Hinkley Point C Stakeholder Expert Reference Group and Internal Cross-Government Officials Group
In responding to the First Minister’s manifesto commitment to establish an “Expert Panel” to review the implications for Wales of the development of a nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset, consideration is given below to:
- Scope and Purpose,
- Terms of Reference,
- Stakeholders Reference Group membership (and corresponding internal Cross-Government Officials Group to service the proposed new Stakeholders Reference Group),
Scope and purpose
It is proposed that a Stakeholders Reference Group (SRG) is established to provide stakeholder views to Ministers on an ‘as and when’ required basis, in relation to the development of a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point C. In parallel, an internal Cross-Government Officials group will mirror and service the SRG.
Legal Services have advised that it is important that consideration should be given to the purpose of such a group and how this would fit with the lawful exercise by the Welsh Ministers of their functions (particularly in relation to marine licensing, as well as other regulatory regimes that may be engaged - e.g. planning).
Terms of reference
With the above in mind, the Terms of Reference for the SRG focus on the following core purpose:
to provide stakeholder views to Ministers, as required, on issues arising from the Hinkley Point C project that are relevant to Wales and the people of Wales and maximising individual and community wellbeing by reducing harm to people and the environment.
In detail, the SRG will:
- function as an ad hoc, informal group to provide stakeholder views to Ministers on issues that may for arise for Wales from the Hinkley Point project. The Group will not make recommendations.
- have membership representing a range of expertise from academia, industry, regulatory perspective, the environment, health and the economy – with detailed cognisance of these disciplines within a Severn Estuary context.
- be non-statutory and meet on an ad-hoc basis, depending on when issues arise that need discussion.
- be mirrored by an internal Cross-Government Officials Group that will be responsible for servicing the SRG and feeding outcomes of its deliberations to Ministers.
Stakeholder Reference Group Membership
Drawing on the approach advocated in the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, the proposed SRG will use the 7 goals and 5 ways of working to guide its work. Membership will be drawn from a balance of disciplines with no one discipline outweighing any other. Both the SRG and Internal Cross-Government Officials Groups will reflect a sectoral balance between academia, industry and regulation to ensure a multi-faceted consideration of issues.
Core discipline areas to be incorporated in the SRG’s membership include:
- Environment/Ecology with expertise in a Severn Estuary context,
- Hydro and civil engineering and water environmental assessments in a Severn Estuary context,
- Economy/ Socio-economics in a south east Wales, south west England cross border context,
- Public Health,
- Nuclear/ large scale energy production,
- Regulatory sectors and processes in cross border context.
Internal Cross Government Officials Group
Chair – John Howells, Director of Climate Change, Energy and Planning (TBC)
With members from the following team areas:
- Environment and Water
- Office for Science
- Economy – South East Region
- Planning and Regulatory
- Energy Advisor to Welsh Ministers
Jane Davidson, Pro Vice-Chancellor Emeritus, University of Wales, Trinity Saint David. In the absence of the appointed Chair, the ERG members will agree and appoint one of their number to preside.
Frequency of Meetings
The ERG will meet on an ad-hoc basis, depending on whether issues arise that need discussion. It is expected that a typical time commitment from the Chair and members of no more than 2 days/month.
The internal Cross-Government Officials Group will share the outcomes and deliberations of the ERG with Ministers.
The Chair and members of the ERG will not be remunerated (reasonable expenses excepted).
Welsh Government will provide the Secretariat.
The ERG will initially serve for a period of 12 months.