Somerset

£2.3m Hinkley row between EDF and Sedgemoor

Hinkley Point power station
Image caption A new Hinkley Point C station could open in 2020

A row has erupted between EDF Energy and Sedgemoor District Council over who should pay for the research costs for the planned nuclear plant at Hinkley.

The authority fears it will be forced to raise council tax to meet the £2.3m costs which it believes EDF should pay.

Richard Mayson, from EDF Energy, said: "Over the past two years we've handed out £13m to councils to perform their duties and negotiations are ongoing."

If EDF Energy gets the go ahead the new nuclear plant could open in 2020.

'Cat and mouse'

The money is needed to pay for the council to investigate the details of the planning application submitted by EDF to the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC).

The IPC, which deals with large-scale projects, will oversee the planning process and make a recommendation to the government over whether the scheme should go ahead.

As part of this planning process, third parties such as Sedgemoor District Council, hand in submissions to the IPC about areas of concern or which need further detail.

Council chief executive Kerry Rickards said: "We've always been funded up to the 31 March.

"There didn't seem to be any indications coming from EDF that continuation funding was going to be a difficulty.

"Now that they've started to read our evidence, it seems as though they are starting to pull the rug from under us and we won't be able to provide the proper evidence and allow proper due process to take place.

"They have put us in a very difficult position, it seems as though they do not want to budge, and are not providing resources for us to challenge what they say."

EDF has said there is no basis for the £2.3m figure put forward by the council.

"The IPC only last Friday published the examination timetable...but we did have a positive meeting with the council on Tuesday and I am hoping we can share a re-examination of our costs, so we can make some progress next week," added Mr Mayson.

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