Green Party Principal Speaker Keith Taylor commented: "When asked directly whether they supported plans to build new nuclear power stations, 87 per cent of respondents rejected the nuclear option, in stark contrast to an overwhelming 98 per cent support for greater investment in renewable energy, and 99 per cent support for greater investment in energy-saving measures at home and work. This puts pay to any suggestion the nuclear power is accepted as a necessary evil by the UK.
"Despite the government's ceaseless attempts to frame the debate as one of 'nuclear, or the lights go out,' the British public are not convinced. The preparatory scare-mongering we have witnessed in recent months from the likes of Alistair Darling, Malcom Wicks and Tony Blair has failed to make any headway on convincing the public of the case for a new generation of dirty and dangerous nuclear power stations.
"The survey also revealed tellingly low levels of confidence in the government's consultation process. 89 % of those polled agreed with the statement: 'I think the government had already decided what they wanted to do about nuclear power before this debate started.'
These results concur with the fears today raised by the Trade and Industry Committee 'that the outcome of the government's energy review had been decided in advance.' Keith Taylor continued: "Accusations of 'rubber stamping' are wholly justified. Only today, leaked documents have revealed plans for a massive expansion of nuclear power across G8 countries and the developing world, in advance of the G8 Summit in St Petersburg next weekend, "The Energy Review has been Blair’s exercise in ‘consult and ignore’.
Despite determined and widespread public opposition, the government remain hell bent on forcing through a new round of dangerous nuclear power stations, and are prepared to subvert planning frameworks to achieve this.
"Local objections to nuclear power plants could be over-ridden under planning changes proposed by the government's energy review. Councils could alter the appearance and precise location of the sites, but would be unable to reject power plants on the grounds they were not needed.
"If Tony Blair is serious about tackling climate change in a sustainable and effective way, he should seize the opportunity of the energy review to ensure that the necessary legislative framework is in place to stake our future on safe, carbon free and inexpensive sources of energy: wind, wave and solar. Succumbing to pressure from the billion pound nuclear lobby means leading the UK down a dirty and dangerous path."
The survey covered attitudes to different energy sources, opinions on the government’s energy review, and the actions people might take to support or oppose different energy technologies. The results show huge confidence in the potential of energy saving and renewable energy – particularly solar, wind and wave power – and massive opposition to new nuclear power stations. Sian Berry, Green Party Campaign's Co-ordinator and a member of the National Executive commented:
"The energy survey demonstrates overwhelming support for energy efficiency, renewable energy and smaller scale energy generation, rather than the current centralised system reliant on the wasteful use of fossil fuels and nuclear power. It also found that if new nuclear power stations were approved, 66 per cent of respondents said they would be prepared take part in mass protests against nuclear power.
"The UK's centralised system of giant isolated power stations wastes a staggering two thirds of the primary energy produced before the electricity reaches our homes.
The British public want a new green energy future for the UK, based on local generation through combined heat and power in our communities, micro-generation on their homes and places of work supplemented by large scale renewable energy projects. This is more than an unattainable dream, but an achievable vision.
Posted on 13th July 2006
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