Energy Secretary Ed Davey today announced that he has given planning consent to EDF to build a new nuclear facility at Hinkley Point C in Somerset.
Responding to the decision, Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas said:
"Ed Davey rightly warned in 2006 that “a new generation of nuclear power stations will cost taxpayers and consumers tens of billions of pounds” and that, “in addition to posing safety and environmental risks, nuclear power will only be possible with vast taxpayer subsidies or a rigged market”.
"So it’s astonishing that, in a deplorable departure from his party’s policy, he has today given the green light to EDF to build the UK’s first new nuclear plant for a generation.
"That the Government is willing to sign off on Hinkley even before an agreement has been reached on how much the taxpayer will have to hand over to the French state-owned energy giant, and before a new facility to deal with the toxic waste has been agreed, is misguided in the extreme.
"Despite the energy department’s attempts to rewrite the dictionary on the definition of a subsidy, it’s now blindingly obvious that billions of pounds of public money will be thrown at new nuclear in the form of a strike price and the underwriting of costs including accident liability and construction – in direct breach of the Coalition agreement.
"The only two nuclear power stations under construction in Europe today are billions of pounds over budget and facing increasing delays.
"With Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, Spain, Sweden and Denmark all rejecting new nuclear, why is the UK still obsessed with keeping this expensive and unnecessary technology alive?"
"Nuclear is a dangerous distraction from the truly ambitious energy policy we need – one which focuses on renewable energy and energy efficiency, and which would deliver more jobs, faster carbon reductions and a fundamentally more democratic energy system fit for the future."
Caroline has tabled amendments to the Energy Bill which would prevent public money from being used to subsidise new nuclear. You can find them on the Parliamentary record here.