The suggestion came from Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi, who has backed a discount to compensate residents living close to new projects. It is part of a plan, currently being drawn up by ministers, to wean Britain off foreign energy in the wake of the Ukraine crisis. The plot is said to include both new nuclear plants and wind – as well as exploiting the UK’s own oil and gas reserves in the North Sea.
Mr Zahawi told Sky: “I would say that if we are going to make sure that we carry the will of local people, whether it’s onshore wind or nuclear, we have to learn from how it’s done well in other countries.
“The way you do that is to make sure the local community has a real say.
“But also we’ve seen great examples of other people where if they build a nuclear power station, within a certain radius of that power station they get free power.
“So it’s right to look at innovation to make sure we wean ourselves off hydrocarbons, we have to do that, we have to do that well, part of that is making sure we look after the will of the local people.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told nuclear industry bosses that the Government wants to use their firms to get 25 percent of the country’s electricity.
It will mean a huge expansion of the new Rolls-Royce “mini nuclear reactors” and the revival of seven nuclear stations that are due to be retired by 2028.
The strategy has been repeatedly delayed, but Downing Street has said it will be released by the end of the month.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is adamant more onshore wind turbines are needed to guarantee energy supplies.
But there have been numerous reports of a split in Government on the plans, with some MPs concerned about losing popularity in their constituencies.
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“Wind power is cheaper than gas, so we need more wind power.”
Mr Johnson’s preference is believed to be nuclear over wind energy.
However, Chancellor Rishi Sunak is said to also be holding out against unleashing more cash.
It said the Chancellor had told colleagues that he wanted to turn off the spending taps and for every “marginal pound” to go towards tax cuts after criticism of his plans to help ease the cost-of-living crisis.