Pro-nuclear MP sparks row following attack on solar power projects
Dale Spridgeon, local democracy reporter
An MP’s claims that a mega 1200-acre solar farm on Anglesey could do it “harm” have sparked a war of words with anti-nuclear campaigners.
Speaking in a parliamentary debate over the proposals by Lightsource BP, Ynys Môn MP Virginia Crosbie said solar energy risked “sacrificing vast areas of agricultural land and the UK’s food security”.
However, anti-nuclear campaigners said Mrs Crosbie, who champions nuclear energy on the island, should “smell the coffee”, and they argued that nuclear power provided a “much greater threat to human life”.
Lightsource BP is working on a proposal for a solar farm on land in the north east of the island, and has been presenting early-stage plans to the community.
Mrs Crosbie told MPs that the area’s residents were under threat from a “slew of solar proposals”.
She said a solar scheme potentially covering an area of more than 900 football pitches would “only” generate enough power for 133,000 homes, adding that a nuclear power station would power six million with a “fraction of the footprint”.
“Larger applications are considered by the Welsh Government, six hours away in Cardiff,” she said, claiming that local communities were “concerned” over large-scale development decisions being taken away from them.
“I would like to stress that I am not anti-solar or anti-renewables and I am not anti the environment [but] the subject of planning for solar farms is incredibly important to rural communities.
“I represent communities particularly concerned about the threat of mega solar farms on our landscape, our culture and our heritage, in particular a proposal by Lightsource BP.
“We must implement solar with extreme caution. For developers, it is an attractive solution, as land is relatively cheap, solar panels can be imported at low cost, and there is minimal upkeep and maintenance, which means that little local employment is generated.
“That must be balanced against the energy generation capacity.
“There is another, possibly more important, consideration. Ynys Môn was known historically as Môn Mam Cymru — Anglesey, mother of Wales—because our fertile agricultural land fed the Welsh people in times of need.
“We need a strong agricultural community, and it is those great swathes of fertile, historical agricultural land that are particularly attractive to solar farm developers.
“Earlier this year, FarmingUK wrote that the UK is on the verge of food security concerns not seen since World War II, and in 2020 the UK imported 46% of the food we consume.
“I hope that the minister will take on board the risk that, in the rush to achieve net zero, however laudable, we may sacrifice vast areas of agricultural land, and hence our food security, to solar panels, which do not offer the dependable, large-scale solution we need to the energy crisis.”
Responding to her comments, an anti-nuclear spokesperson representing PAWB (People Against Wylfa B) said: “This is a deeply ironic comment coming from a nuclear enthusiast.
“That industry has the capacity to poison the atmosphere for thousands of years and is a real threat to human life.
“In the event of regular leaks from nuclear stations and considering the perilous condition of the nuclear waste facilities at Sellafield, Mrs Crosbie should smell the coffee.
“She should realise that the future of our electricity needs can be answered far more cheaply and quickly through a range of renewable technologies.”
Lightsource BP was contacted for a comment.
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The boundless stupidity of this arrogant ignorant woman!
I represent five Welsh children and I say this woman can shut her stupid trap and go back to picking peanuts out of poo. What is worse a solar farm that collects energy from the sun OR a nuclear reactor? Which one would you prefer to live next to? a few fields of mirrors or a large, scary, dangerous nuclear power plant (and lets us not forget what can happen when you build a power station next to the sea and something like rising sea levels or a huge storm inundate it with water) that has nuclear material delivered to… Read more »
Solar power actually has much higher impacts on health and the environment than nuclear power. This may come as a surprise given the public perception, but the figures are pretty clear (see p74 of this recent UN study):
The solar power lifecycle has higher carbon emissions and significantly higher carcinogenic impacts than nuclear power, as well as higher land use and higher consumption of metals & minerals.
