Leader of the Labour Group on Somerset County Council Cllr Leigh Redman is also Bridgwater Town Council’s spokesman on ‘all matters EDF’ . This week he’s angry, and here’s why.
In last weeks Bridgwater Mercury was a story that I felt was nothing but an EDFe positive propaganda that was unbalanced and gave the wrong impression, I made comment of this to them and thought I was going to get a right of reply in tomorrows edition, so held back my comment, it now appears that my letter or comment will not be appearing tomorrow!!!!!!
So here it is:-
EDFe & SCC’s response printed in last weeks Mercury was little more than regurgitating old statements, at a time when local businesses are being impacted in a negative way by their road works, the story was nothing more than repeating not addressing complaints.
Yes some £16 millon for road improvements is being spent, these are to mitigate their deliveries and busses keeping traffic moving.
Need for a By-Pass supported by all councils
Heres an important bit, EDFe studied the need for a Bridgwater bypass, that included all councils greatly supporting that need, but decided it was not going to include this in their proposal, EDFe decided it was not in the application and as such not in the final DCO, as ‘it did not fit their timetable’ as it was at that time, hindsight is a wonderful thing, the Secretary of state welcomed the significant levels of mitigation put in place because the bypass option was never included!
The proposals on the table are based on their (EDFe) interpretation of the detailed transport analysis they paid for, but misses some important safety pinch points like Bath road (as reported in a previous Mercury) & Westonzoyland bridges over the railway, why?
Yes the jetty will save 280 HGV movements a day, but the number of movements agreed in the DCO are still insufficient for all their requirements, there is no proposal to reduce freight movements so you have to assume there was not enough in the first place, hence the need for transit points at Huntworth and Dunball that allows smaller loads to be grouped, so even with the jetty most of the HGV movements will be maxed out (upto 500 movements each way, averaged over a quarter with a max of 750 fully loaded HGV’s a day).
The Case for Compensation
Another important bit, during the inspectors investigations many groups argued for the need of compensation packages, during this time EDFe successfully argued that the mitigation they proposed would negate the need for compensation. Hindsight again but we are now seeing traders being expected to take, in some cases an 80% reduction in footfall and income! There is a big difference between compensation for those who can show a financial impact due to the EDFe works and putting up a few signs to mitigate the impact.
I know that all the councils that cover Bridgwater are doing their best to help within the limits of their areas, EDFe are right about lots of money being available, but what they fail to make clear is that most of it is ring fenced and there is NONE for compensation.
Yes doing both junctions at the same time will reduce the works from 41 to 29 weeks duration.
Max Out the Work programme
Come on EDFe, if you care that much about our town, why not get your contractors to max out the work program (include every Saturday you can) to shorten further the program and put in place a compensation package that will stop our businesses suffering, I will continue to say that EDFe need to recognise their work is and will continue to cause a negative financial impact on most of the businesses around the Bristol road / Drove works and MUST put in place a compensation scheme that will help