Hinkley C: delay piles up on delay

“EDF’s nuclear plant at Hinkley Point could face further delays after its workers launched legal action against the company in French courts and asked for the project to be put off.

The Works Council at EDF claims the energy firm has refused to grant access to key documents and that staff have been left unable to form a clear view on Hinkley.

The plant was due to be running by 2017 but the company is now aiming for completion by 2025, and has yet to make its final decision on how to raise the £18billion needed.

The decision was due in May, but delayed to consult the unions. Some representatives of EDF workers have asked for Hinkley to be put off for another three years – something the French energy company does not wish to do.

Their concerns echo those of senior managers at EDF, who last week wrote to the Energy and Climate Change Committee calling for Hinkley to be postponed.

In May, EDF’s UK boss Vincent De Rivaz faced questions from MPs over its failure to reach a funding decision last month, as had been promised.

If EDF fails to make its decision by September, it will be called back before the select committee again in October.

Jean-Luc Magnaval, secretary of the EDF workers’ committee, has said that even if judges force EDF to hand over the documents in question, the unions will struggle to come to a decision by their set deadline of July 4.

EDF said it had supplied comprehensive information on the project to the unions and participated in meetings to enable representatives to reach a decision in time.

A spokesman for EDF said: ‘EDF is confident in the quality of the information it has provided to the [union] in support of the Hinkley Point C project.’”


Do EDDC consultants know how long their piece of string is?

Freedom of Information request on “What Do They Know” website:

Dear Ms Symington,

I would like to make a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. I am also making this Request under the Environmental Impact Regulations 2004 which require disclosure on the part of Local Authorities.

1) The Davis Langdon report to Cabinet of 17th July 2013 states the following:
“3.4.3 The current gross internal floor area totals some 7,722 m2, with the former Hotel providing 5,784 m2 and the Office Extensions 1,938m2.” http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/1183866/ca…

This is also referred to in an earlier FOI Request, where you state:
“The floor space area was calculated by an independent consultant and cross-checked with the Display Energy Certificate (DEC).” https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c…

2) The Valuation Office website states the following:
“Total area: 4871.85 [sqm]”

I would be grateful if you could provide an explanation for the apparent discrepancy and provide me with evidence as to how the actual floor space at Knowle is calculated.

Thank you.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Jeremy Woodward


“EU Referendum: “East Devon to be one of the last districts to declare results”

East Devon will be one of the last local areas in the UK to return their EU referendum result. The district will return their verdict at 5am on Friday morning.

Residents in Exeter, however, won’t have to wait as long. The city’s verdict is expected to be revealed at 3am.

South Hams are set to announce theirs 3.30am, Teignbridge at 4.30am, West Devon at 5am, Plymouth at 5am and Torridge between 4am and 6am.


Exeter has many more voters than East Devon, so has Plymouth.


Rural roads need more money

“… A report published today by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) shows that half of all small firms believe this country’s road and public transport system has got worse over last few years.

The three biggest issues highlighted in the report by small companies operating in rural areas are congestion on local roads, potholes and the cost of fuel.

It also warns a lack of regional planning is hampering business growth, particularly in rural area and FSB has also called on the newly-formed combined authorities around the country to commit to spending more on rural transport infrastructure and give the matter a higher priority.

The FSB’s national chairman, Mike Cherry, said while the Government is investing in transport, the ‘lion’s share’ is being spent on ‘big flagship projects’.

‘Most small businesses mainly rely on their local roads and public transport, so there is a strong case to prioritise investment in these smaller projects which will help to alleviate congestion and bottlenecks,’ said Mr Cherry.

‘The current devolution agenda in England presents a real opportunity to make a positive difference to rural communities. Small businesses want to see more resources earmarked for rural transport.

‘This will help support rural small businesses as well as the UK tourism industry, which are both disproportionately affected when local bus networks and roads are left to deteriorate,’ he added.”


Beach hut waiting list mystery

Owl has been contacted by someone nearer to 100 on the waiting list in Seaton for the favoured East Walk has been offered a choice of 5 sites available and has anecdotally said that someone way down on the less-favoured West Walk site has been offered a choice of three sites. Both are refusing due to cost.

