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United Kingdom - July 15

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Brown sets 'no limit' on number of reactors to be built

Andrew Grice, The Independent
Gordon Brown is to fast-track the building of at least eight nuclear power stations to cut Britain's dependence on oil following the dramatic rise in its price.

The Prime Minister will set "no upper limit" on the number of nuclear plants that will be built by private companies. That would mean nuclear, which provides about 20 per cent of Britain's electricity, could meet a bigger share after the new generation of nuclear stations come on stream over the next 15 years.

Mr Brown fears the UK could experience an energy supply crisis if it does not step up its nuclear programme. He believes that fast-rising oil prices have tipped the balance even more in favour of nuclear and renewable energy, such as wind and wave power, since the Government published a White Paper in January, which backed nuclear...

...Yesterday, the Prime Minister outlined his vision of a "post-oil economy", calling for "a renaissance of nuclear power" and "massive expansion" of renewable energy in which the North Sea becomes "the Gulf of the future" by harnessing the power of the wind. He promised that on nuclear, Britain would work to ensure the best arrangements for security, safety and disposal.
(14 July 2008)

'Lights will go out' by 2015 if Lords rejects Planning Bill

Nick Clark , The Independent
The lights will go out across the UK in seven years if the Planning Bill coming up for review this week is rejected in the House of Lords, according to a leading business trade body. It estimates the country needs £100bn of investment in major energy plants by 2020.

The CBI has urged the House of Lords to pass the Planning Bill, under consideration tomorrow, to help secure the nation's energy and infrastructure needs.

To avoid the power outages that have dogged South Africa and California in the past few years, the UK needs dozens of individual infrastructure projects from gas and coal-fired plants to wind and nuclear. The CBI said that with current complicated planning, legislation was "not fit for purpose", adding the Government's Planning Bill was crucial to speed up the process of approving these projects.

"The current planning system has always struggled with such projects and there is no way the number of projects necessary would come through the current system in time. The reforms ... in the Planning Bill are essential if business is to commit to the necessary investment," Mr Cridland said.
(14 July 2008)

U.K. producer prices rise at fastest pace since 1986

Brian Swint, Bloomberg
U.K. producer prices increased at the fastest pace in at least 22 years in June, making it harder for the Bank of England to cut interest rates as the economy edges toward a recession.

Prices charged by factories rose 10 percent from a year earlier, the most since comparable records began in 1986, the Office for National Statistics said in London today. Economists forecast 9.9 percent, according to the median of 28 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Prices increased 0.9 percent from May.
(14 July 2008)

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