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EDF Energy attempts to shut down peaceful protest

The Stop New Nuclear alliance [1] has reacted with outrage at EDF Energy’s attempts to restrict peaceful protest against a proposed new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

The French firm is seeking an injunction which would limit current and future protests at the controversial site, which has faced fierce local and national opposition. The move comes ahead of major demonstrations planned for 10-11th March, which Stop New Nuclear have said will still be going ahead.

For the last eleven days anti-nuclear activists have occupied a barn on the site proposed for two new mega-reactors. This injunction is being sought to remove these campaigners, but it is simultaneously designed to restrict future demonstrations. The Orwellian language even prohibits campaigning groups from ‘encouraging other persons’ to protest at the site.

The Fukushima catastrophe is just the most recent example of the dangers of nuclear power, and public opposition to nuclear new builds is on the rise. While the UK and France are planning the next generation of nuclear power stations, states like Germany are leading the way in forging a nuclear-free future.

Speaking on behalf of the Stop New Nuclear alliance, Kate Hudson from CND stated “It should be inconceivable that private companies could restrict basic civil liberties in this way. They are not the arbiters of the nuclear debate, nor the guarantors of our freedoms. We will fight to ensure the rights of future generations to peaceful protest and to preserve essential democratic principles.

In November last year two EDF executives went to jail for spying on anti-nuclear activists and the company had to pay £1.3m in compensation. Then they were accused of trying to influence government policy through civil service secondments and high-level lobbying. If all of that wasn’t enough, now they are trying to dismantle the right to peaceful protest.

These criticisms were shared by Katy Attwater, a spokesperson for Stop Hinkley Campaign in Somerset, who stated: “It’s extraordinary that a French company with senior executives in prison for criminal activity is using British law to try and limit the right of British people to protest against their company’s activity.

Nancy Birch from Kick Nuclear added: “EDF has already started to trash land when it hasn’t even got permission to start construction. This is wanton vandalism and shows that the new power station has been given tacit consent by the government even though a huge amount of taxpayers’ money is being spent on a public consultation.

Protestors will be assembling at 10am on Monday 27th February outside the High Court of Justice (Chancery Division) [2] prior to the injunction hearing at 10.30am.

For further information please contact:
Kate Hudson – 07739 184335
Nancy Birch – 07980 509 986

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Notes to Editor:
[1] Stop New Nuclear - - is an alliance of anti-nuclear organisations including: Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, CND Cymru, Stop Nuclear Power Network UK, Kick Nuclear, South West Against Nuclear, Shutdown Sizewell, Sizewell Blockaders, Trident Ploughshares, Stop Hinkley, and Rising Tide UK
[2] High Court of Justice Chancery Division, Court 10, 7 Rolls Building, Fetter Lane, London EC4A 1NL, (map)

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