FOI complainant criticises ministers over refusal to disclose agreement with energy supplier for planned nuclear plant
A furious row has broken out after the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) refused to disclose the arrangement with EDF for dealing with radioactive waste at the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear plant.
The information commissioner’s office has turned down a freedom of information (FoI) request for state aid arrangements between the UK and the European commission to be made public.
The FoI complainant, David Lowry, has launched an appeal, claiming it is in the public interest for British citizens to be able to judge whether their government had made the right decision about the new reactors in Somerset.
Lowry, a British-based senior research fellow with the Institute for Resource and Security Studies in the US, said: “I do not believe the balance of judgment should be in favour of a foreign company, EDF Energy, who will potentially make huge multibillion-pound financial gain from the continued non-disclosure, and hence non scrutiny, over myself as a British tax and electricity bill payer.”
DECC turned down the original request under regulation 12(5)(a) of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 arguing, “disclosure would adversely affect international relations, defence, national security or public safety”.
This argument was accepted by the information commissioner who believed that disclosure of the state aid discussions with the EC “would adversely affect the relationship between the (UK) government and the commission’s ability to work effectively together”.
Read more at EDF’s Hinkley Point deal over radioactive waste sparks anger