Reacting to news that the government is to give the green light to a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset, Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the region and long-time opponent of the project, said:
“When Theresa May called for a comprehensive review of Hinkley, it was hoped she would conclude that the project was economically illiterate, technically flawed, environmentally risky and a threat to security. This is what scientific, economic and environmental experts have been saying for years.
“But this is post-Brexit Britain, where the government turns its back on experts in the name of political expediency. Having insulted our European partners, the government believes it cannot afford to offend the Chinese. In a desperate attempt to demonstrate Brexit Britain is open for business, the government is engaged in a national kowtow exercise, handing over our energy infrastructure to the Chinese Communist Party.
“This is the exact opposite of taking back control. Real control would come through a renewable energy revolution, providing cheaper and greener electricity, greater energy security and generating thousands more home grown jobs than nuclear power. Community owned renewables can also take power away from foreign corporations and governments and hand it back to the people; a path Germany and other countries are embarking on.
“The government says it will introduce greater scrutiny of future deals to protect national security, but not for this project . I simply can’t understand why, if the current arrangements need to be changed, they are good enough for the people I represent in South West England. Effectively, consumers and businesses will pay the price for what the government is acknowledging is a massive error in our approach to the ownership and control of critical infrastructure. Also, we are told we will receive information about sale of the stake by EDF but not be able to prevent it. So the whole thing could end up belonging to the Chinese.
“As for Labour, they are still stuck in the nuclear bunker, willing to support a discredited scheme to keep British unions happy. Meanwhile, French unions, who have expressed serious doubts about the financial and technical viability of Hinkley, will be seriously worried by today’s news.
“The UK is rich in renewable potential but with this government and an opposition in name only, there is a desperate lack of political will”