Huhne Gives Wylfa Preferred New Nuclear Site Status

by Steve Jones
(North Wales)

UK Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has announced that Wylfa on Anglesey will be among eight preferred sites for new nuclear build.

With the recognition that Britain urgently needs new and diverse energy sources, Mr Huhne said in a written Ministerial Statement that eight sites (originally eleven) would be suitable for generating electricity from nuclear energy from early in the next decade.

The announcement represents a continuation of the consultation on the draft energy National Policy Statements (NPS).

This is particularly significant for Anglesey as recently an announcement was made to extend the life of Wylfa to 2012, and Horizon Nuclear Power aim to submit a formal planning application for Wylfa B by the end of 2011.

Against the backdrop of the recent announcement that the mega 10-mile Severn Estuary Barrage, which some estimates suggested would generate around 5% of the UK's electricity needs, is to be scrapped, the green light for a new Wylfa plant is great news for boosting Britain's low carbon, baseload supply.

In his latest announcement the Energy Secretary recognises the need for Britain to have new investment in a mix of fossil fuel, renewables and nuclear, given how a significant portion of our generating capacity is being retired over the coming decade.

Among the other locations to have been chosen as suitable for new nuclear build are Hinckley Point, Heysham, Hartlepool, Oldbury, Bradwell, Sizewell and Sellafield.

With this announcement today the Energy and Climate Change Secretary has provided Parliament with a further opportunity to scrutinise the energy draft NPS, for which the Relevant Period as set out in the Planning Act 2008 will end on 31 January 2011.

It will be possible for members of the public to make representations and the deadline for these will be 24 January 2011.

The overall energy NPS is sub-divided into a NPS for each energy source, such as gas supply and gas and oil pipelines, nuclear, fossil fuels, renewables and electricity networks.

To meet the many environmental obligations, there is an accompanying Appraisal of Sustainability (AoS)with the energy NPS, which includes among other reports a Habitat Regulations Assessment (HRA).

The three sites at Dungeness, Kent and Braystones and Kirkstanton, both in Cumbria, were ruled out on environmental grounds.

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