Environment minister Denis Naughten has asked the UK to consult Ireland on the potential effects of a nuclear power station on England’s west coast, 250km from Rosslare. The Irish government has stopped short of calling for a full environmental impact assessment (EIA) of Hinkley Point C, the first new nuclear station in the UK in more than 20 years, however. Were such a study held, the Irish public could comment on the plans. The environment department said it was a “matter for the UK to decide” whether work on Hinkley C should be put on hold while potentially affected countries such as Ireland are consulted, as recommended by a United Nations committee. The UK has been criticised at the UN for not consulting neighbouring countries under the terms of the 1991 Espoo Convention, which requires European and some central Asian countries to talk to each other about large projects that pose an environmental threat across borders. Apart from Ireland, Norway has also asked to be consulted. According to German media reports, so have Germany and the Netherlands. An Taisce lost a UK court challenge in 2013 to the legality of Hinkley’s planning permission on the basis that Britain had failed to consult the Irish public on potential trans-boundary effects. An appeal in 2014 also failed. A British government spokeswoman said the country’s environment agency and nuclear regulator had assessed the station design for safety, security and environmental impact before granting approval. “The project will continue to be subject to robust regulation from these bodies and we’re confident it will have no significant adverse effect on the environment of any other country,” she said.
Sunday Times 26th March 2017 read more »