‘Lights going out on UK energy policy’ as work on Wylfa nuclear power station suspended
- Thursday 17 January 2019
The lights are going out on a coherent UK energy policy, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Thursday 17 January), as Hitachi suspends work on the Wylfa nuclear power station.
Unite said that today’s announcement that Hitachi was halting construction at the site on Anglesey was ‘the latest chapter in the sorry saga of recent UK energy policy’.
Unite pinpointed a number of factors that are leading to a crisis over how the energy needs of businesses and households will be met in the decades ahead:
• The withdrawal of Toshiba from the Moorside nuclear power station project in Cumbria in November
• The controversy over the financing of the Hinkley Point nuclear in Somerset being built by French company EDF, with a stake from Chinese state-owned investor CGN
• Security concerns over future Chinese involvement in the UK nuclear programme
• The reluctance of the Tory government to commit to large-scale funding of infrastructure projects.
Unite national officer for energy Peter McIntosh said: “The decision taken today by Hitachi is a disaster for the UK economy and future energy needs of the country. It is the latest chapter in the sorry saga of recent UK energy policy.
“This government should be held to account as it has no coherent policy and has, yet again, let the country down. The lights are going out when it comes to energy policy.
“There are very real concerns over how we will keep the lights on for industry and consumers in the coming decades.
“Without Wylfa being built, there is no way the country can meet its climate change obligations which it committed to when it signed up to the Paris Agreement in 2016.
“We need to replace the current generation of nuclear plants and Wylfa is a key part of that programme.
“Business secretary Greg Clark needs to step up to the plate and recalibrate energy policy with a vigorous commitment to substantial government funding for large-scale energy infrastructure projects.
“Government energy policy in recent times has been littered with controversy and confusion from Toshiba pulling out of Moorside to the flawed financing model for Hinkley Point – and now Wylfa.”
Unite Wales regional secretary Peter Hughes said: “This is devastating news for the Welsh economy and, in particular, that of north west Wales. The future regeneration on the region has been based upon the bedrock that Wylfa Newydd would proceed.
“For that to now be suspended is a hammer blow to the future prospects of some of most economically deprived communities in the whole of Wales.
“Although this decision has ultimately been made by Hitachi, the UK government must take a massive share of the blame. It has failed miserably to put its full weight behind this bid and to effectively advocate the case for Wylfa Newydd.
“For the prime minister Theresa May to fail to raise Wylfa Newydd with the Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe last week was shameful.
“The UK government’s complete obsession with its disastrous Brexit strategy has meant it has completely took its eye off the ball in getting this crucial infrastructure project over the line.
“Theresa May’s government is failing Wales at every turn.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on: 020 3371 2065
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.