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What exactly is harming pharmaceutical innovation in the UK

Sir, Behind Pfizer’s closure of its laboratories in Sandwich lies a bigger problem: the EU as a whole is not an attractive place to innovate. Increasingly stringent regulation provides a stultifying environment for innovation and entrepreneurship. Unless European policymakers can reverse this trend and not simply make worthless statements about encouraging the knowledge-based economy, we must all look forward to a future as an economic backwater.

Martin Livermore
Scientific Alliance, Cambridge

Letter published in The Times, 7 February 2011

Raw deal

Will Morris (Friends of The Scotsman, 3 July) suggests Ofgem’s energy market indicator is a hypothetical snapshot in time and that judgment on profits should be made over a longer period. In the case of wind-generated electricity, longer view estimates can be made.

The 38MW Longpark wind farm development, for example, cost £33 million, according to the BBC. (It is owned by EDF, but SSE’s costs and returns will be very similar.)

Wave power is a long way off

JENNY Hogan's article on the role of renewables contains some half-truths and misleading inferences ("Time truth was told about the vital role of renewables in our wellbeing", Herald Agenda, April 22).

It is not true that fossil fuel generators are paid when they are "constrained off" the grid - in fact they pay National Grid for the fuel that they do not need to use. Only wind generators are paid, not for the electricity they do not generate, but for the consumer-paid subsidy they would otherwise collect.

Myth and reality

Monday’s edition (14 April) brought a wry smile to my face. One of your articles reports on how Alex Salmond is pulling out all the stops to woo voters from the islands. They will be granted all manner of extra powers.

Indeed, if such greater autonomy is not sufficient then they may even be allowed a referendum on independence!

When I turn to the letters column I find a deluge of correspondence about government policy on wind farms.

Green folly

Last week, the Audit Commission, the government’s spending watchdog, reported that 
£17 billion of our money had been spent on subsidies to recent large wind farm and biomass applications. The contracts for these last 25 years. All of us pay for this gross extravagance through our electricity bills, but bloated subsidies characterise the whole renewable industry. This report followed the day after the electricity market was referred to competition authorities.

Well funded

Douglas Turner (Letters, 12 April) refers to “the massive costs that the UK taxpayer will have to bear to decommission the ageing generation of nuclear power stations”. Perhaps readers should be aware that these costs are already funded. The Nuclear Liabilities Fund has assets of £8.8 billion and that is assessed to be appropriate for decommissioning purposes. 

EdF, as the owner of nuclear stations in UK, currently contributes to the fund; the Central Electricity Generating Board and South of Scotland Electricity Board contributed to its predecessor.

New nuclear is not subsidised

IN launching its report arguing for a greater say in UK energy policy, the Scottish Government claims that this would contribute to security of supply, that the "lower marginal cost" of wind will ensure reliability and affordability and that "subsidies" for new nuclear dwarf those for wind and marine ("SNP:

give us big say on energy or lights will go out", The Herald, April 7). It is worrying enough that any govern­ment should be making such claims but even more so if it believes them.


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