Published: October 12, 2010
Support for new Hinkley plan outnumbers opposition, says poll

Nearly four times as many local people support plans for a new power station at Hinkley Point than oppose it, according to a new survey by independent research company ICM published today (Tuesday).

85 per cent of people living within approximately 25 miles of Hinkley Point say that the project is important for local jobs and nearly two thirds (63 per cent) say that it is important for the future of businesses in the area. 86% of people living in Sedgemoor say the project is important for jobs in their area.

The results of the poll have been published as developer EDF Energy announced that 2,600 people have taken part in its consultation on plans for Hinkley Point C, which closed this week. The company is now reviewing all the responses as it develops its formal planning application.

According to the poll of 1,002 people living within Sedgemoor, Taunton Deane and West Somerset and within approximately 25 miles of the site, 63% support the development of Hinkley Point C, and within 10 miles, the figure is 66%. Only 17% said that they were opposed to a new power station.

Rupert Cox, chief executive of Somerset Chamber of Commerce, claims the findings back up local business support for a new power station. "The results of the poll demonstrate the strength of feeling that Hinkley Point C is vital to local jobs and businesses, and will have a major economic benefit for the community. The strong message that local businesses have been giving me is that we need to seize the employment and investment opportunities that Hinkley Point C offers Somerset."

EDF Energy said it is "encouraged" by the level of public response, however, its comments come despite three Somerset councils criticising the proposals, saying there was a lack of information and that the plan was "inadequate" in its current form.

David Hall, cabinet member for economic development at Somerset County Council, said: "There's more of a feeling of distrust in the community, and EDF need to overcome that if they're going to get everyone back onside. They've spent a considerable amount of time talking, but what I think EDF should bear in mind is that quantity doesn't necessarily mean quality."

"The proposals lack evidence and justification in many key areas and that's disappointing considering the amount of time that we have already spent commenting on the Stage 1 proposals. It also means we have been limited in the amount of in-depth feedback we can provide on the Stage 2 plans."

During the consultation period, a total of 13 public exhibitions were held, together with 5 workplace exhibitions, 5 stakeholder workshops, 4 focus groups, a tourist survey and over 40 other stakeholder meetings.


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