Ten new nuclear sites win approval from the Government

Energy minister's policy aims to speed planning process

The Government signed off 10 sites for new nuclear power stations yesterday and is pushing ahead with plans to cut the cumbersome planning process for energy infrastructure down to a year.

All but one of the locations put forward by utility companies keen to play a role in the UK's burgeoning nuclear renaissance have been approved as "potentially suitable" for new reactors by 2025.

Only Dungeness in Kent has been turned down, because it could not cope with another nuclear facility without irremediable damage to the local environment. Three other sites – at Druridge Bay in Northumberland, Kingsnorth in Kent and Owston Ferry in Yorkshire – were deemed worthy of further consideration but not in the first phase.

The progress on nuclear new build formed a central part of a National Policy Statement for the sector put forward by the Government yesterday alongside similar strategies for fossil fuel electricity generation, renewable energy, gas and oil pipelines, and network infrastructure.

The UK needs a massive increase in energy generation over the coming 10 years. Doom-mongers warn of power cuts and supply shocks as North Sea reserves dwindle, energy demand rises, and obsolescence and climate change regulations take a large number of power stations out of the existing fleet.

Yesterday's policy statements, which will be open for public consultation until February, will inform decision-making by the newly created Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC). The new organisation will start work next March, cutting down the planning process for proposals bigger than 50 megawatts onshore and 100 megawatts offshore to just 12 months. In the past, decisions have taken up to six years.

Ed Miliband, the Secretary of State for Energy, said: "We need to make a transition from a system that relies heavily on high carbon fossil fuels, to a radically different system that includes nuclear, renewable and clean coal power. The current planning system is a barrier to this shift.

"It serves neither the interests of energy security, the interests of the low carbon transition, nor the interests of people living in areas where infrastructure may be built, for the planning process to take years to come to a decision."

All new coal-fired power stations will have to be fitted with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology on at least 300 megawatts-worth of their output from the outset in order to gain planning consent, Mr Miliband also said.

The Government is to fund up to four commercial-scale CCS demonstrations. But only two competitors remained in the race yesterday after a consortium led by RWE npower dropped out, blaming incompatibility in the companies' plans. E.ON and Scottish Power both submitted formal entries for the competition this week, for the Kingsnorth and Longannet sites respectively. RWE npower separately announced that it will shortly apply for planning permission for the largest CCS project attached to a working power station at its Aberthaw facility in South Wales.

The Government's policy statements were welcomed by the energy industry. But critics claim a speedier planning process could override local input. There were also warnings that even the attempts to speed things up have been held up. Tony Ward, at Ernst & Young, said: "The publication of these statements has been subject to delay and they are larger and more complex than originally envisaged. The key now is the ratification process; it is imperative to get these statements finalised and passed through Parliament as soon as possible."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Advisor - OTE £95,000

£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sales?Do you have a keen interes...

Recruitment Genius: Loan Adviser - OTE £30,000

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy