Chris Huhne’s affirmation of new nuclear during his Annual Energy statement yesterday has been welcomed by the Institute of Directors.
Graeme Leach, Director of Policy at the IoD, said: “We are pleased Chris Huhne has stated unambiguously that new nuclear will play a part in meeting the UK’s energy needs. The message from business to this government is unambiguous: deal with the energy security problem and start dealing with it now.”
Mr Leach said that a fast-track planning process and a large building programme of new nuclear power stations was essential, as well as more development of renewable, providing they are cost effective.
He added: “For too long energy policy has not been sufficiently focused on mitigating the very serious risk of power cuts in the middle of this decade. This risk worries business leaders greatly. In a recent survey of 1,800 IoD members, ensuring secure energy supplies was identified as the single most important issue that the new government should address over the course of the next full parliament, a remarkable finding given the crisis in public finances, and a measure of the concern that exists in the business community about potential blackouts.”
During questions in the House of Commons yesterday following Mr Huhne’s energy statement, nuclear – and in particular the energy secretary’s stance on the issue – was once again the subject of questions from MPs.
Malcolm Wicks asked, given Mr Huhne long-standing opposition to nuclear, who in the Department of Energy and Climate Change was really “driving nuclear forward”.
Mr Huhne responded: “We are very much a team. It was because we had different views that we dealt with this right at the beginning [of the coalition].”