Irish group mounts case against new Hinkley nuclear plant

Ireland’s National Trust is mounting a challenge to the UK’s decision to build a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point C. An Taisce has launched judicial review proceedings in London […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Ireland’s National Trust is mounting a challenge to the UK’s decision to build a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point C.

An Taisce has launched judicial review proceedings in London to challenge the legality of UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey’s decision to grant permission for the power station.

Hinkley Point sits on the Bristol Channel in Somerset which is 150 miles from the Irish coast. The supplier EDF Energy is set to build a third reactor there and is in the middle of tense negotiations with the Government over the “strike price” it will get for providing the UK with low carbon power.

Now the group An Taisce is claiming Irish residents should have been consulted before permission was given and has asked lawyers at Leigh Day to issue papers at the High Court against the Government. They say the “significant potential risks” of the power plant across national boundaries haven’t been taken into account.

Rosa Curling from Leigh Day who is representing An Taisce said: “The failure to consult or consider these transboundary impacts renders the decision to grant permission for the nuclear power plant unlawful and we will be seeking to challenge it in the High Court to give the Irish public a voice.”

James Nix, spokesperson for An Taisce added: “This case is not about interfering with the right of the UK authorities to make their own decisions, nor about being pro or anti nuclear… Ireland’s agriculture, food, fishing and tourism – which are our essential indigenous industries – are critically dependent on the quality of our environment, as is the health of our people. This is therefore a matter of considerable importance and concern for Irish people and for our interest in our environment.”

However the Government suggested it was well within its rights to make the decision.

A DECC spokesperson said: “We are considering this challenge and will respond in due course. The Secretary of State’s decision to consent Hinkley Point C was in line with the Planning Inspectorate’s recommendation. The decision-making process took full account of applicable EU and other international law.”