Hinkley Tree Protesters Evicted

Protesters occupying trees at Hinkley Point in Somerset were evicted today by police and a 5-man climbing team hired by the French company EDF. The mature oak woodland is due to be cleared this month so that preliminary work can begin on building 2 new nuclear reactors and a radioactive waste dump at the site.

The eviction came around 11am, after the occupiers had spent a sleepless night in sub-zero temperatures. One of the occupiers, Michael, said “Security guards and dog-handlers kept us awake all night with taunts and intimidation from barking dogs.”

However, the occupiers had been reinforced by supplies delivered overnight by well-wishers from the local area. Cannington resident, Roy Pumfrey, visited the site three times over the last couple of days, trying to deliver supplies to the protesters. On his final visit to the site this morning, Mr. Pumfrey said ”I have concerns about Group 4 Security’s interpretation of the law and ordinary people’s civil right’s. Their guard’s told me that I was trespassing when I was in fact using public rights of way.“

In the morning a climbing team, with 5 police officers in attendance, climbed into the trees and began removing belongs and climbing gear, before telling the remaining occupier, Taunton man, David Jesse that he was trespassing and would be forcibly removed if he did not come down. After leaving the tree peacefully, Jesse was searched and then released by police, who warned him that he could have been charged with Aggravated Trespass, as his presence in the trees was preventing the chainsaw crew from going about their lawful work.

Speaking for the South West Against Nuclear network, Theo Simon of Shepton Mallet said, “It appears that EDF have acted ruthlessly and probably illegally, to end a legitimate peaceful protest. Clearly, if the current work is only to clear dead elms as EDF claim, then the protesters in the oak trees were not in any way preventing this work. In the light of this company’s record however, we do not expect them to play clean. This is a company who last November had 2 employees jailed and were fined 500,000 euros (£428,000) in France for spying on anti-nuclear campaigners. Astonishingly, this is a company who have also been given the green light to destroy a beautiful part of our Somerset heritage, before they have even won planning permission for their proposed Nuclear project”.