The Government’s divisive plans for a new £16bn civil nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset have been dealt a double blow by the United Nations and a powerful group of MPs. A UN environmental committee has warned that there is “profound suspicion” that the UK failed to properly consult neighbouring countries, including Norway and Spain, over the possible environmental impact that Hinkley Point C could have on them. In a letter to the Department for Communities and Local Government, Vesna Kolar Planinsic, who chairs the UN’s implementation committee on the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context, said that the UK’s only consultation efforts amounted to “informal exchanges” with Ireland and Austria. The department has been ordered to send a delegation to face the committee in December. Separately, Joan Walley, who chairs Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee, has written to the European Competition Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, to help an EU investigation into state aid for the two new reactors at Hinkley Point. This inquiry is considered the last big obstacle preventing the construction of a power station expected to meet around 7 per cent (enough to supply nearly 5 million homes) of the country’s energy needs from 2023.