Government will have to rethink nuclear power plans after judge calls recent consultation “misleading” and “seriously flawed”

The government may have to rethink its nuclear building programme after a High Court Judge agreed with Greenpeace that a nuclear consultation had been flawed

The environmental organisation had taken the Government to the High Court over last year’s Energy Challenge report, claiming that the consultation for the report was a sham.

The judge agreed with Greenpeace and ruled that the consultation process preceding the decision last year was “misleading”, “seriously flawed” and “procedurally unfair”.

The 2003 Energy White Paper described nuclear power as an “unattractive option” and said that any decision to go down this route would be needed to be backed with the fullest possible public consultation.

Greenpeace claimed that this has not been met and the degree of public consultation was unacceptable meaning the government had not fulfilled its earlier promise.

It said there had been a failure to present clear proposals and information on key issues. The judge agreed that some of the information in the proposal was “not merely adequate but also misleading.”

As a result of these problems the judge granted a “quashing order”.

The Department of Trade and Industry issued a statement saying: "This judgement is about the process of consultation, not the principle of nuclear power. We will of course consult further."

Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling, contesting the judicial review, argued that the energy review was only part of an ongoing process which would ensure full consultation.