Stop Hinkley spokesman Roy Pumfrey questions whether the economic boost from Hinkley C is worth the cost: I get tired of reading how easily impressed councillors are when they visit the giant incomplete building site that is HPC. Why does Cllr Ann Bown assume that we all think the “biggest economic boost” is necessarily a good thing when it is also hugely problematic and costly for anyone not directly involved? n our case, economic growth also means a host of problems. There are more traffic jams all around gridlocked Bridgwater. I’d like to travel from Bridgwater to Taunton using the Taunton Road, but that simply adds 30 minutes to the journey time. Air and light pollution (if you live on the ‘Dark Side’ of the Quantocks, try a trip to a summit on a cloudy evening to see what I mean) have increased as a result of HPC. Rents, particularly of one-bedroom properties anywhere close to the HPC bus routes, have gone sky high due to well-paid HPC contractors and one wonders what the seven hotels built or in the pipeline will become after the HPC Gold Rush is history. And it will be electricity consumers from Lands End to John O Groats who will have to fund this excessively expensive project to the tune of around £50bn over the next 35 years. That assumes that HPC ever works, unlike its sister reactors in Finland and France, both massively over-budget and years behind schedule. Instead of uncritically absorbing EDF’s spin on the project, councillors and council officers should be asking EDF why they pretended for over a year that all was going well when, in fact, they must have known that ‘challenging ground conditions’ and ‘bad weather’ meant that the cost was rising by another £2.9billion and further delay was inevitable. A massive house retrofit programme across the south-west, for instance, would also be a big economic boost for the region, but a much more sustainable investment with the benefits accruing to ordinary consumers. When Cllr Bown has finished closing her eyes to the problems Hinkley C poses and taking in pro-nuclear fantasies, perhaps she can open them to the reality of the massive hazard an untried new nuclear power station running adjacent to her constituency represents. Building a new nuclear power station with a sixty year life span on a vulnerable coastline with the latest concerns about sea level rise is a gamble. People need to think about the legacy being left for their grandchildren before talking about ‘progress’ and short term ‘economic boosts’.
This is the West Country 17th Nov 2019 read more »