Government Finally gives Green Light to Hinkley

Sedgemoor Labour Leader Mick Lerry welcome Hinkley announcement
Sedgemoor Labour Leader Mick Lerry welcome Hinkley announcement

The Government has finally given the go-ahead for Hinkley C, a much heralded infrastructure project, which claims to bring great benefits, in terms of higher paid employment and training and local economic growth.Trade Unions have negotiated with EDF a covenant that will mean that the minimum hourly rate will be over £20 an hour and new apprenticeships. Many pupils and students now in Bridgwater schools and college, will have greater opportunities in the future to access high paid skilled employment and technical training.

Leader of the Labour Group on Sedgemoor District Council ,Mick Lerry (Bridgwater Victoria) said “The Labour Government in 2005 decided that New Nuclear had a role to play in providing the base-load for the energy needed, due to the increasing demand for electricity, while at the same time reducing the carbon generated by gas, oil and coal. This decision was taken due to climate-change and the present Government should now accelerate the infrastructure programmes, for other forms of renewable energy generation, such as wind, solar and the Bridgwater Bay Lagoon.  As leader of the Labour Group on Sedgemoor District Council. I will be lobbying Government and talking to ministers about community benefit and how the hosting community can access funding during the construction phase of Hinkley C. This funding should then be invested in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects for the local community. It is important for the people of Bridgwater to benefit from the economic growth, as they are the main hosting community, for this major infrastructure project”.

Massive Opportunity

 Cllr Leigh Redman leader of Somerset County Labour group 'heavily involved in developing community mitigation bids'
Cllr Leigh Redman leader of Somerset County Labour group
‘heavily involved in developing community mitigation bids’

County Council Labour  Leader  Leigh Redman (Bridgwater South) commented “Now that the PM has finally made a decision to support the EDFe board and allow this massive opportunity for Bridgwater to proceed and give their approval for Hinkley C the communities around Bridgwater can finally get on with preparing for the massive  influx of traffic and workers.  This project is the biggest national infrastructure development this country has seen, for more than 6 years I have been working along with other councillors on the implementation plans that have already been made. We are going to see massive change over the next few months, more road works as the ‘golden triangle’ (Matalan-Volunteer arms-Wicks) junctions all have HPC funded traffic remodelling work programmed, whilst the starting of the accommodation blocks in the old Cellophane site will see 1000 workers housed in temporary buildings, lorries and busses will increase the movement of workers and materials heading to & from the site.” 

“For months people have been waiting for FID, now after a few false starts your local representatives will be fighting hard for the best and sensible implementation of the program, at the same time millions of pounds will be released for mitigation where needed, you should take time to understand what will be happening near you and how if appropriate your community can benefit from mitigation, this can be through the sports fund in place to provide local resources, or the accommodation fund in place to support possible increase in private landlord rents & reduced availability of bed space, and include a transport fund to repair HPC damage or reduce noise impact on homes. I was heavily involved in the current community impact mitigation bids getting written and approved, giving nearly £500k to Bridgwater town center and Bridgwater south residents for works.”

“We have to generally accept and welcome the FID, the fact that the British government have finally got off the fence, the financial benefit for Bridgwater has to be acknowledged, now the build has been confirmed we can start monitoring and reporting concerns that may arise, HPC should be welcomed for the good it will bring our town, but we should be compensated where necessary for inconvenience or negative impact, I call on HPC to remember the small person and go that extra mile to support those that need it.”

Sedgemoor is ‘Hinkley-Ready’

Tory Leader McGinty says Sedgemoor is 'Hinkley-Ready'
Tory Leader McGinty says Sedgemoor is ‘Hinkley-Ready’

Councillor Duncan McGinty, Conservative  Leader of Sedgemoor District Council had a private meeting with the Prime Minister on Wednesday, 14th September, along with Bridgwater and West Somerset MP, Ian Liddell-Grainger and said “Whilst we await to hear the detail of the decision from Government, Sedgemoor District Council is ‘Hinkley-ready’ and have staff in place to support and implement the project to maximise benefit to local people and businesses as well as minimise impacts.  Hinkley Point C will be the UK’s largest engineering and construction project in modern times. Sedgemoor District Council, together with partners, will continue working towards maximising local benefits but being mindful of the mitigating measures that will be required.   The two local councils of Sedgemoor and West Somerset recognise the very significant responsibility of hosting the first of the UK’s new nuclear power stations and will continue work with both the Government and EDF Energy to ensure that the benefits to their communities are long-lasting.”

