Agency chief calls for new nukes and wartime levels of cooperation

Environment Agency Chairman Lord Smith has suggested that wartime levels of cooperation are needed between the government and the main opposition parties to combat climate change.

In a lecture to the Royal Society of Arts in February, he proposed that ministerial briefing papers on climate and energy issues should be shared with shadow ministers "on privy council terms, on a regular basis".

"It’s done when the country is preparing for war; given the sheer importance of the issue, can’t it be done for the war on climate change? And how about a cross-party delegation at [the UN climate summit in] Copenhagen, to demonstrate the national commitment?"

In a wide-ranging lecture on the credit crunch and its implications for environmental progress, the former Labour cabinet minister favoured new nuclear power stations alongside renewables and carbon capture and storage from fossil-fuel power stations.

He said the Agency must "become an enabler organisation, making it easier for others to make the right environmental choices: whether it’s ensuring that micro-hydro power generation schemes go ahead in the right places, or waste-to-energy schemes, or anaerobic digestion projects…."

"We have to see ourselves as a facilitator as well as a regulator."

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