HL Deb 14 December 1987 vol 491 cc592-4WA
The Earl of Lauderdale

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How they reconcile their Statement on 25th November that "the reason we have a delay of eight years in the construction of new power stations is simply because of the vagaries of our planning system" (col. 635) with their Statement on 19th November that in 1984 it had been predicted that the CEGB would have surplus capacity but that its estimates of future generating requirements had since been revised?

Viscount Davidson

There were no orders for new power stations over the period 1979 to 1987 partly because of the surplus of ageing capacity which existed and which was kept operating while decisions were taken on the best method of future generation and partly due to the length of the Sizewell Inquiry which delayed those decisions. The CEGB keeps its estimates of future generating requirements under constant review to meet changing circumstances. Because of the long lead times involved, orders for new power plant have to be made well in advance of need.