The government has laid out its energy strategy for the future, which supports a big increase in renewable energy and energy efficiency, but also prepares the way for a new generation of nuclear power stations. Here politicians and green campaigners give their reaction to the announcement.
Every country around the world is looking at these two problems, securing energy supply with sufficient diversity and reducing CO2 emissions. And the reason why we should look at nuclear power as an option here is because if we don't do that, we are simply for reasons in my view of ideology putting it to one side when plainly round the world many others are coming to the opposite conclusion.
ALISTAIR DARLING, TRADE AND INDUSTRY SECRETARY
If we're going to make a real difference in reducing energy demand, we need a stronger obligation on energy companies to provide their residential customers with energy saving measures. So the White Paper proposes that from next year, they double their current effort and from 2012, we aim to transform the way they see the relationship with their customers, shifting the focus to the provision of energy services, increasing energy efficiency and saving carbon in the home, rather than simply selling them gas and electricity.
SHADOW TRADE AND INDUSTRY SECRETARY ALAN DUNCAN
Business will only invest in nuclear power if it knows its costs - it needs
certainty about carbon, decommissioning, and waste. There is absolutely no
greater clarity on those issues today, so what happens if no one comes forward
SUSAN KRAMER, LIB DEM TRADE AND INDUSTRY SPOKESWOMAN
It'll only be 3.8 % of the amount of energy that we need - it's very much at the margins, so it doesn't deal with the security problem. And that seems to be one of the myths - I think the government sometimes has stumbled completely over that issue. We don't solve the security problem by putting in nuclear - what we do is create ourselves a whole series of problems around costs, around risk and we also prevent ourselves from going full steam ahead into renewables as we need to.
DEREK WALL, GREEN PARTY PRINCIPAL SPEAKER
Nuclear energy is going to be for Gordon Brown what weapons of mass destructions were for Tony Blair, what we need is clean, safe renewables and nuclear power distracts from that.
And the fact that so many billions have been put into nuclear power already means that those are billions that haven't gone into renewable energy. We could be like Germany that's phasing out nuclear power, with their former Green government doing this, and investing huge amounts in renewables and being world leaders and building our economy on that as well.
JOHN SWINNEY, SNP SCOTTISH CABINET SECRETARY
I think if you look at all the detail about this, it seems much more likely that nuclear power stations will be sited in the south of England. That's where the debate seems to have been concentrated and where some of the proposals seem to have been developed. But I think it's important at this stage that the Scottish government makes its position absolutely clear -- that we will not support new nuclear power stations.
JOHN SAUVEN, GREENPEACE DIRECTOR
Scientists say the speed at which climate change is happening means that some of the sites suggested for new nuclear power stations are threatened by rising sea levels and storm surges. Meanwhile political developments in Scotland have ruled out other sites. You have to question where the government thinks it's going to build these things.
STEPHEN HALE, GREEN ALLIANCE
It's groundhog day. Another Commons statement. Another White Paper. Another barrage of consultation. But still none of the big decisions needed to get Britain on course for a low-
carbon economy. Tony Blair's legacy Energy White Paper is a millstone for Gordon Brown.
Labour is investing political capital in nuclear power, an industry that has
never delivered. History shows that the taxpayer will ultimately foot the bill.
DAVID ORR, NATIONAL HOUSING FEDERATION
"The government is missing an opportunity to tackle housing related emissions. Housing associations are required to build homes to higher energy efficiency standards, as part of the new Code for Sustainable Homes, but there is no obligation for private developers to do so. Housing associations only account for one in four new homes built, meaning that 75% of new homes are not required to have high levels of energy efficiency. The government should require all developers to build homes to a higher standard of energy efficiency.
ROGER HIGMAN, FRIENDS OF THE EARTH
The fear we have is that by investing in nuclear we'll invest in a dangerous dirty white elephant. The nuclear power stations may get built, they may not, they could prove very expensive as they've done in other countries, but we won't tackle the fundamental problem we've got to address which is climate change. That can only be tackled by programmes to invest in energy efficiency, in renewable power, that's what the government should be focusing on.
SIR DAVID WALLACE, ROYAL SOCIETY
The signal that the Energy White Paper gives to a new generation of nuclear power stations is a recognition that in the short to medium term nuclear could be crucial in helping the UK tackle the challenges of climate change and security of supply. However, the White Paper underestimates the distance we still have to travel in determining how to deal safely with the integral issue of radioactive waste. The strategy for this must be taken forward by a committee of independent experts. Given our existing stockpiles of radioactive waste, this must happen whether or not new nuclear is given the go-ahead.