Published: March 19, 2013
Hinkley Point C near Burnham-On-Sea gets the government go-ahead

The development of a new £14bn nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point, near Burnham-On-Sea, has been given approval on Tuesday.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey told MPs in the House of Commons that he was granting planning consent for French energy giant EDF to construct Hinkley C.

The proposed power plant will be capable of powering five million homes and will create between 25,000 and 25,000 jobs and 900 permanent jobs once in operation.

Mr Davey said the project was "of crucial national importance". He told the Commons: "The planning decision to give consent to Hinkley Point follows a rigorous examination from the Planning Inspectorate, and detailed analysis within my department."

"This planned project adds to a number of new energy projects consented since May 2010, including wind farms and biomass and gas-fired power stations."

"It will benefit the local economy, through direct employment, the supply chain and the use of local services."

EDF says the project will generate taxes equivalent to a few percentage points of what the entire financial sector yields for the exchequer.

The energy giant is still negotiating with ministers over what it can charge for the electricity Hinkley generates for decades to come.

Environmental groups have reacted angrily to the news, raising concerns over the potentially high price for electricity that the government will agree to in order to get the nuclear plant built, and over the issue of nuclear waste.

Greenpeace's John Sauven said: "It will lock a generation of consumers into higher energy bills, via a strike price that's expected to be double the current price of electricity, and it will distort energy policy by displacing newer, cleaner, cheaper technologies. With companies now saying the price of offshore wind will drop so much it will be on par with nuclear by 2020, there is no rationale for allowing Hinkley C to proceed."

Friends of the Earth's Craig Bennett added: "The only way this plant will be built is if the government hands over a blank cheque from UK taxpayers to French developers, EDF. The most cost-effective way to cut carbon and keep the lights on is a combination of energy efficiency and investing in renewables."


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