Boom Town Bridgwater

Whilst the general reception for Hinkley was favourable, the announcement today had its sceptics

Town Council Leader Brian Smedley "Let's hope Bridgwater becomes the right sort of 'Boom Town'
Town Council Leader Brian Smedley “Let’s hope Bridgwater becomes the right sort of ‘Boom Town’

Cllr Brian Smedley, Labour Leader of Bridgwater Town Council, said “Hinkley is a massively costly way of delivering energy for the nation as a whole and democratic planning matters have been taken out of local hands completely. To that extent we can just live with the result. Locally, however, this should mean an increase in population, a consequent influx of spending power into the area and a period of boom for the town. We hope just in a financial sense.”

Cllr Wes Hinckes (Labour Bridgwater Hamp) said “A government looking to the past in a country that should be looking to its future.”

Cllr Pat Morley (Labour, Bridgwater Westover) said “Jobs, services, accommodation & trade bonanza. Yippee. I still have firm belief that this white elephant will never be completed Yippee but sad face for the waste of energy, careers and lifetime employment involved.”

EDF Statement

Edf put out the following statement;- The UK Government’s decision to proceed with the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset is good news for British consumers and industry.

Site prep
Site prep

Hinkley Point C’s two nuclear reactors will deliver safe, reliable, low carbon nuclear power at a cost competitive with all other future energy options. It will be part of a diverse future energy mix designed to give customers reliable and affordable low carbon energy and help the UK replace its ageing power stations.

The Government has looked at all the component parts of the deal and its decision confirms once again the strength of the project and its benefits to British consumers.

The examination has confirmed the acceptability of all the fundamental elements, including the partnership between EDF and CGN and the fair and balanced agreements which underpin the project.

Hinkley Point should be generating electricity by 2025

The new legal framework for British critical infrastructure will provide a sound basis for the projects at Hinkley Point C, Sizewell C and Bradwell B, as set out in the strategic investment agreement signed by EDF and CGN on October 21, 2015.

EDF intends, as stated in October 2015 and in line with Government’s requirements, to retain a controlling stake in the construction of Hinkley Point C.

EDF intends to sign agreements with the UK Government, its Chinese partner CGN and supply chain partners at the earliest opportunity.

Jean-Bernard Lévy, Chairman of EDF Group said: “The decision of the British Government to proceed with Hinkley Point C marks the relaunch of nuclear in Europe. It demonstrates the UK’s desire to lead the fight against climate change through the development of low carbon electricity. This decision demonstrates confidence in the EPR technology and in the world renowned expertise of the French nuclear industry. I congratulate the teams of EDF who have developed this project to maturity with enthusiasm, professionalism and determination.”

EDF Energy CEO Vincent de Rivaz said: “Today’s announcement is good news for British consumers and gives a huge boost to British industry. We remain fully aligned with the British Government. The solid performance of the EDF Energy’s 15 nuclear reactors underpins our credibility as a nuclear operator and developer in the UK. We will take the risk and responsibility to deliver Hinkley Point C and provide the UK with the reliable low carbon electricity it needs. The experience and expertise gained from restarting new nuclear build in the UK will help following projects be even more competitive”

The project will bring huge benefits to the UK supply chain.  Work to enable the British supply chain to compete for contracts for Hinkley Point C means that EDF now expects 64% of the project’s value to be spent in the UK. This figure has steadily increased as the company worked with British firms to help them succeed in winning contracts. The expectation in October 2013 was for 57%.

Hinkley Point C will deliver thousands of high quality jobs and apprenticeships for people in Somerset and across the UK. A total of almost £4bn will go into the South West regional economy over the lifetime of the project. EDF Energy has already awarded South West contracts worth more than £435m, creating 650 jobs.

British-Chinese co-operation is a key part of the project for better or for worse.
British-Chinese co-operation is a key part of the project for better or for worse.

EDF Energy has worked with its Chinese partner CGN for 30 years. Their skill and experience will bring significant benefits to the HPC project. The first EPR built by CGN and EDF at Taishan in China is successfully undergoing commissioning tests and is scheduled to start operating in the first half next year.

The agreements between EDF and CGN pave the way for the development of Sizewell C in Suffolk and Bradwell B in Essex to a final investment decision, subject to all relevant approvals. The benefits of restarting the new nuclear supply chain and experience from Hinkley Point C is expected to lead to lower costs for following UK nuclear projects.

The first electricity from Hinkley Point C is due to be produced in 2025. Consumers pay nothing until electricity is produced and investors take the risk of constructing the power station on time and budget.

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