Power station neighbours fear for their future
West Somerset Free Press, Friday, 04 December 2009
COMMUNITIES destined to be living under the shadow of the proposed Hinkley C nuclear power station are demanding compensation for the blight it will put on their lives and properties.
The tiny hamlets of Shurton, Burton and Knighton are likely to be among the most seriously affected by the construction of the planned twin reactor unit, with the impact continuing when the development is up and running.
Although French company EDF Energy has yet to win planning approval for its proposals, the Government has earmarked Hinkley on the West Somerset coast as one of ten approved sites across England and Wales deemed suitable for the next generation of nuclear power stations.
But Claire Vaughan, one of around 100 people living in Shurton, accused the energy company of moving the goalposts with a series of proposals that would devastate people's lives.
"They have doubled the size of the site, and this development and all that goes with it is going to destroy our lives," she said.
Ms Vaughan, who owns a field that runs up to the boundary of the earmarked site, said the station and a proposed 700-bed hostel for construction workers would be literally at her back door,
"There will be an escape road right next to us and EDF are also planning to close a total of 87 footpaths in this area during the construction period.
"That means this network of paths will be out of bounds to local people for about ten years - we need alternatives.
"This is going to encroach on our lives totally and ruin our little village, as well as devaluing our properties.
"My partner is a diabetic and the worry of this is making him ill. We have everything we need here and we can't afford to move.
"I am not anti-nuclear but I think EDF should be prepared to compromise. I think we should be offered compensation for the impact this is going to have on us.
"All we want is to be listened to but there are probably only about 200 people living in Shurton, Burton and Knighton and this is just too big to stop."
Sue Jones from Burton said she was sure that EDF wanted to give people the impression that the new power station would be surrounded by open fields.
"But it will not - it will have very near neighbours," she said.
"I know other communities will have their problems too, but we are the ones who will see our villages changes forever and have to bear the brunt of this development, and EDF are not making it easy for us."
In a pre-application consultation document, Richard Mayson, EDF's director of planning and external affairs, said it was the company's sincere wish to engage with the public to enable full participation in the development of the proposals.
"We believe this will ensure local impacts, including potential benefits, are given the fullest consideration at the appropriate time," he said.