22 December 2009
Top environmentalists boost campaign
Top environmentalist Professor Tom Burke CBE is giving a boost to Stop Hinkley's campaign to oppose Hinkley C by speaking at a public meeting together with Greenpeace's Ben Ayliffe. Later Jonathon Porritt will also speak in Taunton.
'Nuclear Power: Do we need it?'
The meeting is part of a wider campaigning programme including a planned talk by environmentalist Jonathon Porritt (2), leafleting 9,000 homes in the area (3) and a planned protest outside the Electricite de France (EdF) Bridgwater offices (4). Stop Hinkley campaigner Crispin Aubrey also has just returned from the Copenhagen Climate Change conference where he was part of an international group demanding a nuclear-free climate agreement (5).
Tom Burke is a visiting professor at Imperial College, an environmental advisor to international company Rio Tinto and director of Third Generation Environmentalism (E3G) a sustainability policy group. As Special Advisor to three environment ministers in the 1980's and '90's and Director of Friends of the Earth he has been a professional environmentalist for thirty years. He also participated in the Copenhagen Climate Change conference, where he promoted a truly sustainable approach which he defines as excluding nuclear power.
Despite his respected status he was 'disinvited' from speaking at meetings on energy issues at all three major political party conferences in October. The sponsors of the fringes, nuclear company EdF who propose to build Hinkley C, apparently took the draconian step of preventing Professor Burke debate with other experts and our politicians about his non-nuclear approach (6).
In his publication 'Decoding Nuclear Nonsense' last year (7), he showed that the two premises upon which the Government has proposed to build new nuclear power stations are flawed:
"The Government's case for new nuclear build in Britain rests on two key propositions: that it is essential to maintain Britain 's energy security and that without it Britain cannot meet its climate change emissions. Neither proposition is valid. Nuclear power can do nothing to improve Britain 's energy security or help it meet the urgent challenge of climate change."
Supporting his view he elaborated on these points:
Jim Duffy spokesman for Stop Hinkley said: "Tom Burke is a major player in the environmental movement and a thorn in the side of the nuclear industry. It's a boost to our campaign that he and Ben Ayliffe will speak in Bridgwater hopefully convincing many that, despite all the hype, Hinkley C is not necessary for our energy needs or to combat climate change. There is much rage in the local villages against EdF's intrusive plans for expansion. Tom will argue that there is ultimately no case for the disruption."
"The meeting is part of our wider programme which includes another public meeting with well known environmentalist Jonathon Porritt in March, extensive leafleting by volunteers, a delegate at Copenhagen and a protest outside the EdF offices in Bridgwater."
(2) >> Jonathon Porritt CBE will speak at the Temple Methodist Church, Upper High Street, Taunton (opposite Vivary Park) on Tuesday 16th March at 7.30pm.
(4) A protest will be held outside the EdF offices in King Square, Bridgwater on Friday 15th January at 11am. Protestors will wear tape over their mouths to highlight the confined and undemocratic nature of the speeded up planning process aimed at ushering in Hinkley C and other nuclear power stations.
(5) >> Photograph of Stop Hinkley campaigner Crispin Aubrey at an anti-nuclear protest at the Copenhagen Climate Change conference:
(6) The Guardian 1st October 2009: "And so it was that Tom Burke - a former executive director of Friends of the Earth; special adviser to Michael Heseltine, Michael Howard and John Gummer when they were environment secretaries; and co-founder of Third Generation Environmentalism - found himself in May booked to speak at a series of debates at all three party conferences; and then, last month, found himself unbooked again. The events were sponsored by EDF. The company, having agreed to his appearances, appears to have thought better of the idea. Did it get cold feet? Wouldn't that be something." www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/oct/01/edf-iran-nuclear-leppert-rafale(7) "Decoding Nuclear Nonsense: a reader's guide to the Government's announcement on the future of nuclear power in Britain ": www.e3g.org/programmes/climate-articles/decoding-nuclear-nonsense-ii-the-real-evidence/