Eden Project support for EDF under sustained attack

getnoticedonline.co.uk, Thursday, 09 July 2009

Cornwall 's Eden Project is under sustained fire for supporting the French energy giant EDF Energy. EDF is promoting something called Team Green Britain Day, an annual event to promote a more sustainable lifestyle.

The project is being promoted in association with the Eden Project to the surprise of environmentalists.

EDF Energy is the largest producer of nuclear energy after the US and Canada and is determined to saddle the UK with more reactors under the cloak of low carbon energy whilst asking the Government to cut its renewables targets.

What's more, EDF Trading, which is based in London , advertises itself as "one of the largest participants in the global coal market".

"Hardly the stuff of sound environmental credentials", Mike Rigby of anti-nuclear campaign group Stop Hinkley said. "It really is very rich forEDF, the biggest global corporate producer of nuclear waste and one of the worst carbon polluters in the world, to be lecturing the UK on how to save energy while demanding a reduction in UK wind power targets."

The Eden Project has established itself as a first class environmental attraction and it is therefore bizarre that it has chosen to provide EDF with a green figleaf for its climate sins.

Jim Duffy, coordinator of Stop Hinkley, was shocked to see Eden's name associated with EDF and its rhetoric in today's Times. "EDF Energy is about as far from green as it's possible to get" he said. "They would do better to get out of coal and stop trying to foist new nuclear on us in the UK, than trying to paint themselves in green colours. The British people are not stupid and will see through this facade."

The Eden Project has been inundated with messages of protest from disappointed individuals, environmental campaigners and pressure groups such as Parents Concerned About Hinkley

Further irony is heaped on Eden ' s decision to support EDF by the fact that a Cornish site only five miles from Eden was actively considered for the siting of a nuclear power plant, a plan that was ultimately rejected after the celebrated Battle of Luxulyan.

"I wonder how the Eden Project would feel about EDF if such a plan were resurrected?" questioned Duffy.

After a little delving into the structure of the Eden Project, its support for EDF is perhaps less surprising. Of the five Trustees, two are Rolls Royce's Chairman and its Chief Executive. Rolls Royce has made no secret of its desire to get involved with any programme of new nuclear build in the UK .

On top of that Eden 's Board includes a Director of Sir Robert McAlpine, a construction company that lists major projects at Sellafield Nuclear Waste Reprocessing Facility and Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset amongst its "achievements".

Yet another Eden Board Member was previously Chief Executive of the South West Development Agency (SWRDA) a body embroiled in the controversial donation of £1.9m of taxpayers money to a nuclear skills education project in Somerset , an act that has been reported to the Audit Commission by Stop Hinkley.

"The Eden Project looks to have been thoroughly infiltrated by nuclear industry supporters so perhaps it's no surprise that they are supporting EDF, the world's largest generator of nuclear power" said Duffy.

He added: "In order to protect its reputation, the Eden Project needs to urgently rethink its support for EDF Energy. It should also clarify its position on nuclear energy. Does it, like the Sustainable Development Commission, see it as unnecessary or like the employers of many of those on its Board see nuclear energy as a good business opportunity?"

In a separate development, green electricity generator Ecotricity has threatened legal action against EDF over use of the Green Union Flag as part of its Team Green Britain campaign. The image has long been used by Ecotricity in its marketing campaigns for three years.

EDF's apparent appropriation of the image has erroneously led some Ecotricity customers to believe that they too were supporting EDF greenwash.

For Radiation Free Lakeland, Marianne Birkby said: "This advert is blatent propaganda by EDF whose PR man is the Prime Minister's brother Andrew Brown. Britain is not France and nuclear is not 'green'. Write to the Advertising Standards Agency at http://www.asa.org.uk/ to object to this nasty nuclear confidence trick."

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Page Updated 14-Jul-2009