Following increased concerns in the community about safety measures taken at Hinkley Point C, EDF has announced further steps to ensure the safety of its remaining critical workers and the community during the Coronavirus pandemic. Recently a range of measures were put in place, including a significant reduction in numbers on site but these failed to satisfy residents and councillors and Press coverage including an item on the TV news focused on the shortcomings which included perceived failure to maintain social distancing at work, in the canteen and on buses .
Bridgwater Labour Councillor Leigh Redman (Labour Hamp) says “I am pleased that HPC have taken further steps to protect their staff, as well as increasing spacing on site & in transit, our concerns were around the potential impacts of staff traveling home at weekends then living the week in town, with journeys in some cases as far as Scotland, ramping up the use of their campuses and consequently reducing transient staff in town must be a good thing. I think I understand some of the reason the site is staying open, the need to ensure the nuclear concrete pour is as continuous as possible is just one reason, once complete I do hope for staff and residents the onsite staff can be further reduced through furloughing. It is important to recognise that HPC have listened to our concerns. I am nevertheless concerned that the removal of all the Bridgwater stops could be counterintuitive, many residents who work on site don’t have cars, so will have to find a way to one of the secure parks.”
However, further concerns came from local landlords where Point workers have been staying including Ms Yolanda Bentham who spoke out about the regular travel to and from London by tenants saying “The problem is that London is the epicentre of this virus and if people are travelling up and down and going into homes and shops then the concerns are they’re bringing the virus with them”
EDF say that their new measures will help to limit contact between the site and the local community.
- Site workers using local accommodation will now be housed at Hinkley Point C’s two Campus sites
- Bus pick-up stops used by HPC workers in Bridgwater will no longer be used from Monday. All buses will instead collect and return passengers to our three secure park and ride locations where social distancing measures are being supervised. Pick-ups from village locations outside Bridgwater will be phased out as quickly as possible.
Meanwhile existing measures remain in place:
· Reduction of numbers from more than 4,000 to around 2,000 workers, allowing us to better enforce social distancing
· Body temperature checks at site gates, plus thermal imaging cameras being installed
· Extra buses to reduce the number of workers using each bus
· Enhanced cleaning of buses, canteens, building handrails, door handles, desks, eating areas, welfare facilities and toilets.
· Floor markers and changes to seating to distance canteen users from each other
· Meeting rooms converted to additional areas available for breaks to give extra space
Hinkley Point C Delivery Director Nigel Cann, said: “The safety of the community we operate in and our remaining workers on site is of paramount importance.”