And that is before we consider the impacts of energy storage which solar requires (p35 of the same report). Energy from batteries has 35 times the carbon emissions of nuclear power.
still does not address the time span and cost of dealing with nuclear waste , and the risk to local populations from Nuclear accidents – fukishima, Chernobyl, three mile island
As I evidenced above, waste from solar power causes more real-world harm than nuclear waste. There are solutions for disposing of nuclear waste permanently and in the meantime it is stored and harms nobody. Finland will have its first disposal facility operational next year. [ Onkalo spent nuclear fuel repository – Wikipedia ] The cost of waste disposal and decommissioning is only £2/MWh (only around 2% of the electricity price) and is included in the price. [ Hinkley Point C Funded Decommissioning Programme – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) ] How is the solar waste dealt with? It ends up in the environment,… Read more »
The UN document Colin Glasgow cites is invalid as a policy driver because it ignores the fact that all operating Nuclear Power Stations discharge uranium dust particles. The UN published data on this aspect of “civil” nuclear power once, but not in the last 25 years, now that it’s obvious this type of pollutant is driving the global cancer epidemic. [http://www.llrc.org/children.htm].
The LLRC (Low Level Radiation Campaign) that you reference is not a trustworthy source of information. Certainly not comparable to the UN.
The LLRC run and advised by Chris Busby has opinions on radiation which are, to put it kindly, deeply flawed.
[see Christopher Busby – Wikipedia]
All generated energy needs storage, including nuclear. It’s not generated “on demand”. It may be stored both before and after it is fed into the grid and is used for “peak lopping” (easing the burden on generation during times of high demand. So please stop posting absurd fallacies
Nuclear power only needs to vary by around +/-20% for a few hours each night to meet demand. Solar needs to vary by 100% from day to night, and needs to maintain storage for days, if not months, to store energy from the time when it is most generated (summer, noon) to when it it is most needed (winter, evenings). In order to match 24x7x365 demand though the year, solar (or wind) would need hundreds of times more energy storage than nuclear power. This is not to say that solar is not a useful contributor to certain niches – such… Read more »
Our civilization needs to run on clean energy from solar, wind, tidal and some hydro-electric power if we are to see ourselves through the climate crisis. Electricity from nuclear energy is too expensive and that is without taking into account decommissioning and storage of nuclear waste costs. It is also dangerous and unsafe. In other words it is a no brainer. There is no need for mega-solar energy farms either. All our infrastructure needs to be covered in solar panels to reduce our dependence on such mega projects. This is the common sense approach. Wales is already a net exporter… Read more »
Ms Crosbie really does not understand ‘ Môn Mam Cymu’ at all – Ynys Mon was the reason that the Cymry held out so long against the alien invaders and it was the Normans led by the Earl of Chester who managed to blockade the food supply.
Ms Crosbie can stick her smr in her knightsbridge homeland, if so safe and clean why not site in the heart of britains biggest energy drain and demand.
the long term problem of dealing with nuclear waste from these untested SMR will be a financial noose on future generations.
A nuclear power station is expensive to build and at best only captures 18% of the heat energy generated as electric power – 82% is wasted. It is expensive to run and does not give returns for investment. I would not want my taxes paid to subsidise this bad decision which I believe is NOT being made on a commercial basis. I would NOT recommend Nuclear CHP (see Ukraine 1986). If I was CEO of an energy company in Wales, I would recommend and build Wind farms in Ynys Mon since most of West Wales is not short of WIND… Read more »
Her use of “our” has to be the most ridiculous claim in the entire piece. People parachute in for recreational purposes or as invaders. I don’t see her holding a pina colada.
We’ve got our very own Nadine “foot in mouth” Dorries with Virginia Crosbie. What were the good people of Mam Cymru smoking when they voted in this Conservative clown to power?. 🤔 So let this this straight. Solar panels although do take up a lot of space, are temperamental at times ,yes, do capture clean energy and the panels themselves can then be safely removed without wearing fallout suits or any materials used in their construction be be safely recycled not be contained in lead caskets and buried deep in concrete facilities indefinitely. And later the land used for Solar… Read more »
Notice the emphasis on ‘fertile agricultural land’ and by implication the appeal to gentrified landowners and farmers who have helped her being elected. No mention of the negative impact of developers creating profits which contribute nothing to the local communities. Clearly her focus is in retaining her seat and ensuring that capitalism thrives. Her comments might have been better welcomed had she focused on the need for local ownership and benefits.
If a nuke power station was proposed for somewhere inside the M25 or perhaps in Surrey how many of these Anti Welsh Tory careerist scum would support it? At a rough guess…. None.
The people of the Rhondda told this Essex girl to ‘sling her hook’ in 2017
I hope the voters of ynys Môn do the same at the next election
I wonder whether her forefathers served in the infamous Essex regiment based in Bandon, West Cork in 1921