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Encouraging signs – Apart from the green light for nuclear

11 July 2006

The Sustainable Development Commission is the Government's principal advisory body on all sustainable development matters, and has been significantly involved in advising on the Energy Review.

Earlier in the year, the Commission published its detailed research on the potential role of nuclear power in securing the UK Government's key energy objectives. We came to the conclusion that UK does not need to replace its existing nuclear power programme, and that the disadvantages associated with nuclear power outweigh its advantages.

We are therefore very disappointed that the Government has decided to encourage energy providers to bring forward proposals for a new nuclear programme.

However, there are many other aspects of the Energy Review which are very encouraging. The commitments on renewable energy, decentralised energy and microgeneration, and energy efficiency in particular are all significant, and will help to move us further toward our overall CO2 abatement targets.

Jonathon Porritt, SDC Chair, says: "All in all, there is much here to be encouraged by. The tone of the document is much more positive than the review of the climate change programme, and the determination to move towards a low-carbon economy comes across loud and clear."

The SDC is also strongly supportive of the proposal to establish a new Energy Performance Commitment for companies not currently covered by the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme, and urges Ministers to carry out the proposed consultation as quickly as possible, and to achieve much more ambitious emissions reductions from this sector than those in the Review.

Jonathon Porritt, SDC Chair, concludes: "The principal challenge now is delivery, not further policy refinement. The three years between the 2003 Energy White Paper and the Energy Review have been largely wasted through poor performance on key programmes, inter-departmental incoherence, and inadequate leadership. There can be no further delays in driving forward the transition to a genuinely sustainable energy economy."

ENDS

The SDC is the Government's advisory body on sustainable development. It is led by a board of 14 commissioners, from a mix of academic, scientific, business and NGO backgrounds, chaired by Jonathon Porritt.

The SDC's submission to the Energy Review is available to download from www.sd-commission.org.uk.

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