Green Party MP Caroline Lucas will be visiting Hinkley Point on Thursday, joining Green Party activists and other anti nuclear campaigners to demonstrate against controversial plans to build Hinkley C, which would be the UK’s largest nuclear power station.
This will not be the first visit by Ms Lucas to Hinkley Point. As a long standing anti-nuclear campaigner she has attended many demonstrations and rallies against nuclear power and is a sponsor of the Stop Hinkley campaign. However, Caroline Lucas is also seeking to add weight to a submission by South West Green Party to the EU outlining why they believe the Hinkley C deal is in breach of EU competition rules.
Dr Molly Scott Cato, lead Green Party European candidate in the South West and the Party’s speaker on finance, will be attending the demo with Caroline Lucas and two other Green Party European candidates, Emily McIvor and Ricky Knight. In response to an EU consultation, Dr Scott Cato has accused the government of providing a ‘back door’ subsidy to EDF, the company planning to build Hinkley C. She said:
“The government seems determined to play a game of ‘when is a subsidy not a subsidy’ over Hinkley C. Agreeing to pay a price for electricity that is twice the current market price is effectively a subsidy by the back door to the tune of £17.6bn over the lifetime of the deal. There are other subsides too such as government underwriting the costs of insurance and paying for the huge cost of waste disposal. These subsidies distort competition and unfairly disadvantage potential competitors in the solar, wind and tidal power industries.”
A report by South West Green Party published earlier this year identifies the region as a national leader in renewable electricity generation but claims the government is undermining the enormous economic opportunities offered by this sector in the South West.
Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, said:
“At a time when the costs of renewable energy are rapidly falling, it’s reckless for the Government to subsidise the nuclear industry. There also remain serious safety concerns about nuclear and no safe, reliable way to deal with the toxic waste it creates. Instead of locking Britain into this costly and risky technology, the Government should be investing seriously in energy efficiency and renewables. As a region already leading the country in renewable energy generation, the government must abandon its nuclear programme and demonstrate clear and unequivocal support for renewable energy technologies in the South West.”