Stop Hinkley Press release
29th May 2009
Council's secret land donation to nuclear training centre
The Executive of Sedgemoor District Council has secretly agreed to donate a plot of publicly owned land to the Energy Skills Centre at Bridgwater College . The centre aims to provide training in nuclear skills.
The decision was made at a special evening meeting of the executive on 11th May which was ostensibly to debate the proposed new nuclear site at Hinkley Point. The discussion about the donation of public land was held in an 'exempt' part of the meeting where press and public were excluded. The agenda for that part of the meeting was not available to the public. Although the minutes of the meeting (1) have been posted on Sedgemoor 's website, they were not discussed in the subsequent executive meeting neither was any reference to the donated land.
The plot of land adjoining Bridgwater College is thought to be worth in the region of £100,000 although its precise valuation has not been made public. It is located between Bridgwater College and the railway station.
The details of the 'transfer' of ownership of the land have been undertaken by Doug Bamsey, Director of Regeneration, who was at the centre of a recent controversy when he secretly wrote to nuclear company EdF asking for a £750,000 donation to Sedgemoor for legal and other fees. Stop Hinkley published the letter discovered through a Freedom of Information search by nuclearspin.org in January (2).
The minutes referring to the land donation state:
"The Executive agreed to the transfer of land at Bridgwater College to enable the development of the Energy Skills Centre, with delegation of the agreement of the details of the transfer to the College to the Corporate Director Regeneration in consultation with the Leader."
The news emerges as EdF, who plan to build two giant reactors at Hinkley Point, have gone back on their claims to build a series of new reactors without public subsidy, and are now asking the Government for financial support (3).
Jim Duffy, Coordinator of Stop Hinkley said: " Sedgemoor should reverse this tacky decision. Once again the Council is secretly getting tangled up in underhand dealings with the nuclear industry. This land is owned by council taxpayers who should be consulted if the council wants to give it away for nothing. But many taxpayers will not want their hard-earned funds going into the dubious task of training the next generation of nuclear workers on behalf of private companies."
"EdF have quietly expanded the nuclear site from three to four times that of Hinkley A and B combined. But now they are going cap in hand to the Government for financial help. Their investors are worried there will be a surfeit of electricity due to Government support for renewable energy. Nuclear should in theory be a mature industry, able to stand on its own feet. But many observers were always sceptical about EdF's claims to build a fleet of reactors without public help. Now we see it at different levels, with this leg-up from Sedgemoor tax-payers."
Jim Duffy, Stop Hinkley Coordinator.