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Page last updated at 12:50 GMT, Thursday, 8 July 2010 13:50 UK
In depth: Hinkley Point C proposals



Energy minister Charles Hendry
Energy minister Charles Hendry says Hinkley C could still go ahead

People are being given their last chance to have their say on plans for a new nuclear power station, Hinkley C.

Since the plans were first drawn up by EDF Energy there's been a change of government, which potentially brings a change of approach to nuclear energy.

BBC Somerset's Matt Faulkner spoke to the energy minister Charles Hendry about the plans.

How will the coalition work on the controversial issue of nuclear power, which the Liberal Democrats are against and the Conservatives are in favour of?

The coalition agreement's been absolutely clear, and we totally understand where the Lib Dems have come from in the process, but the coalition agreement says if people come forward with a plan to build new nuclear power - and there's not a desire for subsidy in that process - then they can be part of that mix.

And that is the agreed position of the coalition and the basis on which investors would seek to invest in the UK.

There's no chance of you guys falling out over this?

Certainly not. We are absolutely at one on this.

We've also said we want the national policy statements to be be ratified by parliament to make those more robust; we want greater effort on dealing with the long term waste issues.

And we've got a very strong coalition agreement on these areas.

EDF Energy was due to submit its plans for Hinkley C to the Infrastructure Planning Commission at the end of this year. You've announced you're disbanding the IPC so who will ultimately decide if Hinkley C's built?

Well our concern about the IPC approach was that ultimately that decision would have been made by an unelected quango, and we felt that was democratically unaccountable.

We've said that in all such major infrastructure planning issues the final decision should be made by the secretary of state.

So that back office work, giving advice as to whether its appropriate within the law would be done by the same team, but ultimately the decision will be made by the secretary of state.

But we've been prepared to say that that will be made in the same time scale as it would have been. So there'll be no delays but we think we will end up with a more robust and democratically accountable approach.

So the final decision will be made by Chris Huhne, a Lib Dem?

The final decision will be made by the secretary of state. Chris Huhne has said very clearly when it comes to him it's not about the party's view on nuclear, it's about whether that fits with specific planning application objectives.

And he's made it absolutely clear that he's prepared to sanction those applications if they're in line with planning policy.




SEE ALSO
Latest Hinkley C plans published
08 Jul 10 |  People & Places
Businesses 'cash in' on Hinkley
08 Jul 10 |  People & Places


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