Thursday 1 April 2010

Outdated Horizons

There's no surprise in the announcement that Horizon are keen to build a new nuclear station on Ynys Môn. The final decision will, of course, be outside the control of the Welsh Government or the National Assembly, and will be taken primarily on the basis of the energy needs of England. And the interests of the construction companies, no doubt.

Having produced an energy statement only a fortnight ago which showed that Wales has no need of new nuclear or fossil fuel power stations, the Welsh Government must oppose this development, and their call for a public enquiry is to be welcomed. It would be utterly inconsistent for them to do otherwise.

I've expressed concern previously that governments find it easy to produce strategies, and easy to support those developments which match those strategies. But if we are serious about the strategies, implementing them also involves preventing those developments which do not match, and that's a much harder thing to do.

Hard it may be; but if we are really to create the sort of green economy in Wales which most of us want, opposing the 'bad' developments is probably the most important aspect of all in delivering the strategy.


Anonymous said...

Hey John, as a Plaid member and also a CND member, I like your honesty about the proposed Wylfa B Power station, BUT... i can't help but feel that this issue is difficult for the Plaid leadership especially Ieuan Wyn Jones as his constituency is Ynys Mon.. If Plaid Is seen being against the development - however principled, The party will be seen as being against jobs, and jobs will ALWAYS trump fears about Nuclear safety.

John Dixon said...


"Jobs will always trump fears about nuclear safety"

So we would accept a nuclear re-processing plant? A new coal-fired power station? A toxic waste dump? An atomic weapons plant? I doubt it.

It isn't just a question of jobs vs safety; that's a complete over-simplification, I'm afraid. It's about energy policy in the round; and energy policy is central to environmental policy.

What is the point of preparing and issuing an energy strategy for Wales one week, and then allowing a development which takes us in the opposite direction the next? If the strategy for Wales says we're going to be using only entirely renewable energy - and that's what One Wales Government has said - then we should ensure that our actions match that strategy.

You are right to say that the issue is difficult for Plaid, but it isn't only difficult in one area. Watering down opposition to nuclear power might help in one part of Wales, but it would seriously damage our credibility in many others.

The forthcoming manifesto for the General Election is likely to repeat the statement made in previous manifestos, namely that Plaid will oppose the construction of any new nuclear power stations in Wales. It would be dishonest of us as a party if the only people talking about that issue during the campaign were those candidates who disagree with that part of the manifesto.