Published: July 18, 2013
Hinkley £128m community windfall could benefit Burnham-On-Sea

Burnham-On-Sea community groups could be in line for major cash windfalls in the future after the Department for Energy and Climate Change this week announced £128m of funding for Somerset to offset the development of Hinkley Point C power station.

A package worth £3.2m per year has been offered to communities near the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, including Bridgwater, West Somerset and the Burnham-On-Sea area.

The deal, totalling £128m, will last for 40 years, which is the planned lifetime of Hinkley Point C.

Sedgemoor District Council has "warmly welcomed" the announcement that the government will introduce the community benefits in recognition of the impact that the proposed nuclear facilities will have on those living in the area.

"The money could be used for a range of local projects for those who will not see any direct and tangible benefits themselves, such as facilities for the elderly," council spokeswoman Claire Faun explained to Burnham-On-Sea.com.

"This announcement will mean the local community will be justly compensated for hosting what is a major national infrastructure project, required in order to meet a national need, but where the impacts are felt locally."

"This represents a fair settlement for the community affected and ensures consistency with similar forms of community benefit for onshore wind and shale gas."

She added: "A local impact report has been drawn up to identify the area around Hinkley by drive time that will be impacted by the development and Burnham was included."

Councillor Duncan McGinty, Leader of Sedgemoor District Council, right, also welcomed the announcement.

“Sedgemoor has for years been championing Community Benefit Contributions as an important mechanism to ensure the communities around Hinkley Point receive fair and reasonable benefits in recognition of the burden of hosting nationally beneficial energy infrastructure."

"While we still have to study the package in detail, we are extremely pleased to see this announcement today which will greatly reassure the people of Bridgwater and West Somerset. Community benefits can be a flagship for the principle of localism and the successful delivery of other major infrastructure projects such as new airports, rail links, and other power stations."

"Sedgemoor has worked hard over the past five years to make sure that communities in Sedgemoor will benefit from hosting a new nuclear power station. It is a landmark decision by the government to award the estimated £3.2 million a year to compensate the nearby communities, but it is extremely early days."

"The money is not scheduled to be available until the new power station is built and generating electricity, which is estimated to be up to 10 years hence."

"Nearer that time, it will be for the communities to decide how and upon what to spend the money. At this stage, it would be a little foolhardy to speculate on finer details of who, what, why and when."

But campaigners at Stop Hinkley, pictured below, who are opposed to the development of Hinkley C, say the deal does not go far enough.

Spokesperson Theo Simon told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "This deal, which breaks down to only £3 million a year going to local councils for the next 40 years, is no
compensation at all."

"If EDF get their way in the current price negotiations with the government, we will all be paying a massive extra nuclear tariff on our electricity bills over the same period, and our taxes will be underwriting the whole project by literally billions."

"No one can criticise our councillors for squeezing more money out of central government, but the amounts need to be put in the wider context. Somerset County council has seen budget cuts of £20 million this year under the Tories austerity programme and this is hitting the vulnerable and low paid across the whole of the county. £3 million is really not very much in the overall budget - the County's capital investment programme alone is £38 million for 2013/2014."

"The truth is, this is another example of the kind of paltry social bribes we are being offered to make the nuclear project more palatable. Even then, I see that much of the money will be spent on creating EDF's future workforce through nuclear training programmes."

"At the end of the day, EDF will walk away with billions in profits and our descendants in Somerset will be left to pick up the bill for managing the toxic waste they leave behind."

For about the first 10 years the government money will be made up of business rates retained locally. Cash in the second phase, from 2030-2060, will come directly from the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

The sum has been based on the amount of energy the power station generates - up to 1,000/MW per annum for up to 40 years.

Previously Sedgemoor District Council had been arguing for the funding to be activated during the construction phase but this was rejected by the government in May, although it was recommended by a select committee looking into the issue.

 


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