes a contrary position.

Miliband's announcement though gives the Welsh Government no room for manoeurve. A new planning commission will make decisions on the proposals "within a year" of receiving them. So there will be no official public enquiry and the views of the Assembly Government and local Councils will just be advisory.

It is just a shame that Ed Miliband does not appreciate the impact of the new regime. When he was asked by Welsh Liberal Democrat MP, Roger Williams whether he had consulted with the Welsh Government, the Secretary of State responded that he believed the matter to be devolved.

Alas that is not the case. Not only will Labour's planning commission trump any powers held by WAG, but the Westminster Government has consistently refused to devolve responsibility for power generation over 50 megawatts to Wales. Given that Ed Miliband was party to that decision not so long ago one would have thought that he might have known that.
Heil Brown then
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