Hinkley Point: Protesters take to the trees to prevent clearance for nuclear power station

Activists opposed to nuclear energy have begun an occupation of trees threatened by the construction of a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset. Police have so far declined to intervene.

Anti-nuclear campaigners are outraged that clearance work has already started on the 400-acre site earmarked by EDF Energy for the construction of two new mega-reactors even through full planning consent has not yet been granted.

Michael Hunt, one of three tree occupiers, said:

“Once again we are seeing EDF Energy cutting corners and flouting regulations. This is a very worrying sign. If this is how they operate, how can we trust them to run a nuclear power station safely?”

Fellow campaigner Sarah Stone added: “This whole application for the Hinkley C nuclear power station has been characterised by deceit and corporate bullying. It has made a complete joke out of the British planning system. If the relevant authorities won't protect these ancient trees, then we will.”

The protest comes in the wake of last week's shocking revelation in a report jointly published by Unlock Democracy and The Association for Conservation of Energy. The report entitled, “A Corruption of Governance?” reveals how data provided to MPs and parliament during discussions on national energy policy was skewed in favour of the ‘new nuclear’ option.

The report also outlines that, on the basis of the Government’s own evidence, the UK does not need new nuclear to reduce CO2 emissions. It also asserts that the building of new nuclear power stations to provide electricity is likely to mean higher fuel bills.

The report concludes that this corruption of governance can only be rectified if Parliament re-opens this debate, and MPs vote on this issue having seen the correct information.

Activists across the country have renewed their pledge to gather at Hinkley Point nuclear power station on March 10th for a mass rally against ‘new nuclear’ and to mark the first anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan. Spokesperson Nancy Birch said it is time for the public to demand intelligent solutions to climate change.

She added: “Nuclear power is the worst possible option: it’s extremely expensive and extremely dangerous. We should be following the example of Germany where plans are being put in place to create a sustainable energy system that is not only nuclear-free but affordable and far more environment-friendly.’


Notes to Editor

1. Corruption of Governance report was published last week and presented to ministers at Parliament. It can be found here www.ukace.org

2. The trees being protected at Hinkley Point were subject to an emergency tree preservation order last March which was dropped by West Somerset District Council in October last year.

3. For more information on the mass demonstration on March 10th go to: http://stopnewnuclear.org.uk

For more details contact Nancy Birch on: 07980-509986.