Lib Dem activists vote to scrap Hinkley: report

Liberal Democrat activists have voted in favour of a motion to scrap Hinkley Point C at the party’s conference in Brighton, the BBC has reported.

The government gave the final go-ahead to the project last week following a surprise review of the terms of the deal with EDF and China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) over the summer.

Duncan Brack, a former member of the party’s Federal Policy Committee, reportedly told members the 3.2GW plant in Somerset represents “spectacularly poor value for money” and breached the party’s policy of opposing subsidies for new nuclear: “We are against subsidy for nuclear and Hinkley is subsidy.”

He said the cost of renewables such as solar and offshore wind are set to “plummet” by the time the station is built and that they will therefore offer better value of money.

Brack also described the argument that new nuclear is needed for baseload power as a “total fallacy”: “Nuclear stations are not on all the time. They have faults, they go off-line which means you have to build an equivalent amount of back-up to support them.”

He was opposed by former energy secretary Ed Davey, who played a pivotal role in negotiating the strike price for Hinkley whilst in office during the coalition government.

Davey said the UK needs to make use of all forms low-carbon generation: “We should not be taking nuclear off the table because of the risks posed to our children and their children by climate change.”

“We know we have to prepare our country and our world for the dangers of climate change and turn that around and Hinkley Point C plays a small part in that,” he was quoted as saying.

Davey also dismissed attempts to forecast the ultimate cost of the deal as a “mug’s game”, saying people would need to know prices for energy and carbon between 2025 and 2060 in order to make accurate predictions.

Last week he told Newsnight the Conservative government was making a “huge error” by “putting all the nation’s eggs in the nuclear and gas basket” and leaving the alternatives to flounder.