The British government is being forced to reconsider its decision to back the construction of new nuclear power stations.

A High Court judge in London has ruled that the consultation process which led to the decision was seriously flawed.

The ruling follows a legal challenge brought by Greenpeace.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair's government has said that building new nuclear reactors as ageing facilities close down is the only way to cut reliance on oil and gas imports and meet rigorous climate change targets.

However, Mr Justice Sullivan said that in coming to its decision the UK government had failed to present clear information on key issues such as the financial costs of new nuclear build and the disposal of radioactive waste.

He found the consultation process put in place prior to the decision 'seriously flawed' and 'procedurally unfair'.

The judge said the exercise was unclear and inadequate.

The document contained no information of any substance on the two crucially important issues, economics and waste disposal, he said.

The information given on waste was 'not merely inadequate but also misleading', and information of substance did not emerge until after the consultation period had elapsed.

Mr Justice Sullivan accordingly quashed the government decision.

The British government said afterwards it still believes nuclear power has a role to play in cutting carbon emissions.

However, it could now face the prospect of having to hold a new public consultation on the future of nuclear power in Britain.