Published: January 23, 2012
Councils raise fears over Hinkley Point tourism and transport impacts

Concerns with transport, tourism and accommodation are just some areas that need to be improved in EDF Energy’s planning application for a new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point C near Burnham-On-Sea.

That's the view of Somerset County Council as a deadline to respond to the detailed planning application passed on Monday (January 23rd).

The County Council and Sedgemoor District Councill have submitted their views to the decision making body – the Infrastructure Planning Commission - setting out its main areas of concern.

Cllr David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, told "EDF have taken significant steps in the right direction on a number of matters, for example, how they will work with our schools to inspire young people to take up science and engineering, and strategies to introduce new jobs into the County. There is still however more work for them to do, especially in terms of highways and transport solutions."

"We continue to support the opportunities Hinkley Point C may bring to the area, but we are disappointed that there are still some significant gaps in the information provided."

The County Council’s submission highlighted issues with transport – particularly the potential impacts of construction traffic, highways improvements in Bridgwater, potential traffic delays and road safety concerns.

The council is also concerned about the economy and the risk of a ‘boom and bust’ scenario during and after construction, plus the potential impact the development may have on other businesses, investors and potential visitors to the area. Comments have also been made on topics such as community well being, waste and environmental matters.

Sedgemoor District Council leader Duncan McGinty added that the council’s initial representations to the IPC were intended to indicate the issues it would like to see examined and discussed in greater depth and so naturally focused on the areas still causing concern among communities and their representatives.

"We are working closely with colleagues at West Somerset and County Council as we will be submitting a Joint Local Impact Report later in the process but these initial observations are written from a Sedgemoor perspective," he said on Monday.

Cllr Hall added: "We remain committed to working with our district council colleagues and EDF to ensure that we achieve the best possible outcomes for the residents, businesses and environment of Somerset. This project is a great opportunity and we must all work together in ensuring the very best results for the County."

The next step in the project will be for the IPC to hold a preliminary meeting, setting out how the examination process will work. The date of this meeting is to be confirmed.

To view Somerset County Council’s relevant representation submission to the IPC, click here.


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