Friends of the Earth, WWF, Green Alliance and Greenpeace have now pulled out of the consultation process and produced a document which declares the procedure ‘a public relations stitch-up’.
‘The new consultation is no different from the government’s previous attempts at a nuclear consultation,’ the document reads. ‘It skirts over the many negative aspects of nuclear power, such as its enormous cost, what to do with all the radioactive waste new build will create, and how little nuclear power will do to help cut carbon emissions and guarantee energy security.’
The original consultation was declared ‘seriously flawed’ and ‘manifestly inadequate’ by the High Court in February. Now, the green groups fear that the 1,100 people about to be asked for their opinion on nuclear power will be given biased information.
‘We have given the government every chance to make the information they give to the public impartial,’ spokesman Ben Ayliffe told the Guardian, ‘but they have chosen to ignore it. It [the government] has not wanted an open debate. We would rather not go to court, but it is an option that we are considering.’
Last month, Gordon Brown pre-judged the consultation by announcing that a decision to continue with nuclear power had already been taken. He was forced to quickly qualify his remarks by Greenpeace’s lawyers.
This article first appeared in the Ecologist September 2007