Nuclear Power Station at Saltash
In the mid-1960s the ‘Central Electricity Generating Board’ (CEGB) identified a need for a new power station in the south west. Nuclear power was the preferred option. With the CEGB expecting the government to relax regulations on where nuclear power stations could be built with regards to their proximity to areas of high population, the Tamar Valley was chosen as the prime site.
A number of proposed locations were investigated including the Bere Peninsula, Millbrook and Skiham’s Farm Saltash. (Now the site of the China Fleet Club).
Opposition was fierce with a large public meeting held at Saltash Guildhall organised by the Tamar Valley Preservation Society with support from the N.F.U, fishermen and the Tamar Valley Growers Association. Plymouth City Council opposed the proposal along with Tavistock and almost every other council and organisation. When test drilling began at Skinham’s Farm and in the river at Saltash opposition went into overdrive with objections from every council in the Tamar Valley.
Well not quite every council
Saltash Council had a different view with a number of councillors writing an open letter to the press
Sir,—After attending a meeting called by the Tamar Preservation Society at the Saltash Guildhall on September 6, we, the undersigned, are of the opinion that while this society is undoubtedly doing a grand job in the preservation of the beauty of the Tamar in the upper reaches, we as borough councillors of Saltash are firmly convinced that once the electorate of the borough realises the advantages and monetary gains to be obtained from such development, the majority would surely be in favour of a power station at Skinham's Farm.
The power station at Hinkley Point has the rateable value of £202,193. A similar station sited at Skinham's Farm could bring a rateable income of £126,370 per annum, £40,000 of which would go to the Saltash Council and the remainder to the County Council.
At present, the Electricity undertaking's installations in the St. Germans area, including Landulph, have a rateable value of £6,357, which is an appreciable income for the Rural District Council.
A protest by the N.F.U. and the Tamar Valley Growers of the loss of 50.000 acres of good agricultural land to developers annually, rings hollow when one realises that less than ½ per cent is attributed to power stations and the remainder goes to housing.
Although we challenge the accuracy of figures quoted by the secretary of the Tamar Valley Preservation Society. we would point out that the figures could Include the necessary road developments to the site, which must be an advantage to the borough.
A power station at Skinham's Farm would mean three things: more employment; greater financial benefit both for the traders and the ratepayers of the borough: more opportunity for the school leavers through apprenticeships will also certainly put Saltash firmly on the map.
G.H. E. JAMES
Suffice to say no nuclear power station was built, but work did start on an oil fired power station at Millbrook. This work was stopped after PCC objected. One councillor saying it would turn Plymouth into another Oldham or Salford.