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23 April 2010

Gordon Brown: I've got a solar panel on my house

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Leaders explain what they are doing to tackle climate change, before clashing over Heathrow, nuclear power and Britain's role in international negotiations

The leaders of the three main parties clashed over their respective responses to climate change last night, while again demonstrating the scale of the consensus over the need to take urgent action to curb carbon emissions.

Asked by a member of the audience at the Sky News Leaders Debate about what they were doing personally to combat climate change, Gordon Brown said that his family had looked at installing a wind turbine at his Scottish home, but had found that even with Scotland's climate it would be more effective to install a solar water heating system.

He said that the system was consistently providing hot water for the house and urged other people to invest in the technology.

Brown also said that he had travelled by train throughout the election campaign and reiterated his support for a high speed rail network for the UK.

Conservative Leader David Cameron, who has had well documented problems getting planning permission for a proposed wind turbine on his Notting Hill home, said that he had installed insulation at his home, while Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said that he also tried to take the train where possible, but admitted that "like many people, I wish I would and could do more".

The debate quickly turned to the few areas where the three main parties differ on climate change party with both Cameron and Clegg attacking the Labour government for approving the proposed expansion of Heathrow.

Similarly, Brown asked Clegg to justify why the Lib Dems are opposed to nuclear power and Cameron to explain why the Conservatives were opposed to targets for wind power and consistently guilty of blocking new wind farms at council level.

Clegg said that he did not have a "theological opposition to nuclear" but believed that it is "extraordinarily expensive and it takes a long, long time to build these nuclear power stations - well into the next decade - which is too late". He added that the UK's looming energy gap could instead be plugged through a comprehensive energy efficiency programme and increased investment in renewables.


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