Hinckley Point: Utter necessity, or better off shelved?

'We're utterly incompetent as a country at planning any strategy for our infrastructure', says market commentator

Hinckley Point: Dividing opinion

Friday, July 29, 2016

The delayed £18 billion project to build Hinckley Point power station is a "political decision" that will lead to a lot of "name calling". 

That's the view of market expert Justin Urquhart Stewart, who adds that the UK remains "utterly incompetent" at infrastructure projects.

The board of French power company EDF, which will finance most of the build, narrowly voted to go ahead with the £18bn project yesterday (Thursday). But within hours the UK government decided to review the decision. 

"This will be political, nothing EDF does on a huge scale is done without [French] state control," Urquhart Stewart, head of corporate development at Seven Investment Management, told Julia Hartley-Brewer. 

"I think we'll find a lot of name-calling carrying on from this."

The requirement for the new nuclear plant in Somerset is pressing, Urquhart Stewart believes.  

"We are already out of power capacity," he said.

"For the past 30 years we have been utterly incompetent as a country at planning any strategy for our infrastructure. We're the laughing stock of the world when it comes to airports."

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, though, has praised the government's decision to hold off on issuing a green light to the project.

"Often governments are criticised for U-turns, but if [it means] they're heading in the right direction we should be praising that U-turn.

"The cleanest, greenest best energy is the energy you don't use. If we invest in energy-efficient homes we can cut people's bills.

"We have to leave at least two-thirds of our fossil fuels in the ground if we're going to avoid catastrophic climate change."

Her comments resulted in a heated debate with Julia Hartley-Brewer; listen to the full audio and let us know your thoughts