17 July 2013
A £128 million deal to “compensate” Somerset for hosting the proposed new Hinkley C power station is “a drop in the ocean” according to local campaigners.
Stop Hinkley spokesperson Theo Simon said, “This deal, which breaks down to only £3 million a year going to local councils for the next 40 years, is no compensation at all. If EDF get their way in the current price negotiations with the government, we will all be paying a massive extra nuclear tariff on our electricity bills over the same period, and our taxes will be underwriting the whole project by literally billions.
“No one can criticise our councillors for squeezing more money out of central government, but the amounts need to be put in the wider context. Somerset County council has seen budget cuts of £20 million this year under the Tories “austerity” programme and this is hitting the vulnerable and low paid across the whole of the county. 3 million is really not very much in the overall budget – the County’s capital investment programme alone is £38 million for 2013/2014.”
“The truth is, this is another example of the kind of paltry social bribes we are being offered to make the nuclear project more palatable. Even then, I see that much of the money will be spent on creating EDF’s future workforce through nuclear training programmes. At the end of the day, EDF will walk away with billions in profits and our descendants in Somerset will be left to pick up the bill for managing the toxic waste they leave behind. ”
“There are now clear indications from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority that West Somerset is being earmarked for a ‘second Sellafield’, and the government hope that so-called ‘compensation’ announcements like this will soften local resistance. But what possible compensation could there be for a nuclear accident which would destroy our rural economy, or a toxic waste legacy lasting for many thousands of years. No amount of money can compensate for a broken environment or broken lives – and £3 million a year doesn’t even come close.”