'An Absurd Decision On Every Level': Green And Free-Market Groups Unite In Opposition To Hinkley Point

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A decision by the government to give a new £18bn nuclear power station the go-ahead has united free market and green groups in opposition.

The controversial deal for Hinkley Point, which Theresa May placed on hold on becoming Prime Minister, has brought together groups from across the political spectrum.

The Institute of Economic Affairs said it “demonstrates the folly of industrial strategy”, whist Greenpeace said the plan had not made use of “cold hard facts.”

The Labour party, along with Britain’s unions, has largely supported the proposal, saying it will create jobs and opportunities.

The Institute of Economic Affairs: “demonstrates the folly of industrial strategy”

“Hinkley Point demonstrates the folly of “industrial strategy”. The government is backing a hugely expensive way of producing electricity on the spurious grounds that it will reduce carbon emissions, increase energy security and create jobs.

“Continual government interference in energy markets makes it more difficult for companies to plan and therefore undermines private investment. Expensive government schemes therefore substitute for more efficient private sector investment.”

Climate Change Think-tank EG3: “nothing about this deal is good”

“There are faster, cheaper, cleaner and smarter ways to deliver affordable, secure, low carbon electricity to Britain’s consumers.”

“Nothing about this deal is good for Britain’s hardworking families. They will pay the bill for decades but the jobs will go abroad. It is bad for consumers, bad for the climate and bad for the country.”

Greenpeace: “huge outstanding obstacles”

“This decision is unlikely to be the grand finale to this summer’s political soap opera. There are still huge outstanding financial, legal and technical obstacles that can’t be brushed under the carpet. There might be months or even years of wrangling over these issues. That’s why the government should start supporting renewable power that can come online quickly for a competitive price.

“Today’s decision hasn’t been made on the cold, hard facts that show Hinkley will not deliver competitively priced, low carbon energy any time soon. Instead it seems that Hinkley became too big to fail. The potential for political embarrassment for the new Prime Minister was too high.

“The new arrangement for a government special share changes almost nothing on the Hinkley deal and time will tell what it means for Bradwell in Essex, which is due to use Chinese technology.”

The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit: “not quite as final as it looks”

“French trade unions don’t like it, nor do some of the likely candidates for the French Presidential Election next year, EDF’s finances are not the healthiest, and the French nuclear regulator is examining flaws in steel used for a similar reactor being built in France. So it may turn out not to be quite as ‘final’ as it looks now.”

Exeter University Energy Policy Group: “same old dirty, centralised rut”

“Unfortunately, the UK’s energy policy remains stuck in the same old dirty, centralised rut, despite cleaner, more flexible and cheaper alternatives being available. Theresa May’s decision to back the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station is a huge missed opportunity for the UK. The Prime Minister had a moment of common sense earlier in the summer when she realised that the viability of the project needed careful scrutiny, but in the end she has caved in to French and Chinese pressure to go ahead despite all the evidence stacking up that subsidising the station will cost electricity consumers billions of pounds over its lifetime, not to mention all the taxpayer underwriting for clearing up its radioactive waste when it stops operating.

“By going down the nuclear route, the Prime Minister has missed the opportunity to have a meaningful debate about the future development of the UK’s electricity system and the role that renewables and demand management can play in delivering cheaper, less environmentally damaging and more secure power than Hinkley Point.”

The TaxPayers Alliance: “huge risk with spectacularly bad value for money”

“All the signs are there that this project will be a hugely expensive failure but we seem to be continuing with the failed policies of the past, saddling consumers with exorbitant bills in the process.”

The Green Party: “an absurd decision on every level”