Howard's Way 15 September 2005

Contributed by editor on Sep 17, 2005 - 05:25 PM

HOWARD'S WAY.... a weekly column from Michael Howard MP

Last Friday I visited the two nuclear power stations at Dungeness.

Dungeness A is, I was told, the oldest nuclear power station in the world which is still operating. It will cease generating at the end of next year and work will begin on the complex process of decommissioning.

Dungeness B hopes to continue generating power for another 10 years. A decision on this is likely this week and may have been made before you read this. The safety issues which arise have been cleared by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate and all that remains is approval by the Energy Minister and the board of British Energy.

Nuclear power is controversial. But if we are to take the problems of global warming seriously it is difficult to see how we can generate the power we need to sustain modern life without some contribution from nuclear energy. Alternative energy sources like wind power will simply never be able to fill the gap.

So I hope that Dungeness B will continue to make its contribution to our local economy and to the challenge of global warming for many years to come.

Next stop was Christ Church Primary School in Folkestone. The pupils were busily engaged in House elections but I had the opportunity of a good discussion with Headteacher Jim Kreiselmeier. He was concerned, as is the case with so many other headteachers I have seen recently, that recent changes in teachers’ terms and conditions have not been matched with increased resources. It is true that the national education budget has increased significantly in recent years, but not enough of that money has got through to the schools. That is something that certainly needs attention.

On Friday afternoon I chaired a meeting of the Channel Chamber of Commerce which is planning an ambitious Hospitality conference in Folkestone next spring.

Saturday was surgery day with my advice centres in Romney Marsh. And on Sunday I was privileged to attend the Civic Service celebrating the 200th anniversary of Methodism in Hythe.

All this, I confess, interspersed with avid listening to the news from the Oval. As I write, on Monday morning, the result is still in doubt. By the time you read this the most exciting Test series for a generation will, alas, be over.