Last week Tim Farron MP sent the following reply to Radiation Free Lakeland when we urged him to vote NO to the public paying for new nuclear build in the Nuclear Financing Bill yesterday. Our MP’s opposition to new nuclear is heartening. But this opposition was not reflected in the vote of 458 for to 53 against (how many others opposed did not vote?) the Bill at third reading. The Bill will now be considered in the House of Lords. This vote is truly shocking.
Alan Brown MP said during the debate Government “has been very good at telling us about the mythical savings that will accrue via the regulated asset base funding model introduced by this Bill—they are estimated at between £30 billion and £70 billion. What the Government are not so good at is telling us what money they want to commit for the likes of Sizewell C. In effect, they are telling us, “Let’s save money for bill payers by signing up to a less bad deal for a new nuclear project.” According to the impact assessment, the capital and financing cost is going to be in the region of £40 billion to £60 billion for a new nuclear power station. It is a strange logic to tell us that £50 billion being added to our energy bills at the time of a cost of living energy crisis is somehow a good thing. By default, the Government are also confirming just how much of a stinking, rotten deal Hinkley Point C was for bill payers if we are saying that we can save that much money compared with the contracts for difference model for Hinkley C.”
Letter sent to Radiation Free Lakeland from Tim Farron MP (not in attendance at the vote as far as we can see)
Thank you very much for your recent email with regard to the vote upon the Nuclear Energy (Finance) Bill.
The Liberal Democrats absolutely do not support any expansion of nuclear power in the UK. We strongly believe that the two main arguments which are made in favour of nuclear power have been destroyed. Those two arguments were financial and for renewable energy.
The work of the Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government helped to substantially reduce the price of renewable energy, especially offshore wind. Furthermore we have more agreements with other countries to improve the stability of the supply of renewable energy, such as geothermal energy from Iceland and Norway’s hydropower.
New nuclear plant in the UK would take at least 10 years to set up. The capacity for storage of wind and other renewable energy sources has improved exponentially in the past 10 years and this progress is likely to continue. This will only go further in reducing the costs and risk of investing in renewables as opposed to nuclear.
While we have supported nuclear power in the past, there is no reason to support it going forward. If we were in power, the Liberal Democrats would move to 80% renewables by 2030 and we will continue to press the Government on their commitment to clean energy. I would not vote to support the Nuclear Energy (Finance) Bill.
With best wishes
TIM FARRON MP“