Posted: 26/06/2011 13:02:46 by
Next generation of reactors will be built at Sellafield and Heysham, the Government announced today as it pushes ahead with plans for new nuclear power plants.
In the first major announcement on the future of nuclear in the UK since the Fukushima disaster in Japan, the Government outlined the locations deemed suitable for new power stations by 2025, all of which are adjacent to existing nuclear sites.
The eight sites are: Bradwell, Essex; Hartlepool; Heysham, Lancashire; Hinkley Point, Somerset; Oldbury, South Gloucestershire; Sellafield, Cumbria; Sizewell, Suffolk; and Wylfa, Anglesey.
The plans for new nuclear power plants are part of a series of national policy statements on energy which were published today, following a public consultation.
They will be debated and voted on in Parliament, but ministers are hopeful that, with a pro-nuclear majority in the Commons, they will win the argument.
Nuclear power is one of the issues that divided Conservatives and Liberal Democrats when they entered Government together, with the coalition deal allowing a Lib Dem spokesman to speak out against any new nuclear plants, while Lib Dem MPs could abstain on the issue.
Lib Dem Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has since given his backing to new reactors, insisting they would not be subsidised by the taxpayer - although MPs have warned that reform of the electricity market could favour nuclear power and amount to a hidden subsidy.
The Government is planning the new suite of reactors to maintain electricity supplies and cut greenhouse gas emissions as an old generation of power stations is shut down.
The future of nuclear as a power source for countries around the world was called into question earlier this year after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami rocked the reactors at Fukushima, leaving radioactivity leaking from the plant.
Mr Huhne signalled last month that plans for new reactors in the UK were on track after an initial report on Fukushima from nuclear chief inspector Mike Weightman ruled out the need to curtail the operation of nuclear power stations in the UK in light of the situation in Japan.
The energy policy statements aim to provide a framework for making planning decisions so projects do not face "unnecessary hold-ups".
They set out the need for billions of pounds of investment in new energy sources, including 33 gigawatts of renewable power - the equivalent of thousands of offshore wind turbines - to meet the UK's future needs.
Energy minister Charles Hendry said: "Around a quarter of the UK's generating capacity is due to close by the end of this decade. We need to replace this with secure, low carbon, affordable energy.
"This will require over £100 billion worth of investment in electricity generation alone.
"This means twice as much investment in energy infrastructure in this decade as was achieved in the last decade.
"Industry needs as much certainty as possible to make such big investments.
"These plans set out our energy need to help guide the planning process, so that if acceptable proposals come forward in appropriate places, they will not face unnecessary hold-ups."
He said the coalition Government was determined to make the UK attractive to investors to ensure that the country had secure, affordable, low-carbon energy.
Posted: 04/06/2011 10:16:05 by
A GOVERNMENT appointed planning inspector has ruled that an ancient Lake District fell pass is out of bounds for motorised vehicles.
The decision by the Secretary of State to make Garburn Pass, between Troutbeck and Kentmere, a ‘restricted byway’ follows three years of legal argument.
It means that any motorist or motorcyclist using the pass is committing a criminal offence and could face serious legal consequences.
The inspector went through hundreds of pages of documents ranging from maps of 1822, guide books of the 1880s, and photographs of motorbikes using the pass in the 1920s.
The Lake District National Park Authority has also announced that thanks to around £55,000 of Government funding invested in repairs following the 2009 floods, the pass is probably in better condition than it has been for hundreds of years.
“The storms of November 2009 badly damaged both sides of the pass, especially the western side where the track effectively became a river, and most of the surface ended up on the main road,” said National Park Countryside Access Adviser Nick Thorne.
“We were able to obtain significant funding under the Paths for the Public Project, funded by Defra, the Rural Development Programme for England, and Cumbria County Council. And we have now completely rebuilt the worst affected areas in three stages with the work being carried out by our own staff, the National Trust, and a local contractor.”
Posted: 04/06/2011 10:14:30 by
THOUSANDS of punters flocked to Cartmel Races for the course’s biggest meeting of the year, spread over three days.
The traditional Bank Holiday Monday event attracted a crowd of 16,000 to watch the seven races.
Jonathan Garratt, Cartmel Racecourse managing director, said the bookies did not fare too badly.
