Officials rebuked over Hinkley power plant delaying tactics. Whitehall officials were guilty of “egregious” and unjustifiable delays before revealing details of government contracts for the Hinkley Point nuclear power project awarded to a company facing a potential conflict of interest, the Information Commissioner’s Office has said. Leigh Fisher, a management consultancy, was awarded a £1.2 million contract by the department of energy and climate change for its advice on Hinkley Point, despite the British division of Jacobs Engineering, an American group that also owns Leigh Fisher, working for EDF on the project. The advice from Leigh Fisher helped the government to agree a 35-year deal with EDF to build the £18 billion plant, which will supply 7 per cent of UK electricity and which has proved controversial, with ministers defending escalating costs after a fall in wholesale energy prices. Details of the arrangement with Leigh Fisher, which has concerned MPs including Iain Wright, chairman of the Commons’ business, energy and industrial strategy select committee, emerged in November after The Times obtained redacted details of the tender documents under the Freedom of Information Act.However, it took the business department almost six months to release information after it was requested. Public bodies typically are required to respond to FOI requests within 20 working days. The department also heavily redacted details of separate Hinkley Point contracts awarded to KPMG and Lazard, including passages regarding potential conflicts of interests. KPMG was paid about £4.4 million for its work by the department and Lazard £2.6 million.
Times 24th April 2017 read more »
FRENCH National Front leader Marine Le Pen will look for ways of scrapping the Hinkley Point C project by pulling EDF Energy out of the deal if she becomes French President on May 7, it was revealed this week. Ms Le Pen’s energy advisor Philippe Murer said the right-wing candidate was “fundamentally against” the £18 billion West Somerset nuclear project and was studying EDF’s contract in order to find a loophole which could pull the plug on the deal. M Murer said: “We will respect the commitment of the French state to build the Hinkley Point power station, but if clauses in the contract allow an exit from this project, we will study them.” He said that the National Front believed that the Hinkley project would divert resources from the state-controlled EDF at a time when it needed to increase spending to support the struggling French nuclear industry. M Murer added that EDF also needed to complete a new reactor at Flamanville, in western France. Local MP Ian Liddell-Grainger told the Free Press that he believed Ms Le Penn’s threat was unrealistic and impossible to achieve without destabilising EDF.
West Somerset Free Press 22nd April 2017 read more »