Britain 'on brink of energy crisis'

A claim that 'EU rules and unprofitable conditions for gas-fired power plants' have together pushed Britain to the brink of an energy crisis features in today's newspaper round-up.

The Telegraph reports that "two more power plants are due to close by next winter under EU anti-pollution rules". The newspaper says that the closures will make the UK even more vulnerable to blackouts if there are further incidents such as yesterday’s fire at the Didcot B gas-fired power station in south Oxfordshire.

A leader in the Telegraph says there is "an obvious need for more generating capacity". The newspaper adds: "New nuclear plants are at last being approved, but they are expensive to build and take years to construct. There is also a case for suspending the provisions of the Climate Change Act, to buy Britain some time to get itself out of this mess: given the amount of CO2 emitted worldwide, it will hardly doom the planet if we take off our hair shirt for a spell. We should also consider the proposal by Owen Paterson, the former environment secretary, that we build small-scale nuclear reactors rather than pointless offshore wind farms".

The Independent reports that "up to 2.5 million British homes could be powered by Tunisian sunshine by 2018 under an £8 billion plan to build a giant solar farm in the Sahara desert and ship the electricity to Europe through a 450km (280 miles) submarine cable". The newspaper says that the proposed 100 sq km TuNur farm "would host thousands of computer-controlled mirrors that track the sun and reflect the light back towards a central tower, which absorbs the heat into pipes filled with salt".

The Independent reports that a coalition of environmental groups is calling on the government to scale down its reliance on dredging as a method of flood prevention. The newspaper says that the Blueprint for Water coalition, which represents groups such as the RSPB, the Angling Trust and Friends of the Earth, is urging the government to spend money earmarked for dredging on "more effective" alternative flood-control methods such as improved drainage systems. "In a new report, Dredging Up Trouble, the coalition warns that scooping the mud and weeds from the river bed can, in some cases, make downstream flooding worse by moving water too quickly down the river", the newspaper says.

Salisbury has been tipped by travel guide publisher Lonely Planet as among the top 10 cities in the world to visit in 2015, "beating the Austrian capital of Vienna and Canada’s biggest city, Toronto, to take seventh place in the rankings", the Guardian reports.

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