It's crunch time
The government it about to sell our future to the nuclear energy sector and we all have to act before it’s too late.
The Stop New Nuclear Alliance is organising three days of non-violent direct action between Friday 5th to Tuesday 9th October. This includes:
Saturday 6th: a double die-in and day of action at Hinkley Point nuclear power station and the nearby town of Bridgwater
Monday 8th: a mass trespass at Hinkley Point
It is essential that you join us and make our collective voice heard.
We would like as many people as possible to put themselves forward for arrest at the trespass – to show that we are prepared to use civil disobedience to challenge unjust government policies.
However there will also be many roles for those who are unable to do this. We will have a full discussion about the possible scenarios and outcomes of the trespass beforehand at the camp. Legal support will also be available.
Why it’s now or never…
This autumn the Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, is set to introduce a new Energy Bill. One of the key facets of this bill is the introduction of a new energy framework based on ‘contracts for difference’.
In essence, this means that the government will offer ‘low carbon’ energy companies (including the nuclear power sector) long-term energy contracts. These contracts will guarantee that a pre-agreed price is paid by the State for the energy these companies produce.
A big, fat cheque to EDF
This is meant to provide the long-term security that investors are looking for to put their money into a low carbon future. In reality, it’s a big, fat, blank cheque to companies like EDF.
Davey denies that this move is a thinly-veiled subsidy. But clearly, it’s a double-whammy for the British public. We’ll be the ones paying for this new deal through our taxes and through rising energy bills….while our kids will be left with a nightmare legacy of high-level radioactive waste.
Many critics fear that if these new nuclear subsidies are given the green light, nuclear power will quickly become the main source of energy in the UK. This is what Ecotricity’s website has to say about it:
‘Green energy company Ecotricity has told MPs on the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee that draft Energy Bill proposals are currently a choice between nuclear power and renewables.
‘Giving evidence at the Houses of Parliament, Ecotricity Director Asif Rehmanwala said plans to entice big energy companies to invest in building new nuclear plants by artificially raising the price paid for electricity (known as ‘Contracts for Difference’ or CfDs) – could in contrast put small suppliers out of business, dissuade new entries into the market and impact the building of new green energy.’
….. So it’s not just the Stop New Nuclear Alliance that fears the worst.
The good news...
The good news is that the tide is turning against nuclear power. In March, around 1,000 people blockaded the entrance to Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset to show their opposition to ‘new nuclear’.
It was the largest 24-hour blockade of a power station for several decades and protesters were joined by leading environmentalist Jonathon Porritt, Green MP Caroline Lucas and CND’s general secretary Kate Hudson.
In the meantime, the spiralling constructions costs of the first new EPR reactors in France and Finland are causing market jitters around the world. EDF, a French state-owned company, is now so worried about its investment in Hinkley and Sizewell that it’s looking to for new partners to spread the risk. To add to EDF’s problems, the French government is about to start a root and branch review of national energy policy and this may well reduce state funding for EDF’s overseas projects.
Meanwhile, in Japan, tens of thousands of people are taking to the streets every Friday evening to call for an end to nuclear power. (As we write, the protests are attracting between 75,000 and 175,000 depending on whether you believe the police or protest organisers). Allied demonstrations are also being held in other countries.
But we can’t be complacent. Several Chinese energy companies are now coming out of the woodwork to look into the viability of building new nuclear power stations at Wylfa in Anglesey and Oldbury in Gloucestershire. In the meantime, the government still seems hell-bent on getting new nuclear power stations built – whatever the cost.
The next four months..
This is a critical period. We need to make as much noise as we can to wake the public up to the environmental and political insanity of making nuclear power the dominant form of energy in the UK.
There is a future without nuclear. Germany has set out a nuclear-free roadmap that is safe, affordable and designed to enable the country to reach its commitment of 80% carbon reduction by 2050. The burning question is, if Germany can do it, why can’t we?
What you can do
Following the protest camp and trespass, we will be asking everyone to spread the word in a number of ways. We will be giving more details about this at the camp. A mass lobby of Parliament in the Autumn is also being planned by an allied campaign. Let’s keep the pressure on.
Please put the date of the protest camp and mass trespass in your diary and spread the word. It’s impossible to predict how EDF or the police are going to respond to the trespass. But we will be providing a breakdown of the options at the camp over the weekend and we will ensure that everyone has a role to play – whether or not they are prepared to be arrested. We’ll also be sending out a legal briefing nearer the time.
In the meantime…
Do you know anyone who can provide us with a field for the protest camp. We have several options in mind but we have a very limited budget and a donated field would be greatly appreciated.
Can you give out our flyers? We have a great flyer for the October protest weekend with all the details on it. Can you distribute these in your area? If so, please email us to let us know how many you need.
Can you arrange to bring a minibus-load of friends to the camp/trespass? Much respect to the Reading and Oxford crews who brought minibuses to the last blockade. Could you do the same this time? Is there a crew in Brighton who’d be up for doing the same thing?
We’d also appreciated it if you’d let us know if you are planning to come to the camp so that we can make sure there is enough catering for everyone. If you are worried about sending your personal email address, please consider creating a new ‘alias’ email address for the purpose.
Our email address is: email@example.com
See you in October!
We want a future, not a disaster.