A Sedgemoor spokesperson said "The £2million contribution required by the council covers the costs that will be incurred by both Sedgemoor and West Somerset Councils as well as some of those incurred by the County. The funds are needed for researching, producing evidence and presenting arguments for the various issues that local communities have said are important to them such as housing, transport, community safety, leisure and the environment."
"Sedgemoor District Council is adamant that local council taxpayers’ money should not be used to carry out this work, as the project is of national benefit and importance and is being built by a commercial, profit-making company. It is estimated that very large sums of money will be needed to carry out this work and SDC are not willing to set their council tax without this amount being agreed upon. EDF have previously funded this work but have not confirmed so far the amount for the next stage despite on-going negotiations with the Councils over the matter."
Tory leader, Cllr Duncan McGinty commented “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 which is expected to reveal profits of £3.8bn later this week . The IPC will be expecting to see properly researched evidence from the councils as to information contained in EDF’s application and we are not prepared to pay for this from local tax. This is a core business for EDF, who will be spending many millions on their application. They will also be buying in the best legal and technical advice as they need. We need to be able to properly challenge their claims and this does not come cheap given the resources they have put behind their own professional team.”
|Labour leader Cllr Mick Lerry |
"EDF should make the resources available"
Labour leader Cllr Mick Lerry, (Victoria) who had been preparing to present an Alternative Budget, expressed his dissapointment that this situation had only been revealed today and that members had been given no indication as to the difficulties being experienced in the negotiations. He said "EDF have put us in this position and they are not living up to their responsibilities. They are denying us the resources that are neccesary and we are all united behind the decision of the last Labour Government that this new nuclear programme should not come at any increased cost to the taxpayers. EDF need to stop playing around with us and if they are serious should make the resources available. We have to look at the possible consequences of failing to reach an agreement and if neccessary we would support taking this to judicial review."
Changing the Rules
|cllr Julian Taylor |
"EDF are changing the rules of the game"
Labour deputy leader, Cllr Julian Taylor (Eastover) said "Here is a situation where a Multinational Company largely owned by the French state is changing the rules of the game and forcing through a major project . There is no supported provided by the Coalition Government either despite their support for this in their manifesto. The Labour group represents Bridgwater on this council and so we are more affected than most by this development!"
SDC voted to adjourn the meeting until Friday, 24th February at 1430 hrs. in the hope that there can be successful negotiations between the Councils and EDF.