A United Nations committee has asked the UK to suspend work on the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station near Burnham-On-Sea because of the government’s failure to consult with European countries over the project.
The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) said that the UK had failed to meet its obligations to discuss the possible impact of an incident at Hinkley on neighbouring countries.
UNECE has now gone a step further and said the UK should consider refraining from further works on the site of the new reactors.
The group says that the government should suspend the project until it has heard back from countries including Germany, Norway and the Netherlands on whether it would be helpful for them to be formally notified under a treaty on transboundary environmental impacts.
John Sauven, the executive director of Greenpeace UK, said: “Opposition to Hinkley started with knowledgeable energy specialists and environmentalists. It grew to involve a wide array of businesses and media commentators. Now it includes neighbouring countries and a UN body. This letter from a UN body shows the UK still has a mindset of doing what we like without listening to the widespread concerns.”
But a spokesman for EDF, the French state-owned company building Hinkley Point C, said: “We have carried out all the environmental impact assessments (EIA) required for Hinkley Point C, including assessing any likely significant transboundary impacts. In considering the EIA the UK Planning Inspectorate concluded there was no likelihood of significant transboundary effects.”
“The UK supreme court has already rejected a challenge from An Taisce which claimed that the government should have consulted other member states before making its decision on the development.”
Stop Hinkley spokesperson Roy Pumfrey told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “This is yet another embarrassment for the Government and its obsession with outdated, dangerous nuclear technology. This month we have already seen the Daily Telegraph warn that the old energy order is drawing to a close and that Theresa May’s Government will be cursed for locking us into Hinkley Point C’s ruinously high prices.”
“Commentators and energy experts from all shades of opinion have told her that this phenomenally expensive project is an unnecessary form of power generation. Unlike previous Prime Ministers we know she is not averse to the occasional U-turn, so she should take the opportunity presented by the United Nations Committee to call a halt to this project now.”
However, a spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “The Environment Agency and Office for Nuclear Regulation have independently assessed the station design of Hinkley Point C for safety, security and environmental impact before granting approval. The project will continue to be subject to robust regulation from these bodies and it will have no significant adverse effect on the environment of any other country.”