UK nuclear power gets fast-tracked

The government has approved planning laws that will help new nuclear power plants get built on UK soil. A big boost for the UK energy industry. EDF has now, in conjunction with Centrica, committed to building two new stations, one in Suffolk, the other in Somerset. So, all systems go?

An end to delays?

"Far too often the planning system has resulted in delay and indecision over major energy projects and things simply not getting built," said Charles Hendry, Minister for Energy in a statement. "We are removing uncertainty to give industry the confidence to invest in much needed new energy infrastructure in this country."

However, it's likely that pre-application consolation will still take around two years, giving time for objectors to make their concerns known. A new independent planning body - tagged the Infrastructure Planning Commission - will get the final say for approving nuclear plants in the national interest.

In terms of new nuclear sites, the government has designated eight sites; they line up as follows: Bradwell, Essex; Hartlepool, Borough of Hartlepool; Heysham, Lancashire; Hinkley Point, Somerset; Oldbury, South Glos; Sellafield, Cumbria; Sizewell, Suffolk; Wylfa, Isle of Anglesey.

No wind-up

The government want these sites developed by 2025. Expect, then plenty of public and legal campaigns against these sites. Green party leader Caroline Lucas is going to be very busy.

Most onshore wind farms and other renewable projects still needing planning approval and will continue to face local planning process. They're not affected by the new government planning laws.

But expect the new laws to take more of an interest in larger scale off-shore wind farms as a result. It's going to get windier all around, it seems.
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