Published: September 15, 2010
Council expresses 'serious concerns' over Hinkley Point expansion

Opposition to EDF's plans to build two new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point is growing, with the district council this week expressing 'very serious concerns' about the proposals, just days after a protest was held on the environmental impact.

Sedgemoor District Council is set to raise what it calls "very serious concerns" over EDF's proposals for Hinkley Point C nuclear power station at a Special Full Council meeting on 22nd September.

It comes just days after protestors from the Stop Hinkley group, pictured above, blocked Hinkley Point's main gates for almost an hour to demonstrate against the destruction of up to 435 acres of open land and wildlife habitats before pllanning approval for the two proposed new reactors.

In a report to Sedgemoor's Executive, councillors will raise significant objections to the location, design and scale of the associated development in Sedgemoor.

Planning officers looking at the proposals by EDF Energy believe the quality of the information presented by the power company is "wholly inadequate" and are strongly recommending that unless the negative impacts arising from the construction and operation phases are mitigated appropriately, "the Council will have no choice but to formally object to the proposal as a whole."

The council report goes on to say that EDF's transport proposals are "unconvincing" and currently fail to take into account the total cumulative impact of all of the project proposals.

The planning process allows Sedgemoor District Council to comment on EDF's proposals before the energy company submits a Development Consent Order.

Submissions to the Stage 2 proposals, which were released in July, have to be received by October 4th.

Leader of the Council, Duncan McGinty, told "EDF do not seem to be acknowledging what the host communities in Somerset will have to put up with. Despite repeated requests for well-researched quality information, they have not yet satisfied us at all. Given that this is an application for a nuclear power station, it is totally unacceptable."

And Kerry Rickards, Chief Executive of Sedgemoor District Council, added: "The council has a duty to consider the whole picture and if what EDF Energy are presenting is "simply not good enough" then that is exactly the message EDF need to hear. The various Secretaries of State from Energy & Climate Change, Transport and Communities & Local Government need to be notified accordingly."

Meanwhile, several speakers, including Professor Chris Busby, discussed a number of health studies linked to Hinkley Point during a series of talks in Bridgwater last week to coincide with the Stop Hinkley protest.

Mr Busby claimed that studies in the 1980s had shown there was a higher incidence of cancer cases down wind of Hinkley Point, adding: "Our studies have shown raised levels of cancer along the downwind coast from Hinkley to Burnham-On-Sea."

"Health officials have objected to our findings on spurious grounds, including random clusters in other areas, but year on year we keep finding an entrenched problem near Hinkley. The officials have got it wrong," he added.

The health claims were immediately rejected by EDF Energy, which pointed to findings by Dr Julia Verne, Director of the South West Public Health Observatory, that said Prof Busby's comments were inaccurate.

Pictured top and above are protesters outside Hinkley Point during this week's protest. Pics courtesy of Paul Glendell /


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