Complaint over nuclear training site

Local Government Chronicle, 25 June 2009 | By Mark Smulian

A Somerset district has been reported to the Audit Commission by environmental campaigners for donating a site to train nuclear engineers.

Sedgemoor DC has given Bridgwater College the 0.9ha site for its energy skills centre, where £1.5m of the £7m funding is to come from the Nuclear Skills Academy.

Stop Hinkley, which opposes expansion of the nearby Hinkley Point nuclear power station, complained that the council had failed to secure the best price for the land.

But the council said the site was already leased to the college and "landlocked" by it, and that its estimated £85,000 price was outweighed by the value of the training facility.

Stop Hinkley co-ordinator Jim Duffy said: "Even if the land is tied to the college, the council could have pushed harder to get payment for the site, which will benefit the nuclear industry.

"Sedgemoor and the regional development agency seem far too chummy with the nuclear industry, which the government says should pay its own way."

A council statement said the training centre would "have significant positive benefits for the residents of Sedgemoor."

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