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Prasad demands clarity as Lib Dems unveil zero-carbon targets

Newly installed RIBA president Sunand Prasad has urged the Liberal Democrats to back-up their ambitious zero-carbon targets with 'realistic' cost plans.

At their party conference in Brighton, the Liberal Democrats yesterday became the only main party to advocate a zero-carbon Britain, including a halt to airport expansion and a ban on all petrol-fuelled cars by 2040.

But a simultaneous rejection of nuclear power could mean the plans do not add up, according to Prasad.

'The Lib Dems have gone all the way in terms of reducing carbon emissions, beyond the Conservative's 80 per cent target and Labour's 60 per cent,' said Prasad.

'But there is a danger in setting ambitious targets. These need to be filled out by a realistic cost plan.'

Outlining the case for retaining nuclear power, Prasad indicated that renewables, principally wind, solar and wave energy, would generate only 40 per cent of Britain's energy needs.

'Achieving the target would be much easier if it included nuclear. The RIBA does not have a position on nuclear so I am speaking as an individual. I am cautious about nuclear energy and it can only be an interim technology,' Prasad added.

Prasad also reiterated a call for the UK government to give individual cities greater control over local spending budgets.

Speaking at the Lib Dems' cities question-time forum, he pointed out that UK cities like Newcastle and Liverpool control just 5 per cent of allocated funds. This contrasts sharply with Barcelona and Turin, which run at 75 per cent of their municipal finances.

by Clive Walker

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