In an open letter to the Sunday Telegraph, MPs and academics call for the National Audit Office to review nuclear negotiations between the Government an EDF Energy over financial support for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in Somerset.

We need to know what kind of nuclear deal the Government is signing up to

The Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Treasury are negotiating with the French nuclear corporation EDF about the financing of possible new nuclear in the UK.

Through these negotiations, the Government is aiming to guarantee a set price for nuclear energy – a ‘strike price’.

This price will be well above the market price for electricity, meaning that UK taxpayer and energy consumer will be paying the difference. This contract will be locked in for very many decades – up to 40 years.

The impact of this contract will be to shift the economic risk of building new nuclear facilities from the nuclear corporation to the consumer.

Because of ‘commercial confidentiality’, there will be very limited Parliamentary or public access to information about important details of these non-reviewable contracts.

Normally contracts of this scale and length would include provision for re-negotiation as and when circumstances change – and we need to know how and when these triggers would initiate.

We are also concerned about a lack of transparency around contingency budget arrangements for cost overruns and indexation.

For negotiations with such important outcomes, we are concerned that these talks lack the necessary democratic accountability, fiscal and regulatory checks and balances.

So, in the context of openness, transparency, fiscal and regulatory accountability, and ‘best value’ for the UK taxpayer and energy consumer, we have joined together in requesting the National Audit Office to – as soon as possible – conduct a detailed review of the form and function of the negotiations between Treasury/DECC and EDF.

Yours Sincerely,

Alan Whitehead MP Member of the Commons Select Committees on Energy and Climate Change and Environmental Audit, Chair of PRASEG (Associate Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group) and Co-Chair of APSRG (Associate Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group).

Simon Hughes MP Deputy leader of the Liberal Democrat Party, former Shadow Secretary of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Caroline Lucas MP Member of the Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fuel Poverty, Vice Chair of the Public and Commercial Services, Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil and Gas, former Leader of the Green Party.

Zac Goldsmith MP Author of The Constant Economy, served as Deputy Chairman to the Conservative Quality of Life Policy Group.

Joan Walley MP Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee of the House of Commons.

Martin Caton MP Member, Environmental Audit Select Committee.

Mike Weir MP SNP Westminster Spokesperson for Trade, Industry, Business, Energy and Climate Change.

Mark Durkan MP Former Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland.

Dr Paul Dorfman UCL Energy Institute, University College London; Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust Nuclear Policy Research Fellow.

Prof Tom Burke Founding Director of E3G, Chairman of the Editorial Board of ENDS, Visiting Professor at Imperial and University Colleges

Andrew Warren Director Association for the Conservation of Energy, Chair of the British Energy Efficiency Federation, Member of the European Climate Change Programme Working Group

Prof Stephen Thomas Professor of Energy Policy, Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU), University of Greenwich

Dr David Toke Senior Lecturer in Energy Policy, University of Birmingham

Prof Brian Wynne Associate Director of CESAGen, Professor of Science Studies and Research Director of the Centre for the Study of Environmental Change (CSEC), University of Lancaster

Prof Andy Stirling Director of Science for SPRU, Co-director Centre on Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability, University of Sussex

Prof Peter A Strachan Group Lead Strategy and Policy Unit, The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen Business School

Dr Nick Eyre Senior Research Fellow, Programme Leader, Lower Carbon Futures, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford

Dr Sarah J Darby Senior Researcher, Lower Carbon Futures, Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University

Prof David Elliott Emeritus Professor of Technology Policy, The Open University

Professor Stefan Bouzarovski School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester

Prof Andy Blowers Emeritus Professor, The Open University, Member of Committee on Radioactive Waste Management 1

Craig Bennett Director, Policy and Campaigns, Friends of the Earth (FOE)

Prof Andrew Dobson Professor of Politics, University of Keele

Prof Jonathan Davies Professor of Critical Policy Studies, Faculty of Business and Law, De Montfort University

Jonathon Porritt Founder, Director and Trustee, Forum for the Future, Co-Director of the Prince of Wales’s Business & Sustainability Programme

Prof Gordon Walker Chair of Environment, Risk and Social Justice, Department of Geography, Lancaster University

Prof Ian Miles Professor of Technological Innovation and Social Change, Manchester Institute of Innovation Research, Manchester Business School, University of Manchester

Prof Stuart Weir Director of Democratic Audit, Human Rights Centre, University of Essex

Prof Gordon Walker Chair of Environment, Risk and Social Justice, Department of Geography, Lancaster University

Prof Erik Swyngedouw Professor of Geography, School of Environment and Development, Manchester University

Prof Harry Rothman Institute of Innovation Research, Manchester Business School, University of Manchester

Dr Mark Lemon Principal Lecturer, Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development, De Montfort University

Dr Markku Lehtonen Research Fellow Sussex Energy Group, Science and Technology Policy Research (SPRU), University of Sussex

Jeremy Leggett Founder and Chairman of Solarcentury and SolarAid, Author of The Carbon War and Half Gone

Prof Jake Chapman Demos Associate, former Professor of Energy Systems, Open University

Prof Roy Butterfield Professor (Emeritus) Civil Engineering, University of Southampton, National Coordinating Committee member, Scientists for Global Responsibility

Dr Ian Welsh Reader in Sociology, University of Cardiff

Prof Keith Barnham Emeritus Professor of Physics, Imperial College London, Co-Founder and CTO QuantaSol Ltd

Dr John Walls School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham

Dr Alan Terry Senior Lecturer in Geography, Geography and Environmental Management, Geography Research Unit, UWE

Dr Jerome Ravetz Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, Oxford University

Dr Mark Pelling Reader in Geography, Department of Geography, King’s College London

Dr Stuart Parkinson Executive Director, Scientists for Global Responsibility

Dr Peter North School of Environmental Sciences, Department of Geography, University of Liverpool

Dr Darren McCauley Department of Geography and Sustainable Development, School of Geography & Geosciences, University of St. Andrews

Dr David Lowry Independent research consultant, Specialist in UK and EU nuclear & environment policy

Dr Peter Lee School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Birmingham

Prof Nic Lampkin Executive Director, Organic Research Centre, Visiting Professor, University of Reading School of Agriculture, Policy and Development

Dr Aled Jones FRSA Director Global Sustainability Institute Anglia Ruskin University

Dr Dan der Horst School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences University of Birmingham

Dr Ben Fairweather Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility, De Montfort University, Editor, Journal of Information, Communication & Ethics in Society (JICES)

Dr Richard Cowell Senior Lecturer in Environmental Policy and Planning, Cardiff School of City and Regional Planning, University of Cardiff

Dr Matthew Cotton Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds

Dr Steve Connelly Department of Town and Regional Planning, University of Sheffield

Dr Jason Chilvers Lecturer, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia

Shaun Burnie Independent Nuclear Consultant

Dr Katherine G Begg Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Environmental Change and Sustainability, School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh

Duncan Bayliss, MRTPI Senior Lecturer in Geography, University of the West of England

Dr Abhishek Agarwal Aberdeen Business School, Associate Editor for the Journal of Industrial Ecology