Demand for electricity will highlight the UK’s lack of engineering resources

In reference to your editorial leader entitled ‘Nuclear thinking’ (Comment, 21 September), unclear thinking, which is almost an anagram of nuclear thinking — is perhaps nearer to the truth in relation to this discussion.

What is now becoming clear is that the proposed electrification of the main line railway from London to Swansea and the various proposals for HS2 will all act to trigger a dramatic increase in the demand for electrical energy.

This is just as UK fossil-fuel-based power stations approach the end of their service life and fossil-fuel reserves are dwindling, thereby increasing the cost of energy delivery. Even many of the nuclear power stations in the UK are approaching the end of their life and yet, ironically, we are now proposing an increased demand for electrical energy.

With the UK having made the financial sector the country’s priority, when the recent recession was triggered by high-risk, greedy banking practices, the fall-back option of innovative engineering, design excellence and manufacturing in the UK, for the UK, was no longer viable.

It is only now that we, as a nation, have suddenly realised that our privatised energy utilities are facing an end-of-service-life situation, exacerbated through the UK now having very limited engineering resources to provide what is required. It is a case of suddenly realising what it is that engineers do, now that the infrastructure to provide what is needed has gone.

Think of the Harrier jet aircraft — a world beater, innovative, and British. The IC125 diesel train — innovative, a world beater, exported just like the Harrier, and also British. Prototypes constructed, tested, validated, faults removed, all before entering service. Many decades later, both the Harrier and IC125 diesel trains are still in full service in the UK and beyond.

Andrew Porter, Stevenage