Labour urges SNP to u-turn on nuclear policy
Sir Keir Starmer and Anas Sarwar will tomorrow urge the SNP to soften its opposition to nuclear power or risk Scotland “paying the price in lost jobs and opportunities”.
The Labour leader and the party’s Scottish leader have thrown their support behind the UK Government’s plans for eight reactors.
However, they are all planned for England and Wales and the SNP has insisted its opposition to new nuclear power installations remains unchanged.
Scotland currently has only one nuclear power station, the Torness plant in East Lothian, after the Hunterston B site in North Ayrshire was closed in January.
Labour says the SNP’s opposition to any new projects puts at threat the possibility for millions of pounds of investment in Scotland, as well as opportunities available from new technology, such as proposals for a new state of the art nuclear fusion plant in North Ayrshire.
North Ayrshire council has said the proposed fusion energy plant at Ardeer would be a “world-leading facility, producing safe, clean energy to help the fight against climate change, bringing thousands of new jobs and acting as an economic catalyst in this part of Scotland”.
Mr Sarwar has written to ministers in both the UK and Scottish governments encouraging them to back the Ardeer project.
As Daily Business reported in January, the Scottish Government is reviewing its energy policy and has given indications that it may support the Ayrshire plan.
Labour have called for more investment in onshore wind and solar power and has also said nuclear energy must be part of any energy supply mix to ensure stability of output and future energy supply.
Sir Keir and Mr Sarwar claim that both SNP and the Tories have failed to invest in Scotland’s energy future – exacerbating the cost of living crisis.
They points out that the SNP had pledged to create 130,000 green jobs by 2020, but figures show progress on green jobs going backwards in Scotland, with fewer direct jobs today than in 2014.
Mr Sarwar said: “Scotland now risks paying the price in lost jobs and opportunities for the SNP’s unscientific and economically backward opposition to nuclear energy.”
Sir Keir added: “Both the SNP and the Tories need to get their act together when comes to dealing with the energy crisis.
“We need real investment in green and renewables jobs, not more broken promises.
“But we also need to seize the opportunities for investment and energy security that come with nuclear energy.
“Neither of Scotland’s governments have a plan to cut bills, deliver energy independence, or tackle the climate crisis. Labour would deliver a green energy sprint, while the SNP and Tories dither and delay.”
The SNP says its opposition to nuclear is based on environmental and cost considerations and believes other sources of power present more attractive options.