We are the UK Government’s independent adviser on sustainable development. Through advocacy, advice and
appraisal, we help put sustainable development at the heart of Government policy


New nuclear unnecessary

10 October 2001


Important Note: This press release will be superceded by our new position on Nuclear, released in 2006.

Energy efficiency measures combined with renewable energy sources can provide all the energy the UK needs whilst minimising greenhouse gas emissions and promoting competitiveness, claims the Sustainable Development Commission.

In a submission to the current review of energy policy being carried out for the Government by the Cabinet Office's Performance and Innovation Unit, the Commission argues that the building of new nuclear power stations will only be necessary if these
alternatives are not energetically promoted by the Government.

Jonathon Porritt, the Commission's Chairman, commented 'The Commission has warmly welcomed the Government's decision to review long term energy policies for the UK. Our principal recommendation to the DTI is that all subsequent analysis of different energy options must be conducted within a sustainable development framework, with a consistent and transparent use of environmental, social and economic criteria.'

In a comprehensive report compiled with help from leading energy specialist, Professor
Paul Ekins, three low-carbon energy options for the UK - energy efficiency, renewables
and nuclear power - were assessed against the following sustainable development

 Integrating the economic, social and environmental dimensions of quality of life

 Respecting biophysical limits

 Making the polluter pay

 Protecting and enhancing UK competitiveness

 Promoting social justice and inclusion

 Achieving energy security

The report concludes that a combination of energy efficiency and renewable energy
sources performs most strongly of all the available policy options against these
sustainable development criteria. These should be pursued vigorously, to allow them to
fulfil their potential.

The submission also makes a number of detailed policy recommendations. These

- a programme of energy efficiency measures more ambitious than those in the
Climate Change Programme;

- a transition from the Climate Change Levy to policy based on a combination of
emissions trading (with the progressive introduction of permit auctioning) and an
upstream carbon/energy tax;

- the removal of barriers to renewables, including urgent reform of the New
Electricity Trading Arrangements (NETA) and

- a fundamental institutional reorganisation of bodies concerned with energy policy.

A copy of the summary is now available at www.sd-commission.org.uk

A full copy of the 80 page submission will be available on the website on 11 October.

Notes to editors

Established in October 2000, the Sustainable Development Commission is an advisory
non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Cabinet Office and reporting to the
Prime Minister and the leaders of the devolved administrations. The Commission's
objectives include advocating a compelling vision of a sustainable economy and society
and reviewing how far sustainable development is being achieved in the UK across all

The Commission will launch its flagship review of the year at the end of 2001. It will
shortly be publishing the first results of its work on sustainable agriculture.

For further information on PIU's Energy Policy Review see the website

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