The UK and other European countries are facing a severe energy crisis, with the potential to place more than 8 million UK households in fuel poverty this winter. This ‘energy’ crisis is more accurately a natural gas crisis, driven mostly by restrictions on Russian gas supply to Europe. In one of her first initiatives as Prime Minister, Liz Truss chose to lift the moratorium on UK shale gas production which has been in place since 2019. The announcement claimed that this could ‘get gas flowing in as soon as six months’.
But does this move have any merit and, more importantly, will it actually help struggling households? Dr Laurence Stamford from The University of Manchester argues that the answer to both questions is ‘no’.
In 2006, Prime Minister Tony Blair assured Britain that nuclear was “back on the agenda with a vengeance”. Boris Johnson has described his commitment to deliver nuclear at “warp speed”, and the three intervening Prime Ministers have also emphasised their support for nuclear. Yet Britain’s first new nuclear plant – Hinkley Point C (HPC) – is still some years from operation and, despite recent progress at Sizewell C, there is no confirmed successor project. Academics from The University of Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute, Adrian Bull and Will Bodel, examine the gap between intention and reality and highlight policy recommendations from a new paper by the Dalton Nuclear Policy Group.