Western Morning News, 14 May 2008

Environmental campaigners last night condemned the sale of a proposed wind farm site to a French company planning to build a nuclear power plant on the plot.

The site at West Hinkley, Somerset , has been bought by Electricite de France (EDF), one of the world's largest nuclear power generators.

Your Energy, which tried for five years to win planning permission to build a wind farm there, confirmed it had sold the project rights to EDF.

Jim Duffy, spokesman for the Stop Hinkley campaign, said objectors like British Energy had thwarted the wind farm plans by arguing nuclear power was a better use of the land.

Mr Duffy said: "It's bitterly disappointing a clean renewable energy project has been squeezed out by Europe 's biggest energy company, who are set on building at least one but perhaps two giant nuclear reactors with their associated nuclear waste and risks from accidents and terrorism.

"I don't think Somerset people want this behind-the-doors type of takeover or what it will bring us.

"It's shameful nuclear operators British Energy have made life difficult for Somerset 's most promising sustainable energy project, even moreso the Health and Safety Executive backed them up. This is a sad day for the environment."

Friends of the Earth's energy campaigner Nick Rau said: "Nuclear power is not the solution. It is expensive and leaves a legacy of deadly radioactive waste that remains dangerous for tens of thousands of years.

"Building new nuclear plants will undermine UK efforts to meet its share of the EU target of 20 per cent energy from renewable sources by 2020.

"We have huge untapped resources of wind, wave and tidal power and it's time to exploit them. If the Government is serious about tackling climate change, it must provide incentives and greater support for energy companies to invest in renewable energy projects such as offshore wind farms."

A spokesman for EDF said: "EDF has indicated publicly for over three years it would be interested in investing in a new generation of nuclear plants for the UK . EDF has been exploring possibilities at Hinkley Point and at Wylfa for more than a year. As a result, EDF has purchased land next to the existing sites at both locations."



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Page Updated 16-May-2008