Western Daily Press, 4 March 2008

Claims that infant mortality rates are three times higher in towns and villages downwind of Hinkley Power station in Somerset than inland parts of the county have been disputed. Towns such as Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge were identified in a study as having infant death rates three times higher than the norm between 1996 and 2001. The figures were revealed by Dr Chris Busby of Green Audit, who was commissioned to carry out the study by protest group Stop Hinkley.

But the findings and the subsequent claims made by anti-nuclear groups have been refuted by the organisation which monitors health issues in the South West.

Dr Julia Verne, director of the South West Public Health Observatory, and says Dr Busby's findings are "misleading, and might easily cause unnecessary anxiety to local people"

"We have undertaken our own statistical analysis of infant deaths - looking around Hinkley Point, the mud flats and the tidal River Parrett - and we have found no significant increase," Dr Verne said.

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