Ministers 'to approve first generation of small nuclear power stations'

Reports that ministers are this week expected to back 'the first generation of small nuclear power stations in Britain' feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Guardian reports that, "after industry frustration at huge delays to the government’s competition to find the best value small modular reactor (SMR), funding to develop and test the power stations will be confirmed". The paper says that the "earliest an SMR is thought likely to be ready for deployment in the UK is around 2030".

The Guardian also reports that local politicians and campaigners have said that increasing levels of second home ownership in the Yorkshire Dales have left the national park with a "flight of working-age people, school closures, loss of services and hollowed-out communities". The paper says that a "detailed proposal to tackle the problem of second homes – including raising council tax" – will be brought to a meeting of the national park authority on 19 December. "If approved, the plans will then go to the national park’s constituent local authorities for consideration."

The Times (subscription) reports that "McCarthy & Stone, Britain’s biggest retirement housebuilder, has revealed that it is to start building its first bungalows in more than 20 years". The paper says that the developer believes it has found a way to construct them and still make a decent profit. "A lack of profitability was a key reason for their decline."

The Telegraph reports that "a cage of caterpillars has prevented a house from being built after an enthusiast argued it would cast a shadow on their habitat". The paper says that Steve Doyle, who has been working to save the endangered Marsh Fritillary butterfly from extinction for the last 13 years in the garden behind his home in Durdar, Carlisle, "told planners that a new build would cast a shadow and starve the caterpillars he breeds of much-needed daylight". A planning decision notice said that the scheme would lead to an "unacceptable loss of sunlight on a breeding programme for a UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species", the paper says.

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