Seven people were arrested during an anti-nuclear protest at Hinkley Point today.
The ‘Stop New Nuclear’ alliance attracted more than 50 protestors in Somerset this morning to stop EDF’s plans to build new nuclear plants at the Hinkley site.
A spokesperson for Avon and Somerset police told ELN the reasons for the arrests included “criminal damage” and “going equipped with the intention of criminal damage”.
A banner reading “Nuclear disaster zone. Boycott EDF” was seen hung across the site’s main security gate. Five hours after the protest started, a total of 577 seed balls were thrown over the fence onto the construction area in a “symbolic attempt to repair the damage already caused to the land”. The seed balls represented the number of days since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan last year.
Camilla Berens, a spokesperson for Stop New Nuclear said: “This is a major victory for the anti-nuclear movement because the Government has refused to listen to us and we have been forced to raise the game. We have successfully blockaded the main entrance to Hinkley Point on two occasions in the last year and now we have accomplished a mass trespass. Our message today is that we will continue to raise the game with peaceful protest until our voice in heard.”
She added: “The government’s new nuclear policy is on its knees. Investors are pulling out left right and centre. Even EDF Energy is looking for new partners to fund the Hinkley C project. It’s time to bin nuclear for good and look at countries like Germany that are creating an energy future that is safe, affordable and nuclear-free.”
EDF Energy said Hinkley Point is expected to generate a £100 million annual boost to the South West economy during its construction and also create up to 25,000 jobs.
Nigel Cann, the Construction Director said: “We believe strongly that low-carbon nuclear has a vital role in maintaining UK electricity supplies in the future. As the Government has said, the UK continues to need new nuclear power.”
He added: “We respect the rights of individuals to peaceful and lawful protest, however, we are also mindful of the pressure these events can place on the local community with whom we have strong links. Working alongside the relevant authorities, we have made efforts to minimise any potential impact on local residents while allowing the protesters who have travelled here today to have their say.”
EDF Energy has also announced a £15 million investment to develop a training centre in Somerset.