PROTESTORS who blockaded the access road to Hinkley Point B nuclear power station this morning have left peacefully.

Four members of the Stop Nuclear Power Network chained themselves together at the gates in protest at EDF Energy's plans for a third power station.

The campaigners are wearing badger masks as they believe the proposals would destroy wildlife in the area.

A spokesman for EDF said: "Although we respect the rights of individuals to peaceful protest, we are sympathetic to the pressure these events can place on the local community with whom we have strong links.

"EDF Energy places its highest priority on the safety and security of the public, its staff, buildings and installations.

"We maintain regular contact with the police and other appropriate agencies and regularly review and adjust our security procedures across our sites."

Police confirmed no arrests have been made and the protestors have now left the site.

EDF also says more than three quarters of local people believe that the country needs nuclear power as part of the energy mix.

The firm adds 77% of people living within Sedgemoor, Taunton Deane and West Somerset support nuclear power as part of the balance with coal, gas and wind power, according to its research.

Just 14% of people disagree according to a survey of 1,002 people by ICM, conducted last week.

David Eccles, head of EDF Energy's Bridgwater office, said: "Some of today's protestors have travelled from hundreds of miles away to say they are opposed to plans for Hinkley Point C.

"But research shows that in the local community, and especially among those most directly affected, there is very significant support for nuclear power." Police confirmed no arrests have been made and the protestors have now left the site.

See tomorrow's Mercury for more on this story.