Page last updated at 12:40 GMT, Saturday, 6 February 2010

Silent protest over nuclear plans

Protestors against nuclear power plans in Oldbury
More than 200 people took part in the protest

More than 200 people opposed to plans for a new nuclear power station near Bristol have staged a silent protest by taping gaffer tape over their mouths.

The former Oldbury Nuclear Power Station is one of 10 possible sites for a new station chosen by the government.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is holding a public meeting but protesters claim they are still not being properly consulted.

A DECC spokesman said local people's views were important at this stage.

'Not focussed'

Reg Illingworth, of the Shepperdine Against Nuclear Energy group, said: "The public debate being held is not a debate, it's called a discussion - there's a difference between a discussion and a debate.

"We effectively will not be given any say in the height of the cooling towers that are going to be on the site and are projected to be 200m high and stretching 600m along the River Severn.

"Alternatively we'll have no say to the dumping of nuclear waste on our doorstep for the next 150 years.

"The government is not focussed on energy efficiency, they're focussed on building nuclear power stations with multi-national companies that give us very little energy security ourselves."

David Kidney, from the DECC, said: "We're at the stage where we're developing the framework within which every future application for, in this case a nuclear power station, would be decided.

'People's views'

"We are collecting people's views and I'm delighted that we had to find a bigger venue for this meeting because we've had such interest.

"I do encourage people to give their views because they will affect the way in which every planning application in the future is decided."

Oldbury is one of 10 potential sites for new nuclear stations listed by the government in its draft Nuclear National Policy Statement, published on 9 November 2009.

The public discussion meeting was held at Thornbury Leisure Centre on Saturday between 1000 and 1200 GMT.

The 15 week public consultation on the Energy National Policy Statements (NPSs) conducted by the DECC ends on 22 February.

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