“I think it has been mixed; they have had some favourites going in but I’m sure they have had ups and downs.”
Punters successfully backed legendary racer Tony McCoy, who appeared on Monday.
Yesterday, too, proved a rare highlight for racegoers as three Cheltenham Festival horses went on parade for Veterans Day.
Chief Dan George, who is trained just a mile from Cartmel by Jimmy Moffatt, was joined by Mister McGoldrick and Hussard Collonges.
“We have had a lot of people who are on half-term holiday but it’s also the day when racing enthusiasts from all over the country come and have their day at Cartmel because the course is slightly less overcrowded,” said Mr Garratt.
Meanwhile, a racing steward became the first person to join an exclusive Cartmel ‘club’.
Officiating at Saturday’s races signalled a landmark for Colin Vickers — it meant he had visited every racecourse in Britain.
Cartmel Racecourse chairman Lord Cavendish presented Mr Vickers with a souvenir badge, which coincided with the launch of an I’ve Saved The Best Until Last club.
Anyone completing a visit to all Britain’s racecourses with a trip to Cartmel will now receive one of the specially-commissioned badges.
Mr Garratt said: “When I came here I was amazed how many people said they had been to every other racecourse before they tasted the unique delights of Cartmel.
“I realised that they were saving the best until last.”
Posted: 04/06/2011 10:11:21 by
MORE than 10,000 people flocked to Crooklands at the weekend to celebrate quality local produce.
Country Fest — organised by Westmorland Agricultural Society — showcased the finest food and drink the area has to offer.
Independent food and drink producers and suppliers, who give the region its culinary reputation, tempted the senses at the County Showfield and gave visitors an insight into where their food comes from.
The family event also included a pets’ corner, ‘meet the farmer’, sheep shearing demonstrations, music and dance, a ‘grow your own’ area, crafts, beer festival, trade stands and dog shows.
Sheep dog trials were a new addition this year and The Westmorland Gazette hosted a wedding fair.
Richard and Barbara Mathews, from Kendal, were impressed with the range of items on sale and stocked up on locally-produced pies.
“We have such a wide variety of food here,” said Mr Mathews.
“We have got a lot of farmers who are extending what they do into other products and we like to support them.”
Tommy Brady, also from Lancaster, said: “The amount of food that is available is amazing. There are umpteen different types of sausage and pies — you want to buy it all.”
Christine Knipe, chief executive of Westmorland Agricultural Society, said: “The sunshine did bring people out on the Sunday and it was very busy.
"The feedback was positive.”
Posted: 03/06/2011 10:10:31 by
ZANY Steven Hall is urging people to vote for him after he performs in front of millions of TV viewers on Britain’s Got Talent tonight.
The 53-year-old telecommunications engineer will represent Cumbria when he takes to the stage for the live semi-final with a new dance routine.
Having taken the nation by storm with his eclectic two-minute act, which saw him perform a dance to The Birdy Song, The Macarena and The Twist, he has become an overnight success.
He has gained more than 1.5 million views on YouTube and more than a thousand fans on his official Facebook site.
So, what has he got lined up for the biggest performances of his life tonight?
“It was said: ‘How am I going to follow that?’ Because the element of surprise has gone,” he said.
“So I have taken what everybody said they would expect me to do next and not done it.”
Life has changed for the Burneside Amateur Theatrical Society member since he gained three ‘yes’ votes from Amanda Holden, Michael McIntyre and David Hasselhoff, and a standing ovation from the Liverpool crowd.
“It was the second best experience of my life, but I can’t tell you the first one,” he jokes.
“Since then, it has been so busy I haven’t had time to think about it.
"I have been to London several times for interviews and rehearsals.”
Having performed in theatres across the Lake District, Steven set up Comedy Showtime two years ago, a five-person act that puts on performances across the region.
From this, a 10-minute dance evolved which came to form the basis of his BGT audition.
If Steven is successful tonight, he will make it through to Saturday’s live final.
If victorious in the final, he will perform in front of The Queen at The Royal Variety Performance and win £100,000.
“I am nervous and confident about tonight,” he said.
“Nervous because Simon Cowell is back on the show and he is held in such anticipation about what he has thought of the acts that have gone through while he’s been away.
"But I am confident of my routine. I’m looking forward to it.”