A think tank that includes senior Conservative figures among its members has called for the government to call time on the Hinkley C nuclear power plant.
Bright Blue, whose advisory board includes Francis Maude, Nicky Morgan and former DECC minister Greg Barker, has said the government needs a new “plan A”. The group stresses that its position is not necessarily endorsed by all members of the organisation, which includes more than 100 parliamentarians.
The government was expected to sign contracts for the project on Friday following the long-awaited approval of EDF’s board. However, in a surprise move secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy Greg Clark revealed that a decision would be taken in the Autumn after further consideration.
“The Government should abandon Hinkley C – pursuing it in light of all the evidence of cost reductions in other technologies would be deeply irresponsible,” said Ben Caldecott, associate fellow, Bright Blue. “We need a new ‘Plan A’. This must be focused on bringing forward sufficient renewables, electricity storage, and energy efficiency to more than close any gap left in the late 2020s by Hinkley not proceeding. This would be sensible, achievable, and cheap.”
Zac Goldsmith, also a Bright Blue member, has welcomed the government’s rethink.
It's hard to imagine a worse deal than Hinkley Point project. If this pause equals a genuine rethink by Government, that's very good news.
— Zac Goldsmith (@ZacGoldsmith) 28 July 2016
Bright Blue has previously called for renewable energy to be the government's Plan B, should Hinkley fall through.
Labour’s shadow energy team has reiterated that it backs nuclear power but believes the Hinkley contract is not good value for money.
Since the strike price of the contract for difference was set, the anticipated cost has risen from £6 billion to £29 billion, according to figures from the National Audit Office.