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Hinkley Point revisited

Hinkley Point nuclear power stationLast week I went back to Hinkley Point to meet with local residents. I felt it was a good opportunity to go back and see how things have progressed in the area and find out how local communities are feeling about the proposed development plans. A lot has happened in the last 6 months. We have seen the tragic events in Japan throw nuclear in to the spotlight. As a result, our Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change asked our Chief Nuclear Inspector to produce a report on lessons learned and implications for the nuclear industry. His report reconfirmed that the UK’s safety regime is working and that nuclear can be part of the future energy mix as it is today. We are therefore continuing to remove any barriers to investment to new nuclear. Our Department has published the White Paper on Electricity Market Reform which is aimed at removing uncertainty and provide stronger incentives for investment into the low carbon generation. And we have designated the Energy National Policy Statements including a list of potential sites for nuclear power stations. This paves the way for energy companies to come forward with their planning applications for development.

For Hinkley Point this is most significant as EDF are moving forward with their plans. In advance of them submitting their main planning application to the IPC, they have just had approval from the local authority to start their preliminary works at Hinkley Point. This allows them to prepare the site for construction later down the line.

Hergen Haye meeting residents of StogurseyOf course this makes it very real for local residents and so I wanted to meet with the people of Stogursey and bordering villages to hear their concerns for this development. During my visit I was able to see the area and understand the potential impacts that may be felt. I also took part in a discussion with a small group of residents to hear their views, concerns and answer any questions they had. They talked about how the preliminary works would affect their daily life and wanted reassurances from EDF how this would be mitigated. In particular transport, housing of workers and overall disruption to the area was high on their list of issues.

So a valuable session that gave us all a much better insight into the immediate thoughts and concerns of the community. Where appropriate, we’ll work with EDF and local authorities to address these issues. But of equal importance is ensuring that we keep the conversation going. I’ll be back later in the year to find out how we’re progressing.

Filed under: Nuclear

Comments: 16 Comments on Hinkley Point revisited
Posted on: Sep 5 2011

16 Responses to “Hinkley Point revisited”

  1. I think it irrational for the tax payer to cover public liability costs and it speaks volumes that this is not available from the open market.

    Banking crisis will be seen to be a walk in the park should the dreaded ever happen!

    £95mWh for 35 years for Nuke’s + insurance + waste + decommissioning. Wind £97/mWh for 20 years! Nukes get double! HMG promised not to build new Nuke’s until waste issue resolved, a bore hole coming to your back yard soon!

  2. Vyv Goss says:

    Hergen Haye has agreed to come to Cannington at the request of the WI. Pity the anti group could not have managed the same. However a good opportunity for all the villagers to be informed and have their say.
    The meeting is in the college on December 14th at 630pm.

  3. Shurton resident says:

    We, the nearest neighbours to the Hinkley Point ‘C’ site, were very grateful to Hergen for coming down to see for himself the proximity of our homes to the land bought by EdF for the project. We know he gained an understanding, through listening to us, of our grave concerns about the issues of noise, traffic, dust, light pollution and the proposal that a hostel for over 500 workers should be built so close to Shurton homes. We all have great sympathy for other communities that will be affected by the build. We should be working together to try to ameliorate the situation and make all our lives bearable.

  4. Lesley Flash says:

    Hergen Haye held a public meeting in Bridgwater at which he very generously gave out his e-ddress to those who asked for it. He came later to visit Stogursey hamlets at our specific follow-up invitation. We found Hergen and his colleague genuinely interested, understanding and charming even though we did not necessarily share the same opinions. Note the word genuinely.

    At the WSC Planning Committee meeting to decide the Preliminary Works we met again, and Hergen volunteered to make the return visit his blog describes.

    I do not believe that there is any lack of sympathy among Stogursey residents over the impact of this development on other communities in the region. The difference is that this parish will experience all the impacts of the build; others will experience some, and grievous they will be, but not all, and the impact of this development is so overwhelming that we, like other communities, can fight only our own corner directly.

    There has been no favouritism or special treatment in this case. We asked Hergen Haye to talk to us. It has been open to other communities to do the same. I dare say this is still the case.

  5. Sue Goss says:

    Stogursey residents were proactive in inviting Hergen to visit the host hamlets as we needed to ensure that DECC were fully aware of the affect of this proposal on our community . Here residents face not only the massive traffic issues faced by other communities but also must exist and try to continue our lives alongside what will be the largest building site for the next 10 years minimum. Added to this we will experience 24 hour working plus a 500 bed hostel within 70m of Shurton with all that this entails.

  6. Lindsey says:

    Well, it’s good that EDF are consulting with residents as they’re the most important people in this.

  7. Pete says:

    Interesting to note France’s latest rebuffal of exploiting shale gas reserves in favour of continued reliance on their nuclear solution… both provoke environmental concerns… but I think we should explore alternatives to nuclear power.

  8. Even though we have seen that nuclear can be a dangerous investment I belive it to be the future in power generation. wind has recently been proven to be inefficient to the point of stupidity.

  9. Hergen Haye says:

    Thank you all for your comments.

    We believe there is a need for a diverse future energy mix and that nuclear has a part to play alongside renewables and clean coal and gas. The need for new energy infrastructure to meet the UK’s future needs and legally binding carbon reduction targets is set out in the Energy National Policy Statements.

    I am aware of the concerns expressed locally regarding EDF’s transport plans which have been subject to local consultation and we also received detailed responses on this issue during the consultation on the Nuclear National Policy Statement. Just to note as well, I attended the meeting in Stogursey at the specific request of local residents of the villages.

