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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 February 2007, 16:57 GMT
Reaction to nuclear debate ruling
Equipment at Dungeness B
The judge ruled the consultation process was flawed
A High Court judge has ruled that the government's consultation process before deciding to back the building of new nuclear power stations was "seriously flawed".

He granted Greenpeace an order quashing the decision - only the second time that the environmental campaigners have won a High Court case.

The government has now said it will consult again over the plans, but still favoured nuclear power to tackle climate change and reduce dependence on imported oil and gas.

Here MPs, campaigners and the government give their reaction to the decision.

JOHN SAUVEN, GREENPEACE UK DIRECTOR

"We were surprised, I think, by how emphatically the judge agreed with the arguments that we were making. We had a powerful case for sure, but these cases are always extremely difficult to win.

"I think it's the arrogance of this government. You know they make up their mind and even when they say they're going to have a full public consultation - the exercise is just a sham.

"They just treat it with total disdain, they treat the public with total disdain and I think it's quite good really that this issue has been aired in the court."

JOHN ROBERTSON, CHAIRMAN, PARLIAMENTARY NUCLEAR ENERGY GROUP

"This seems an expensive way of using the taxpayer's money for something that will go through eventually.

"I feel that there is no other way, other than to go down the road of building new nuclear power stations.

"The argument has been won. The result of trying to slow the process up is not unusual from an international body like Greenpeace, who just generally hate anything that has the word 'nuclear' in it. "

"I believe [the government] have to appeal. I think there's a precedent here, that any international body who hates something can take us to court on a technicality as it were."

SHADOW TRADE AND INDUSTRY SECRETARY ALAN DUNCAN

"This is an astonishing ruling. What it really says is that the government has been shown up as fundamentally deceitful.

"Behind their headlines saying they would consult widely on this important decision, they had no intention of doing so.

"In a typically deceitful way they said one thing and did another. Now they have been shown up in court for having done so."

TRADE AND INDUSTRY SECRETARY ALISTAIR DARLING

"The thing that concerns me more than anything else is that we are in a race against time here.

"Climate change is a major problem for us. We cannot become overly dependent on oil and gas for generating our energy.

"That is why the government believed that nuclear ought to play a part in that energy mix.

"Clearly the best thing to do now is to accept the judge's verdict, to learn from what went wrong, to put it right and consult properly, to make sure we can get the process back on track."

DOUGIE ROONEY, AMICUS

"Amicus supports the government's proposals to build a new generation of nuclear power stations but we also favour the fullest possible public consultation.

"Any consultation however must be progressed swiftly, taking into consideration value for money for the taxpayer and how a new generation of nuclear power stations can support UK manufacturing."

CHRIS HUHNE, LIB DEM ENVIRONMENT SPOKESMAN

"The truth is that we had a complete 180 degree U turn from the government on nuclear power between 2003 and 2006 - and it was very hard to tell why.

"There wasn't a proper public consultation there wasn't public debate and this is a real slap in the face for the prime minister's sofa style of government.

"If the prime minister was really confident about the arguments for nuclear power - then there needs to be proper public consultation and a proper debate."

PETER LUFF, TORY CHAIRMAN OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY SELECT COMMITTEE

"The government's previous sloth and then overdue urgency have combined to give Greenpeace the chance to launch their challenge and to stall the government's programme to enable the building of a new generation of nuclear power stations."

"However, Greenpeace have done the nation no favours. Their insistence on renewable energy sources is valiant, and we should certainly be heading resolutely in that direction.

"But the simple fact is that there is not sufficient capability in that sector to plug the power gap that will be left by the planned closure of our current nuclear and several coal-fuelled power stations."

"Nor can we as a nation afford to become entirely dependent on imported energy."

DEPARTMENT FOR TRADE AND INDUSTRY

"This judgment is about the process of consultation, not the principle of nuclear power. We will of course consult further.

"Tackling climate change takes leadership, taking on tough long-term choices. This is why we continue to believe nuclear power has a role to play in cutting emissions and helping to give this country the energy security it needs.

"Over the next two decades the UK is likely to need around 25 gigawatts of new electricity generation capacity. We need as much of this as possible to be low carbon. Everyone involved in this debate needs to answer how we do that. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away."




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