Sparks fly as council squares up to EDF over N-power plan costs

A local council in Somerset is taking on the mighty EDF Energy in a row over the cost of a planning application for a £10bn nuclear power station.

It puts into doubt David Cameron's promise at the weekend that Britain and France will co-operate to build new power plants in the UK. In Paris, Mr Cameron said deals between British and French companies – worth more than £500m – will allow work to start on new facilities, creating more than 1,500 jobs.

But such Anglo-French co-operation is missing in Somerset where councillors at Sedgemoor District Council have accused the energy giant of using bully-boy tactics in pushing through plans for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point.

Kerry Rickards, pictured, the council's chief executive, said: "EDF has put us in a very difficult position."

Last week the council was forced to adjourn the setting of its annual council tax because of arguments over an estimated £2m legal bill. The row centres on the cost of employing specialist lawyers to scrutinise EDF Energy's application to the Infrastructure Planning Commission for its new nuclear power station. The Council is refusing to use local council taxpayers' money to carry out the work, as it says the project is of national benefit and is being built by a commercial, profit-making company.

"It is entirely improper that we use extremely scarce public money to fund the development process relating to a privately owned commercial asset of a company," said Duncan McGinty, leader of the council. "There are still key issues to be resolved at a local level before this development can take place.

"The legitimate rights and concerns of the local community are far from settled at this stage. The planning process is currently stalled while we wait for the developer, French company EDF, to agree vital funding for the necessary scrutiny of the development process."

EDF said it had voluntarily provided more than £13m to the three concerned local councils – Somerset, West Somerset and Sedgemoor – to allow them to scrutinise the proposals for Hinkley Point C.

"This has ensured that council budgets have not been affected by the Hinkley Point C project," said a spokesman for the energy giant. "We are voluntarily committing to continue to fund the reasonable costs incurred by the local authorities during the IPC process."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Tax Manager / Accountant

£35 - £50k DOE: Guru Careers: A Tax Manager / Accountant (ACA / CA / CTA) is n...

Ashdown Group: Contracts Executive - City of London

£35000 - £37000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Contracts Executive - Cit...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Recruitment Genius: Call Centre Debt Collector - Multiple Roles

£21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives