INTERNET The Millennium Debate
December 21 1999
From Sir Bernard Ingham
Nuclear power and climate levy
Sir, The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his recent
Pre-Budget Report (details, November 10), announced
revised proposals for a so-called climate change levy for
electricity. One of them would exempt electricity generated
from "new" renewable sources of electricity and "good
quality" combined heat and power plants.
In other words, wind power, which the Government hopes will
contribute substantially towards generating 10 per cent of
our electricity by 2010, will be exempt. Yet nuclear, which
contributes about 30 per cent of the nation's electricity and
also emits no greenhouse gases, will not.
This is a most curious quirk in a policy designed, according
to the Chancellor, to ensure that the environment is
protected for current and future generations. It looks even
quirkier when applications for wind power stations continue
to fall at the planning hurdle and when the Government is
clearly determined to write off nuclear energy as ageing
stations close between 2010 and 2020.
Without nuclear power stations the Government would have
no chance of meeting its Kyoto environmental commitments
over the next 10-15 years. Its current policy will ensure that,
assuming it achieves them, it will promptly fail to sustain
them as nuclear power stations close.
Such a policy will not protect the environment now and in the
SONE, Supporters of Nuclear Energy,
c/o BNES, 7 Great George Street,
PO Box 25124, London SW1P 3ZS.
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