    • Tom Boyd says:

      EDF have constantly refrained from providing us with specific details of their transport plans. All we can get out of them is that they are adequate as they have been “compiled by a computer program”. The residents of Cannington are disgusted by this total lack of communication and I am sure I speak for the majority of the residents when I say we would be delighted if you would undertake such a visit to our village to listen to our views and comments.

  10. Paul Steverson says:

    A small amount of bribery (in the form of investment in sensible bypass roads and ‘free’ district heating HOT WATER (which is currently wasted) for affected communites would work wonders in converting opposition into grudging acceptance of the necessity for the investment in new power stations. Society needs new investment in power stations but the externality ‘costs’ fall on local people who under normal circumstances do not benefit as do the rest of us. When will the leaders of industry and politicians understand that these factors need to be addressed. Getting these projects completed will turn out to be a lower cost eventually compared with destruction of the atmosphere with CO2 however much the ‘bribes’ finally cost.

  11. Richard Oerton says:

    The fact that Hergen Haye paid a visit to Hinkley in order to “hear the concerns” of neighbouring villages, and made no effort to engage the people of Cannington, goes only to confirm our feeling that no one understands, or cares about, the effect of EDF’s proposals on our village.

    The material to be transported by road to Hinkley amounts to 5,795,949 tonnes.

    The first point to make is this. EDF propose that all Hinkley traffic should pass through the heart of Cannington village for a period of several years before any bypass is available for use. This is unacceptable. Construction traffic should not begin until a proper bypass is built. EDF has recently announced that its plans will be delayed (see The Times, 21 July 2011), so it cannot even plead urgency as justification for this.

    EDF has propored a Cannington western bypass. This is opposed by more than three quarters of Cannington voters. It would do nothing at all to prevent Hinkley traffic using the existing roads (already unsafe and overburdened) to Cannington and using the existing C Class country road from Cannington to Hinkley. Somerset County Council and Sedgemoor District Council and trying, to no avail, to get EDF to reconsider its road proposals.

    In common with 92.8% of Cannington voters, I am convinced that the only viable solution to the traffic problems associated with building these two huge reacors is a dedicated road starting at Dunbal, bypassing both Bridgwater and Cannington, and ending near Hinkley.

    Safety considerations alone demand that there should be two independent routes to the reactors. It would be disastrous if access to Hinkley in the event of emergency were to depend solely on the existing inadequate road system, already prone to accidents and held-ups.

  12. Tom Boyd says:

    A pity we in Cannington were unaware of your visit as we certainly have strong feelings on the subject. From the outset the public have asked for a direct link from Dunball to Hinkley. EDF have constantly refused.
    Residents, Councils from Parish to County, have told EDF their transport proposals are totally inadequate and they should conduct a comprehensive study of the bypass. County have told them they need to show a comparative proposal for the bypass. If they consider it to be inferior to their current proposals, a full explanation should be given.
    There are many reasons why a bypass would be superior to EDF’s current proposals.
    1} Current route along congested single carriageway never designed to carry the volume of traffic or tonnage they intend sending over it.
    2] Route is notorious for accidents resulting in blockages of up to six hours at a time.
    3] Stretches have been repaired by patches, other stretches are in need of repair.
    4] Route is through twisty single carriageways past residential and commercial premises.
    5] Outside Bridgwater is a farming area and one expects to come across large numbers of farming vehicles, tractors and trailers.
    Along these single carriageways there are going to be hold ups for the following reasons. Roadworks, increased HGVs and tonnage, parked furniture removal vans, delivery vehicles and emergency service vehicles.
    Our concerns have been put to various government ministers and departments over the past two years without any support. Surely it cannot be that EDF are the only ones to correctly assess the situation and the rest of the community and Councils could be so wrong. The only plans we have been told about are “junction improvements” in Bridgwater, but no detail. Every junction they have referred to immediately feeds back into a bottleneck. We are told the public will not be told of their plans prior to IPC submission.
    Please bring home to relative ministers and authorities that they should show support to their citizens and not be glibly led by a foreign investment company. It appears to us that EDF are dictating policy to our Government which should never be. If Government are determined to proceed down the nuclear path,please do not do so at the expense of destroying a community. Please insist, if only for safety reasons, the second route is a necessity.

  13. Janice Beasley says:

    Glad to hear Hergen Haye enjoyed his visit to Stogursey, a village that is where it is. If he had stopped off in Cannington too he would not have been so happy. EDF is set to destroy this medieval village by bringing all construction traffic (up to 750 extra heavy vehicles per day) down its High Street. There is a better traffic solution, but EDF is deaf.

  14. Roger Parker says:

    Hinkley Point.
    Why is this euphemism being used- why not Nuclear Power Station at Hinkley Point or Hickley Point’s Nuclear Power Stn ?

    Why is the UK going down the road of replacing dependency upon one fuel source with dependency upon another fuel source for generastion to come.

    Nuclear Power is contrary to Localism and its agenda.

    Nuclear Power is contrary to decentralisation; and contrary to on-site micro-generation.

    Nuclear Power is energy inefficient as it wastes a considerable proportionate of its output in its macro-distribution system.

    Why are we wedded to these capital intensive projects, owned by international companies, using the UK as a cash cow. And what of security of supply – have we learnt nothing from Russia turning off the gas!

  15. Brian R Catt says:

    Why not tell us what is planned there in summary, hopefully a nice proven PWR or more fuel flexible CANDU to replace the troublesome AGR Thatcher didn’t like either. Build more ASAP, no alternative when fossil is gone. We can’t afford the irrationally expensive waste on wind any more

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