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East of England Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrats oppose changes to local people's rights to question nuclear power

December 6, 2006 4:39 PM

Liberal Democrats at Suffolk County Council are putting a motion to Full Council on 7th December asking the County Council to oppose moves by the Government to restrict the right of local people to object to new nuclear power stations in Suffolk.

A recent consultation from the Department of Trade and Industry, sought views on a 'Policy Framework for New Nuclear Build' in which the Government proposes to remove the right of local people to raise the need for nuclear power and the risks that nuclear power poses at planning inquiries. The proposals also include a plan to dictate where new nuclear power stations can be built - the most likely places being where there are existing power stations.

Cllr. Andrew Cann, Deputy Leader, Suffolk County Council Lib Dem Group, said "The Government has muted its intention to curtail lengthy inquiries into proposed nuclear power stations by creating a national 'statement of need'. It has now been revealed that the Government also believes that the people of Suffolk should not have the right, through the inquiry process, to question the siting of any new nuclear power stations.

This means that the Government can propose a Sizewell C or Aldeburgh A, for instance, without the need to consult on any other than very local environmental factors. We must defend our right to have a say on where any plant would be built in the same way that we would defend our right to scrutinise decisions over other major developments.

This is another example of the Government dismissing our hard-won rights when it suits them. When the Labour Party cannot get it's own way, rather than abide by the rules they simply change them. It sets a disturbing precedent for any future Government: if the State can decide with impunity what and where it wants to put controversial developments, who knows what we may be told to put up with in the future? Surely local people should have the right to say whether or not they want another nuclear power plant in Suffolk?

Regardless of your view on nuclear power I think everyone can agree that we should defend our rights as people of Suffolk to have our say. Suffolk folk take a great pride in our County - we should not allow our influence over the future of our County to be eroded".

Notes

1.The consultation, Policy Framework for New Nuclear Build, is available here:

http://www.dti.gov.uk/files/file31931.pdf

2.The motion to Full Council from the Liberal Democrat and Independent Group can be found here: http://apps2.suffolk.gov.uk/cgi-bin/committee_xml.cgi?p=doc&id=1_8924&format=doc