With today’s announcement from the secretary of state granting the Development consent order (DCO) giving the green light to EDF allowing construction of Hinkley point C,Labour Town & District Councillor Leigh Redman, who is the Party’s candidate for the County seat of Bridgwater South, welcomed the news but with it outlined the work that now needs to be done.
Cllr Redman said “ It is important that Bridgwater residents are involved fully in all aspects. Life for Bridgwater is about to change with an influx of hundreds of workers. The construction traffic will be starting to increase on the already busy road network and firms will be looking for sites to house their operations for the construction project. The largest national infrastructure development this country has ever seen will start to ramp up on our door step. Now more than ever will the need for local representation be top of the agenda for any elected official to ensure that Bridgwater is kept at the top of any list for fair and reasonable mitigation. We need to monitor closely any increase in local rents, increases in traffic congestion and all aspects of this project to ensure that EDF honours its pledges!”
‘Bridgwater Residents need to be at the forefront’
Leigh who worked extensively during the negotiation stages of the DCO ensuring Bridgwater was adequately represented, helped to win improvements to the DCO by speaking during the open floor hearings of the planning inspectorate and submitting many letters of comment. He added “For some time now EDF’s contractors have been waiting at the starting line, from today they will be looking to meet their targets and we must be aware that both the preparation and main stages of the works are covered by specific agreements, these allow for ‘mitigating the intangible & residual impacts of the project’ covering areas that include Transport, accommodation, economic development, leisure, skills and training etc all of which will need to be monitored and Bridgwater residents need to be at the forefront, being the body of people most likely to be impacted by the development.”
The development will take between 7-10 years, could cost some 14 Billion pounds and Leigh believes it is important that we start to monitor and prepare for the up shift in work and feedback issues early that will allow local representatives to highlight & challenge EDF to mitigate any impact.
‘Bridgwater and Somerset must benefit from the development’
Leigh Redman was the first councillor to draw the inspectors attention to the possible loss of pitches at Bridgwater Sports and social club, which resulted in EDF honouring the North East Bridgwater section 106 agreement, thereby funding the new pitches at Kings Down with fully funded transitional arrangements ensuring continuity of football for the teams that used the sports and social club ground. “It is accepted that there will be an impact on our life’s and I want to ensure that should this be in a negative way then EDF as the responsible body does everything within their power to mitigate it. Bridgwater and the greater community that is Somerset must benefit from the development with greater employment prospects, higher wages, the associated benefit from the cash injection for shops, local businesses and communities are all opportunities that should be grasped to ensure all economic, social, housing, leisure and educational improvements are maximised.”