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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 March 2006, 19:41 GMT
Tories defeated over energy call
Hunterston power station
The Tories are concerned about future nuclear provision
A Scottish Tory call for ministers to give a clear lead on Scotland's energy policy has been rejected by MSPs.

The Conservative motion called for the Scottish Executive to start planning immediately for replacing or renewing coal-fired and nuclear power stations.

It was defeated by 61 votes to 41 in favour of an executive amendment which endorsed its current policy.

An SNP amendment saying there was no case for building new nuclear stations fell, as did a Green amendment.

Renewable energy

It had noted poll findings which showed that a "small minority" of Scots supported new nuclear power.

The Labour-Lib Dem coalition executive's position is that it will not supply further development of nuclear power while the question of managing waste remains unresolved.

During a Holyrood debate, Tory energy spokesman Alex Johnstone said the executive could not reconcile Labour's pro-nuclear policy with the Liberal Democrats' anti-nuclear stance.

Ministers have set a target of 40% of Scotland's energy supplies to come from renewable energy sources by 2020.

Mr Johnstone told MSPs there were too many people neglecting how the remaining 60% could be generated.

He said it was time to make a decision on the future of the country's nuclear power stations.

It looks like that at the next election in Scotland, these are going to be the two parties going into that election with a pro-nuclear policy
Richard Lochhead
SNP

There was a risk that new stations would not be ready in time, he said.

However, Deputy Enterprise Minister Allan Wilson urged against "knee-jerk" energy reactions.

Mr Wilson said the best way to satisfy Scotland's long-term energy needs was through an "energy mix".

SNP energy spokesman Richard Lochhead said it appeared that a "nuclear treaty" had been signed between Labour and the Tories.

"It looks like that at the next election in Scotland, these are going to be the two parties going into that election with a pro-nuclear policy," he said.

Scottish Green co-convener Shiona Baird said the Sustainable Development Commission spent a year examining the case for nuclear power and the role it could play in a low carbon economy.

"It concluded that nuclear power isn't the answer for five main reasons - waste, economics, inflexibility, security, and the distraction from more effective energy strategies," she said.

"This isn't knee-jerk polemics from environmental ideologues, but a carefully studied and well-reasoned analysis."




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