Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Keeping the Lights Burning

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Keeping the Lights Burning

Article excerpt

Byline: By Nick Whitten and Vince Gledhill

How do we solve the problem of satisfying the North East's growing energy needs?

The Chronicle revealed yesterday that a new power station could be built in Blyth in Northumberland ( on the site where an old plant was demolished just four years ago.

Locals have suspected that one day a replacement power station may be built there.

And those worries became more concrete when Npower, which owns the land, said it wants the area to remain undeveloped in case it is needed for another station in the future.

That is one of a number of proposals that the independent inspector examining Wansbeck District Council's local plan has sought views about.

Next month will see the publication of the Government's White Paper on energy, which is expected to pave the way for the continued role of nuclear power.

Prime Minister Tony Blair has made no secret of the fact he believes Britain's ageing nuclear reactors need replacing.

The UK relies on atomic energy for 20% of its electricity. However, on current lifespan estimates, all but one of the existing power stations will close by 2023.

Last January, One NorthEast was forced to scrap plans for a study into building a nuclear power station in the region after being widely criticised.

North East Lib Dem MEP Fiona Hall places the need for renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, high on her agenda.

She said: "All the indications are that the Government wants to see new nuclear power stations, but I would be completely opposed to such an idea.

"Any attempt to build a nuclear power station on the Northumberland coast is quite simply not the way to tackle energy issues in Britain.

"Nor is it the solution to tackling climate change which is something we need to address now. …

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