Two protestors from the Stop New Nuclear Mass Trespass at Hinkley Point Somerset who had been bailed to Bridgwater police station were released on Monday without charge, despite the fact that one of them had been arrested in possession of a set of boltcroppers as they made for the fence in order to cut through it. The police could have charged the two with the offence of 'going equipped' but it seems that EDF are so desperate to try and stop the campaign grabbing headlines that they have decided not to press charges.
EDF knew if they had pressed charges this could potentially have resulted in the cases going to crown court where some of their business practices could have ended up under the microscope. It seems that EDF are keen to avoid this. Said Shana Deal of SWAN "EDF management tried to claim on local television during the action that they were allowing us to trespass, a completely ludicrous claim given that just six months ago in February they took us to the High court in London and sought a permanent injunction against at least six of us to try & prevent us from trespassing on the development site. Are EDF really trying to tell the public that they would deliberately allow protestors to prevent their own employees from going about their lawful business?1 We suspect the unions might have something to say about that!"
All of this comes as the anglo-french governments nuclear aspirations lie in tatters. EDF dont want to build new nuclear without a blank cheque and the government are trying to figure out how to give them a blank cheque without further alienating an already angry British public who are sick of bailing out big business and underwriting successive inept governments. At the third evidence session of the select committee on energy and climate change this week the select comittee accused EDF of inflating the price of new build to get more money out of the public purse.2 This is all impacting the preparation of the forthcoming and already much delayed Energy Bill (which has just been delayed again until late November). The Bill, which is being introduced under the guise of 'market reform', is actually a new piece of legislation designed to artificially skew the playing field in favour of nuclear. Despite all of this the government and corporate giant EDF still can't agree on a 'strike price' for the cost of any electricity produced from the proposed reactors. Yet the shocking truth is that if nuclear produced energy was commercially viable then EDF wouldn't be looking for a strike price at all as there wouldnt be any chance of the market price being below the so-called strike price! Said campaigner Nikki Clark "The British public should be very weary of the government giving blank cheques from our purses to subsidise a deadly dangerous unnecessary industry, especially at a time of having 'austerity' imposed on us. There is a campaign demanding the creation of one million climate jobs that outlines how we might do that.3 Why on earth would the public want to finance new nuclear when there are much safer, cheaper ways of creating energy and jobs?"
The remaining four of the six people arrested during the Stop New Nuclear mass trespass are going before Taunton Deane Magistrates court in Somerset tomorrow to answer their charges. The defendents are defiant and vow to continue the fight. Seems like it's anyone's guess what will happen tomorrow. They will be at the court along with their supporters from 9:15am Further details can be found on the Stop New Nuclear Website www.stopnewnuclear.org.uk
photo opportunity outside the courthouse from 9:15 until 9:45 for interviews call 07736930069
Notes to Editors
1) Nigel Cann of EDF on local TV news tried to make out that they were allowing the trespass to take place and also in the written reports on the subject see here:
2) Freelance energy journalist Tim Probert summed up the session with a pithy yet fairly accurate Twitter post describing the bargaining relationship between EDF and the government: "DECC: 'How much is it?' EDF: 'How much have you got?'" At the heart of the negotiations is the strike price, a guaranteed price per MWh of electricity generated that would be received by EDF. In the contracts for differences (CfDs) context, this means that if the price in the market falls below the strike price, then EDF would be paid the difference. At the evidence session the strike price for nuclear was repeatedly compared with the expected and desired long-term cost for offshore wind at GBP100/MWh, as offshore wind would be the main renewable alternative in the absence of nuclear.
3) The Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union Group has launched a “People’s Petition for a Million Climate Jobs”. It calls on the Government to give “urgent and serious consideration” to the recommendations of the Million Climate Jobs report and lists its key points. It is backed by a growing number of MPs and national trade unions http://www.climate-change-jobs.org/sites/default/files/1MillionClimateJo...