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UK Government should ‘impose’ energy projects on devolved nations says Conservative editor

09 Apr 2022 4 minute read
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng. Picture by Finbarr Webster. PA Wire/PA Images.

The UK Government should “impose” energy projects on the devolved nations, a Conservative editor has said.

Conservative Home deputy editor Henry Hill was responding to the suggestion by Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng that they should respect Wales and Scotland’s devolved competencies.

Planning powers are devolved to Scotland, meaning that they could block any new nuclear site. The Welsh Government has the power to consent energy projects with a generating capacity of up to 350MW, meaning that the power to give the go-ahead to a nuclear power plant is reserved to Westminster.

Kwasi Kwarteng said the nuclear reactors are being planned for England and Wales, insisting there is “huge appetite” for this “particularly in Wales”.

But he said: “We have no plans to impose nuclear reactors in Scotland. It is a devolved affair, that is up to people in Edinburgh to decide what their nuclear policy is.”

But Henry Hill said that “energy should not be evolved” saying that the UK Government should not “give a veto” to those opposing their energy plans.

“The ability of a (democratically-elected!) central government to impose decisions reflects the facts that many things of great benefit to the nation impose local costs; if you give local communities a veto, vital infrastructure doesn’t get built and we’re all poorer for it.

“In this case, Scotland will benefit as much as the rest of the UK from greater British energy security. It should therefore play its full part in delivering it, including through the construction of nuclear plants.

“Unfortunately, the Government and its predecessors have instead given the SNP free rein to indulge their unscientific antipathy to one of the best sources of clean energy we have – and likely free-ride on the British solution being delivered elsewhere. Energy should not be devolved.”

‘Oppose’

Yesterday a Welsh minister slammed Boris Johnson over his “indefensible” energy strategy, published yesterday, saying that it took the UK in the wrong direction after “years of regressive energy policy”.

As part of the strategy unveiled yesterday, the UK Government announced a new licensing round for North Sea oil and new gas projects are planned for the autumn to cover the “nearer term” need to expand the energy supply.

But Julie James, MS Minister for Climate Change said that she was shocked that the UK Government had “committed to expanding the extraction of fossil fuels”.

“No government being honest about their commitment to net zero could look at options to explore new fossil fuel extraction,” she said.

“We will continue to oppose the extraction of fossils fuels in Wales, we will continue to oppose fracking and we will be supporting the transition away from the use of fossil fuels as soon as is practicably possible.

“Instead of perpetuating our reliance on fossil fuels, the strategy should have been setting the conditions for the expansion of renewables and flexibility on the scale needed to meet net zero.

“Here the strategy is again lacking. The UK Government has not taken the opportunity to expand onshore wind generation. With its significant cost advantage compared to most other forms of energy generation, the UK Government has ignored the needs of consumers in the exploration of one of the cheapest sources of green energy and instead focused on the needs of backbench Conservative MPs.

“Here in Wales we will continue to support new investment in on-shore wind by working with communities to maximise the economic and social value of investment, including ways to use new generation to directly reduce the costs of domestic energy bills.”

The Climate Change minister added that it was “deeply disappointing” that the UK Government’s strategy did not recognise the potential from using tidal resources to generate predictable renewable energy.

“The case for the deployment of tidal range technology has already been made, most recently in the 2017 Hendry review,” she said. “However, the UK Government has failed to set out a clear strategy for supporting this technology that has the potential to generate a significant proportion of our baseload needs when generation from wind and solar is low.”


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Kurt C
Kurt C
5 months ago

The English should set the trend by shutting up and minding their own business. England gave us the Tories and anti green policy. They recently gave us dumping of sewage on mass in rivers and trying to force unclean Nuclear on us. They can teach Cymru nothing of value.

Klaus Roobeth
Klaus Roobeth
5 months ago
Reply to  Kurt C

557,000 Welsh voters voted Conservative (3* more than for ?????)

The issue of sewage in rivers had far more to it than just dumping. And in any case, plenty of Welsh MPs voted for it.

Where is Wales unanimously rejecting nuclear power?

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
5 months ago
Reply to  Klaus Roobeth

Nobody mentioned “unanimous”. If you want to come to Wales and knock on the door of every Welsh household across the country, you will, I’m sure, find a few who are in favour of nuclear power facilities being built here, as well as fossil fuel extraction.

George
George
5 months ago
Reply to  Kurt C

It’s not “The English”, it’s hardline Tories and those who are willing to get into bed with them to fit their purpose. Just a pity we’ve got their idiot backbenchers in No10 and their even more idiot backbenchers filling up most of Westminster.

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
5 months ago
Reply to  George

That’s true. Be polite, and realise that the English don’t want this either.

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
5 months ago
Reply to  Kurt C

We got nuclear mud…for free.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
5 months ago

Paid lackey…

Dai Rob
Dai Rob
5 months ago

That henry hill bloke, is the biggest ar*se on the internet, a complete nobody, who runs a site frequented by public school toryboy boffs. Not even mainstream torys listen to the nonsense he spounts. Nearly as much of an arse as that drunkard MacKinnon bloke!

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
5 months ago

What is it with these Conservative Brexit supporting hypocrites who want to impose energy projects on a nation already scarred by English prospecting?.

We can finally now say the Conservative Wales respect agenda, if there was any in the first place, has finally been shredded like a Tory would their incriminating evidence of tax evasion.

Last edited 5 months ago by Y Cymro
Arwyn
5 months ago

The man delights in being a disgrace. However, we shouldn’t feed this ideological headbanger our outrage. Don’t get mad … get indy.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
5 months ago

What is this Tory facination in expensive and dirty nuclear energy, rather than wind, solar or hydro power, I wonder? Could it be there’s money in it for them? Probably. Something smells and it usually does with this Tory government.

Erisian
Erisian
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

Who can tell? It’s not like it would be owned, built or operated by a UK company.
Must be backhanders from the Chinese or the French.
Possibly it just makes them feel modern and important.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
5 months ago

Can you please stop reporting the deranged utterances of this wannabe Edward ‘longshanks’. Nobody but nobody listens to this crazed loon….even other brit nat loons think he’s a joke!

Erisian
Erisian
5 months ago

Simply not required. It’s just Bojo’s latest maggot, and this too will pass.

Quornby
Quornby
5 months ago

How many nuke stations will be built in the London area? How much power will be used in the London area as a % of the total nuclear yield? Another example of “imposing” the nasty bits with all the dangers on a people too timid to stand up for themselves….. Note the difference in tone when these scumbags talk about the Scots.

Tim
Tim
5 months ago

According to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report published in 2019 nuclear energy is being outcompeted by renewables and is an inefficient solution to carbon emissions. The report estimates that the average construction time for reactors worldwide was ten years, significantly longer than the World Nuclear Association’s estimated construction time of between five and eight years. Nuclear reactors are also slow to start and a number have closed with more closing in the near future. Some have never even been completed wasting huge amounts of tax payers money. These slow development times for nuclear power plants have significant implications for… Read more »

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