Howard's Way 16 February 2006

Contributed by editor on Feb 16, 2006 - 12:10 AM

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

13 February 2006<IMG height=195 hspace=10 src="images/michaelhoward3.jpg" width=130 align=right vspace=10 border=0>

Last Friday morning I chaired a well attended meeting at Lydd Airport to discuss the plans to decommission Dungeness A nuclear power station. Nick Gore, the Station manager, and Sean Moules, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s Site manager, gave a presentation on what will happen after the station ceases to general electricity at the end of the year.

Some of the many questions were directed to the possibility of a new nuclear station being built at Dungeness. I have never showed the doctrinaire opposition to nuclear power which exists in some quarters. When asked “how would like to have a nuclear power station in your backyard?� I have always been able to reply “I can see two of them from my bedroom window!�

There are legitimate questions which still have to be answered, on cost and waste disposal, before I would support a new programme of building nuclear power stations and there are also questions about whether Dungeness would be the best site, given the concerns which exist about rising sea levels. But I believe that we should approach all these questions in a pragmatic way and on the basis of all available evidence.

After the meeting at Lydd Airport I went to St Nicholas Church of England primary School at new Romney to discuss the possibility of connecting the school to the new mains drainage scheme which is, at last, being provided at New Romney. Then it was off to New Romney Town Hall for the quarterly meetings of the Mains Drainage Committee of the Town Council which I have been attending regularly.

In the afternoon I visited the Mosque in Folkestone to meet leaders of our local Muslim community. These are difficult times for the relationship between our Muslim fellow-citizens and the rest of our national community. The overwhelming majority of Muslims in Britain are law-abiding citizens who take as much pride in being British as the rest of us. It is important that we all resist the attempts of those who wish to provoke us into attitudes of mutual hostility.

On Friday evening I went to a fund-raising event in aid of the Ghurka Family Welfare Association. A large crowd had gathered at Shorncliffe to take part. What a wonderful way to mark the warm welcome the people of Folkestone have given the Ghurkas. Long may they remain as part of our local community.