Greenpeace wins nuclear power legal decision

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The Independent Online

The Government is facing the prospect of having to reconsider its decision to back the building of new nuclear power stations following a legal victory won by environmental campaign group Greenpeace in the High Court today.

A judge ruled that the Government's consultation process before making the decision last year was "seriously flawed" and "procedurally unfair".

He granted Greenpeace an order quashing the decision as "unlawful".

The judgment, subject to any appeal, is expected to result in a fresh public consultation.

Greenpeace accused the Government of reneging on its promise to carry out "the fullest consultation" before making a decision on nuclear new build.

It complained that the Government failed to present clear proposals and information on key issues surrounding a new generation of nuclear power stations, such as disposal of radioactive waste and the financial costs of new build.

Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling, contesting the judicial review, argued that the energy review was only part of an ongoing process which would ensure full consultation.

But Mr Justice Sullivan said "something has gone clearly and radically wrong" with the consultation exercise.

The consultation document gave every appearance of being simply an "issues paper". It contained no actual proposals and, even if it had, the information given to consultees was "wholly insufficient for them to make an intelligent response".