MP's call to end SNP nuclear veto

THE Scottish Government should be stripped of its powers to block new nuclear plants north of the border, according to a veteran Scots Labour MP.

Brian Donohoe said Holyrood should no longer have the right to rule over planning applications for new power stations. SNP ministers have declared they will use the powers to turn down any applications for new nuclear stations in Scotland.

The Central Ayrshire MP has now written to the Calman Commission – the body reviewing the powers of the Scottish Parliament – saying that powers over energy should be taken back to Westminster.

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Donohoe's call comes as ministers announced four potential sites for new nuclear stations, three in England and one in Wales.

In Scotland, the country's two existing reactors are due to close within the next few years. Hunterston in North Ayrshire is currently due to shut down in 2016, while Torness in East Lothian is scheduled to close in 2023.

SNP ministers have argued that Scotland does not need nuclear power because of its vast potential supply of renewable energy. But Scots Labour MPs say that there is a danger that Scotland would become a new importer of electricity without nuclear.

In his submission to the Commission, Donohoe wrote: "There is a clear case for decision-making powers on energy issues to be removed from the Scottish Executive. As an illustration of why this is important, look no further than the fact that the Scottish Executive can prevent any nuclear power station being built in Scotland."

The SNP said that new nuclear stations in Scotland were "unnecessary".