No Local Voice in Nuclear Decision:
Supporters of the Stop Hinkley campaign demonstrated outside the offices of EDF (Electricite de France) in Bridgwater today (Friday 15 January) in protest at the lack of real local involvement in their proposal to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point.
Twenty five Stop Hinkley supporters wore gags to symbolise the fact that local voices have been silenced. A placard carried the message: " Hinkley C: Government Dictates, Local Voices Gagged, Somerset Suffers".
All final decisions on the proposed Hinkley C plant - the largest nuclear plant ever proposed in the UK - will be made by a new Government quango, the Infrastructure Planning Commission. The IPC is an unelected body whose members have been appointed by the government to implement its energy policy. This policy is in favour of "new nuclear build".
The IPC will decide on all aspects of Hinkley C, not just the power station. This includes the proposed new roads, workers hostels and park and ride facilities that are already causing massive local controversy. Our elected local authorities - Sedgemoor, West Somerset and Somerset County Council - will have no control over these decisions.
When the last Hinkley C proposal was made in the late 1980s there was a public inquiry which lasted for many months and allowed local people a proper voice. Somerset County , West Somerset and Sedgemoor Councils were all involved.
This time round there will be no local hearings and no guarantee that local people will have a voice in the IPC proceedings, which will be held in London .
"We are not only demanding a local public inquiry into Hinkley C," said Stop Hinkley spokesman Crispin Aubrey. "We are also concerned that the IPC will not be allowed to consider some of the most important aspects of the plans, including the fact that used radioactive fuel will be stored on the Hinkley site for 160 years. This is an appalling legacy to leave to future generations."
The nuclear industry has lobbied hard for the IPC to help implement projects such as Hinkley C as fast as possible. In the process, local democracy is being ignored.