Press Release 1 December 2010

EDF “Jumping The Gun” with Hinkley Point destruction

French energy company EDF is “jumping the gun” by applying to destroy over 400 acres of Somerset countryside – even before it has permission to build on the site – according to the local campaign group Stop Hinkley.

EDF has just submitted an application to West Somerset Council for what it describes as “preliminary works” in advance of constructing Britain 's largest nuclear power station. In fact this involves completely razing the site near Hinkley Point, filling in a beautiful valley and even starting excavation of the power station foundations.

All this would be done before a formal proposal to build the plant itself has been delivered to the Infrastructure Planning Commission, which could then reject it.

The company has already evicted all badgers from the site by blocking off their setts, an action approved prematurely by Natural England, the wildlife conservation body.

“EDF have already shown that they have precious little regard for the countryside,” says Stop Hinkley spokesman Crispin Aubrey. “Now they are about to treat it with contempt by trashing over 400 acres of woodland, cornfields and coastline. This is jumping the gun on a massive scale.”

The “preliminary works” proposed by the multinational power company - on 430 acres of land stretching from the Severn Estuary to the village of Shurton – involve:

•  Removal of the majority of trees and hedges

•  Filling in a valley with excavated earth

•  Closure of existing footpaths and bridlepaths, including the coast path

•  Security fencing round the whole area

•  Stripping topsoil and vegetation to make a terraced area for the proposed nuclear reactors

•  New roads built across the site

•  Underground streams re-routed

•  The excavation of more than 3.2 million cubic metres of soil, sub-soil and rocks. This is more than was dug out to prepare the site for the 2012 London Olympic Games

•  Noise from up to 12,000 vehicle movements per month

•  Construction of new sea wall along the coast

•  Construction of a jetty out into the sea

The company says it will restore the site to its original state if it fails to gain permission for the Hinkley C power station. “This would be impossible,” says Crispin Aubrey. “You can't recreate a landscape that has taken generations to mature.”

Stop Hinkley is urging all those opposed to EDF's actions to register their objection with West Somerset Council, which is planning to conduct a consultation process.

Ends/

 

For more information:

Crispin Aubrey, Press Officer, Stop Hinkley campaign

 

 

 

 

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Notes to editors:

1. The coastline bordering the Hinkley C site is part of the Bridgwater Bay Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Bridgwater Bay 's shallow waters and mudflats are a sanctuary for thousands of waders, ducks and other sea birds, especially in winter.

2. The 435 acre site is also bordered by Special Protection Areas, Special Areas of Conservation and a National Nature Reserve. Bridgwater Bay is designated as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.

3. Bird species found on land in the area include skylark, lesser whitethroat, Cetti's warbler and nightingale.

4. Many species of bat frequent the site, including the relatively rare lesser horseshoe variety.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page Updated 01-Dec-2010