Hhhmmm … time for that discount Mr Pook!

Lycamobile (one of the biggest donors to the Conservative Party: how do you get information on its UK business?

19 Lycamobile officials in France have been arrested in money laundering investigations.

Here is how ine UK person’s attempt to find out what goes on with the company in the UK went:

Dear National Crime Agency,

I note in recent revelations published by Buzzfeed news concerning Lycamobile, allegations that “the international telecoms group employs three cash couriers to drop rucksacks stuffed with hundreds of thousands of pounds twice a day at Post Offices scattered across London”. (See *)

Buzzfeed quote a statement by a former manager, “The services would be intangible – consulting or IT services, for example. It would all be billed to London.”

In Lycamobile UK’s most recent annual accounts (**), filed at Companies House… the auditors identify significant sums for which the audit records are inadequate, including “an amount of £134,133,856 owed by related parties for which the audit evidence available to us was limited because of the complex nature of the related party structure the company operators within”.

Given the involvement of UK banks, the use of intangible services in London to spend the money deposited by Lycamobile, and the qualifications to Lycamobile UK’s accounts, please could you disclose to me;

1) Confirm or deny the National Crime Agency are involved in the investigation into alleged international money laundering by Lycamobile in London. If not, please could you indicate who is?
2) Confirm or deny the co-operation of Barclays Bank with any investigation into money laundering via UK bank accounts
3) The number of corresponding arrests made in the UK

France’s Parquet National Financier;-

“On Wednesday and Thursday, 19 people suspected of being involved in a money-laundering system implicating Lycamobile and Lycamobile Services were arrested. The arrests were part of a Paris judicial investigation into money laundering and VAT fraud. Several places in Paris and its outskirts were raided and police seized about 130,000 euros in cash and 850,000 euros from bank accounts. Nine people were brought in front of a judge on Friday and charged with money laundering among other things, and eight were released on bail while one man was remanded in custody. The charges relate to money laundering of at least 17 million euros and VAT fraud of several million euros”.
Yours faithfully,

P. John”
* https://www.buzzfeed.com/heidiblake/the-…
** https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/compa…

And the reply was:


Dear P. John

Thank you for contacting the National Crime Agency (NCA).

NCA is not listed in Schedule 1 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, and as such is not obliged to respond to Freedom of Information requests. NCA is also not listed as a ‘Scottish Public Authority’ in the Freedom of Information (Scotland Act 2002).

Any information from, or relating to NCA has an absolute exemption from disclosure by other public authorities by virtue of Section 23 of the Act (as amended by the Crime and Courts Act 2013).

From time to time NCA will make limited information available on the web site http://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk.

Whilst we will not respond to specific requests, we will consider written suggestions about information we may consider publishing in the future.

For more information about the Freedom of Information Act, please contact the Office of the Information Commissioner, or view their web site at http://www.ico.org.uk.

Yours sincerely

Public Information Compliance Unit


Axminster Hospital affected by protracted NHS contract negotiations

“Axminster must accept the closure of its hospital beds and concentrate on re-establishing day case treatment there.

That is what League of Friends’ chairman Dr Phil Taylor told members at their annual general meeting, in The Guildhall, on Friday.

He said: “Your committee agreed that, having fully engaged in the battle over beds, it was time to accept the inevitable and work constructively to ensure that the communities which we serve saw the development of other services which we hoped would mitigate this loss.

“Specifically, we would like to see the re-establishing of day case treatments at Axminster Hospital. This would mean that people who need blood transfusions, infusions for osteoporosis treatments and other intravenous treatments could have these in Axminster. We are also hoping that chemotherapy treatments might also become available locally as well.

Progress on this has been impeded by the interminable process of contract transfer of the community hospitals – and other services – from Northern Devon Healthcare Trust (NDHT) to the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust.

“We are also keen that people who are at the end of their lives can be looked after in our community when it is appropriate, the ability to do this having been diminished by the loss of our in-patient beds.

“We have been working with NDHT to see if we can establish two temporary care home beds but perhaps, more excitingly, we are working with the Exeter and District Hospice on extending the Seaton Hospice at Home service into the rest of the Axe Valley.”