However, trade secretary Alistair Darling in announcing the delay to parliament did add that “if it can be published before Easter” he would do so. Darling blamed the delay on a recent judicial ruling which has forced the government to reopen the consultation on a decision to build new nuclear stations following a successful Greenpeace challenge. “The government accepts the court’s judgment and will not appeal it,” said Darling, adding “we shall therefore conduct a new consultation endeavouring to meet the court’s requirements.” The consultation document, expected to be published some time in May, will bring together the evidence and analysis collected since the energy review began in November 2005.

Following a more exhaustive consultation the government will be able to “make a decision on nuclear, and on certain other issues arising from the white paper, in the autumn,” said Darling.

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