Hinkley C just got even more expensive

The cost of building a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset could rise by nearly £2 billion, piling more pressure on the over-stretched finances of the French energy giant EDF, according to a report seen by The Times.

An independent analysis of the £18 billion project claims that Areva, the French company that developed the EPR reactor earmarked for Hinkley, is repricing the technology before a final investment decision, which it expects to be signed by EDF and its Chinese partners in May.

(article behind paywall)

No doubt in the repricing, there will be attempts to offload the costs elsewhere.

The next French presidential election is due in May 2017. How on earth is Hollande going to explain this away to his successor?

Straitgate Quarry update

“Campaigners are calling for a public exhibition on revised proposals for a 100-acre quarry on Ottery’s outskirts that they say could impact thousands.

A controversial application from Aggregate Industries (AI) to extract sand and gravel at Straitgate Farm met with community opposition before it was withdrawn earlier this year.

AI confirmed this week it intends to resubmit plans in April, but will not be holding any further public exhibitions – choosing instead to distribute information leaflets to householders.

Straitgate Action Group was formed to fight the proposed quarry and says that if the company will not be using the narrow Birdcage Lane as its main exit under the revised proposals, HGVs are likely to come straight out on to Exeter Road.

Member Monica Mortimer said: “We have been writing to AI to ask when they will be holding a public exhibition. If they are planning on using the one and only main road in and out of Ottery then it will impact on thousands of people all day every day. It just seems a ludicrous proposal.”

The Straitgate plan relies on a linked application to retain Blackhill Quarry, on Woodbury Common, for processing material – a site that is due to be decommissioned this year. Delays in securing the Ottery site have led to AI submitting a new application for importing reserves from Houndaller (Hillhead) Quarry, near Uffculme, to be processed approximately 26 miles away at Blackhill.

Campaigner and county councillor Claire Wright questioned the sense of transporting sand and gravel so far for processing, with the resulting impact on roads and surrounds.

John Penny, South West estates manager for AI, said that following a review, the company will be resubmitting planning proposals for Straitgate and an extension to processing at Blackhill.

He said: “This is to address concerns raised about the transport of materials. Instead of using the more rural Birdcage Lane to exit the Straitgate site, we will be proposing an alternative site entrance.

“We feel this will provide a safer way for vehicles to enter and exit the site and it shows that we are acting on feedback from the community.”

Mr Penny said the Hillhead Quarry plan would be a temporary measure that the company has applied for ‘to allow the business to maintain aggregate supplies to the Exeter and East Devon construction markets during 2016’.

The plan for Hillhead Quarry is open to consultation until April 7.”


LEP Conflict of interest? Not when you all share the same interest it seems!

We reported that LEP member Nicholas Ames (Supacat) used to work for Serco which has been handed a lucrative LEP contract:


We also reported that Supacat is moving into the nuclear industry:


Now we hear that Serco is also involved in the nuclear industry:

“A consortium including government outsourcing specialist Serco has won a new framework contract from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to manage the UK’s nuclear warheads via the Atomic Weapons Establishment through to 2025.”


Stuart Hughes is top of the (grand)pops …

For some reason, several older posts on EDW have been extraordinarily popular recently.

This one from 2015 (apparently designed to appeal to young people just before last year’s local council elections) topped our chart this week: current EDDC chairman Stuart Hughes with his take on exactly how his council approaches its planning responsibilities:


Anywhere … did people not understand he was totally serious?

East Devon Businesses: your chance for “expert advice” from an LEP “pop-up” cafe in Exeter

on 6 April 2016 at the Fresha Cafe, Sowton, 8am – midday:


Register and then book hourly slots with experts on marketing, finance, business strategy, skills, regulation, the Hinkley supply chain or a regulation expert (presumably a maximum of four different sessions).

Of the 24 session slots on offer, so far only 2 of the marketing slots are booked – the other 22 are unbooked.

Just one question: just WHO are these “experts” and how much are they being paid to attend these events all over Devon and Somerset?

Owl would want to be sure that taking a morning off its ceaseless job of hunting vermin would be worth it.

“Healthy Cranbrook”? Not for some stressed residents

Exchange of views in town council website after a quiet, green space is suddenly changed into a children’s playpark, when residents were told it would not be built o and would remain a quiet space:

As the EDW correspondent says:
When developers lie about green spaces/parks? So much for wellbeing and health?

COMMENTS (only names of residents removed)

“Brilliant, I can’t wait to have this right outside my house (NOT!!) has anyone thought about the people that live in Hayes square??

I’m great full (sic) that we will be moving soon, will be crazy in the summer defiantly (sic) when its baby’s bedtime

moving?? I know I am dreading it, it’s gonna be teenager heaven at night!! Not looking forward to it at all

Yep! For sure the park by co op is full of chavy teenagers from 7pm have to get husband out there. I’m glad we won’t be here when it’s finished. I like it how it is

I think it’s the most stupid place to do its basically right outside my house the children have been more than happy playing out there how it its just going to bring more vandalism to the estate xx

I thought it was supposed to be a quiet park? Why have they spent all the time making it like it is if they are now changing it?

Sorry residents feel like that, also fully understand. Time for parents to stand up and make sure we and our kids do not make an amazing asset into a nightmare for those living nearby. This goes for existing park too.

Shame developers have to lie to sell houses, we were told that was going to be a nice green area where you could just go and sit and relax and read a book, never any mention of a kids play park, why do they need another one so close to the one they already have!

We got told the same.”

Not healthy to have all these people stressed, EDDC!