October 4, 2014
Campaigners bid to block EU deal over Hinkley Point

Campaigners opposed to a new £16 billion nuclear plant near Burnham-On-Sea have written to the European Commissioner for Competition in a bid to halt the project.

Last month, Britain's first new nuclear power station in a generation, to be sited at Hinkley Point, took a step closer when an agreement was reached between the European Commission and Whitehall.

However, the news dismayed opponents, including the Green Party, the Stop Hinkley Group and Greenpeace UK, who vowed that the fight against the EDF plant would continue.

Stop Hinkley has this week written to Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia, who is in charge of state aid, urging him to reconsider and claiming that the subsidy deal had been "stitched up without any sort of competitive process".

"Surely the job of the European Competition Commissioner is to make sure taxpayers’ and electricity consumers’ money is spent on the most cost effective measures to reduce carbon emissions and provide energy security," Valerie Davey, the group’s treasurer, wrote.

"If Hinkley Point C had been subjected to a proper competitive process it couldn’t possibly have progressed beyond the drawing board. There are many far most cost effective ways to provide the heat and light we need in the UK at the same time as reducing carbon emissions. Please urgently reconsider this decision, and order the UK Government to subject the Hinkley proposals to a proper competitive process."

"If you don’t you will be allowing UK consumers to be saddled with eye-wateringly high electricity bills for decades to come."

The new plant is scheduled to be built at Hinkley by 2023. A nuclear power station began generating electricity in Somerset in 1965. When complete it is expected to supply about 7% of the UK’s electricity.

The Government has said £100 million a year will be generated for the local economy during the scheme’s construction.

EDF is still finalising its investment plans. Major backing has come from abroad with China General Nuclear Power Group and China National Nuclear Corporation investing 35-40%, EDF Energy 45-50% and Areva 10%.

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