Wednesday, 13 April 2011
Judicial review proceedings were started recently by a man who is opposed to plans for up to 20 next-generation reactors at eight sites around the country.
They include as many as three on land next to the existing Oldbury atomic station, near Thornbury, where two reactors have been providing electricity for the past 41 years.
Rory Walker, 24, who lives near the Heysham station in Lancashire, is taking his fight against Energy SecretaryChris Huhne to the High Court.
He believes Mr Huhne has not met his obligations in law over the issue and is putting at risk the health of residents in areas which could get the reactors.
Mr Walker has been granted legal aid and a procedural hearing will be held in May to decide whether the application will proceed to a full judicial hearing on its merits.
But the Legal Services Commission, which administers legal aid, said a contribution of £16,250 should be made by other citizens who would benefit from his application if it were successful.
Mr Walker's solicitors, Irwin Mitchell, said it was not unusual for a contribution to be required in such circumstances but the amount was unusual. Arguments against the "somewhat arbitrary demand" are being made but Mr Walker's supporters said it was becoming clear that a large sum would be needed.
If the amount cannot be raised, Mr Walker will lose his legal aid and the protection it gives against paying costs if the case is lost.
So far a fighting fund has received pledges for more than £4,000 and Oldbury campaign group SANE - Shepperdine Against Nuclear Energy - has asked its members if they can help. Its chairman, Reg Illingworth, said: "I'm personally pledging some money to the case. Rory's doing a fantastic job."
Posted by Reg Illingworth at 01:11