Sedgemoor District Council fears it will be unable to properly scrutinise plans for a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point because of a lack of cash.

A special meeting of the council last week heard how the authority has received £272,000 from site operator EDF Energy to scrutinise the application.

However, finance chief Claire Pearce told councillors the amount was ‘significantly short’ of that required to properly examine the application – it is understood the council was hoping for £2million.

Councillors resolved to write to the Infrastructure Planning Commission, which is examining the application, informing it of the council’s lack of funding and requesting extra help with legal costs.

Responding to the criticism, EDF Energy spokesman Gordon Bell said: “EDF has voluntarily committed £272,000 to cover the reasonable costs of Sedgemoor District Council during the IPC consideration of its application for Hinkley Point C.

“This is in addition to £870,000 already provided to help Sedgemoor District Council, West Somerset Coun-cil and Somerset County Council complete reports to the IPC by May 3.

“In total £13million has been given to date to cover the costs of the local authorities during the pre-examination phase.

“Sedgemoor District Council has received almost £10million, which represents almost two thirds of the council's annual budget.

“EDF Energy acknowledges the role of Sedgemoor District Council and is confident the level of voluntary funding provided to them is fair and covers their reasonable costs.”