A week or so ago Medway Council demonstrated it’s complete lack of balls and vision by giving the nod to the construction of the first coal fired power station to be built in England for 34 years. It will replace the one that is already there as seen in the picture below –
The councils decision is not the one that gives the final say so to the power stations owners e.on to build or not, that is down to central government. Even if Medway Council had not agreed there is every chance that permission will be granted anyway. It was though a missed opportunity for the Council to demonstrate some awareness of and commitment to measures to reduce our carbon footprint on the planet. If the new power station is built it really will be quite a landmark in terms of decision making related to ameliorating climate change. If by some miracle the government listens to the science and decides not to give permission Medway Council are going to look very stupid indeed.
Greenpeace are of course on the case. They say the new power station will “emit as much carbon dioxide as the 30 least polluting nations in the world combined”. A leading climate scientist has called it “a tipping point for the world”.
The recent increase in consumer energy prices and our dependence on gas imports won’t do much to gain support for the opposition of the new build. The notion of opening up British coal mines to feed this beast is also bound to be aired. These issues may well generate popular support for the power station but in my view illustrate short term thinking and local gain to the detriment of long term consequences and the greater good.
I won’t argue that new energy sources are not needed and that a cleaner power station than the one that’s already there can’t be too much of a bad thing however there is more than one way to skin a cat. Nuclear energy is also not the only (un)viable alternative. Aside from us all using less energy which seems unlikely unless we are forced to do so there are some other measures which could be pursued.