GLASTONBURY TOWN COUNCIL URGES HINKLEY OPPOSITION

Town Council’s Press Release and letter to other Somerset coucilslog post. Blog post, 25 March 2014.

Press Release

Glastonbury Town Council has written to 300 Town and Parish Councils in Somerset, urging them to oppose a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point.

The letter raises concerns over nuclear waste storage, nuclear accidents, and the impact of construction traffic on the county. It says that since the Council agreed to write to other councils, the record flooding and storm surges in West Somerset have only deepened those concerns. And it ends, “We believe that statements of concern and opposition by local representative bodies such as yours could play a part in determining Somerset’s future for the good”.

A recent meeting with EDF has done nothing to allay the town’s fears, according to Councillor Jon Cousins (St Edmunds Ward).

“Basically, EDF pulled out of a public meeting and sent David Eccles to our Council meeting instead to tell us that Hinkley C would be good for jobs,” said Mr Cousins. “He could tell us nothing about the nuclear emergency plan for Glastonbury – except that we shouldn’t eat or drink anything – and assured us
without a blink that EDF were prepared to store spent fuel at Hinkley Point for thousands of years.”

“I was shocked to discover that the spent fuel building will not be as heavily protected as the reactor building, making it an obvious target for a malicious attack – and it will still be vulnerable to attack or natural disaster long after EDF have packed up their profits and gone”.

The letter from Glastonbury Town to other councils says that Hinkley C would be “the most expensive nuclear power station on the planet” but that the final investment decision has still to be made, as the government’s deal with EDF is now under review by the EU Competition Commission.

“It’s not too late for Somerset people and Councils to raise a voice and stop this project before the construction traffic has started rolling,” said Councillor Denise Michell (St Benedict’s Ward). “Glastonbury is a town which is ill-prepared for the impact of that traffic, but despite a very reasonable appeal from Councillor Ian Tucker, Mr Eccles said that ultimately it would be up to contractors which roads they used, and EDF could not be expected to give us any assurances.”

“It seems that all the big issues with this project are someone else’s responsibility, and EDF’s only responsibility is making the money. With the public subsidy agreed by the government, Hinkley C profits are apparently set to be well over £50 billion. That puts the so called “benefits to the community” into perspective. Somerset could end up shouldering the liabilities of this project for generations, and Glastonbury Town Council are not at all happy about that,” she said.

ENDS

Full text of the Town Council’s letter

Glastonbury Town Council oppose the proposed Hinkley C development in West Somerset for the following reasons:

1. Concerns over the huge impact that the 9 year development might have upon our locality and the county as a whole, particularly construction traffic;
2. The potentially catastrophic impact that a nuclear accident at the facility
would have on our community and our region;
3. The negligent immorality of leaving highly radioactive waste and spent fuel at the site for future generations to deal with – for at least 100 years and most probably for many thousands.

The government has announced it’s “Strike Price” deal with EDF and it has become apparent that the Hinkley C project will be the most expensive nuclear power station on the planet, with EDF profits being guaranteed by a 35 year price-fix for all UK consumers. In recent months there has also been mounting pressure to store additional radioactive waste from other UK sites at the Hinkley Point complex, raising the prospect of West Somerset becoming a “second Sellafield” in the future.

In the light of this Glastonbury Town Council further resolved to contact our sister councils in Somerset inviting you to join us in opposing the proposed Hinkley C project.

Since we made that decision, the unprecedented flooding in Somerset, record storm surges, and even the recent earth tremor have raised further concerns about the viability and long-term safety of Hinkley C. As EDF’s “Final Investment Decision” is yet to be made, and the financial deal is being scrutinised by the EU Competition Commission and Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee will investigate it shortly, we believe that statements of concern and opposition by local representative bodies such as yours could play a part in determining Somerset’s future for the good.