September 30, 2016
'Our district is ready for Hinkley building work to begin' - council leader

Sedgemoor District Council's leader has said the area is ready for a "huge increase in investment, jobs and attention" following the government's signing of an £18bn contract on Thursday with France and China to build the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station near Burnham-On-Sea.

The deal was finalised at a low-key ceremony in London on Thursday, pictured, just two months after Theresa May alarmed her French and Chinese counterparts by initially putting the entire project under review.

The Leader of Sedgemoor District Council, Cllr Duncan McGinty, said that the district stands ready as construction is finally to get underway.

"It has been quite a journey to get to this stage and we are delighted that the ink is now dry on these agreements between the energy companies, their governments and ours which will allow the next stage of this project to begin. It is so important for the economy of our district, the South West and the rest of the UK."

Representing Cllr McGinty and Sedgemoor at the signing, Cllr Anne Fraser, portfolio holder for Economic Growth, added: "It has been a privilege to be present for such a significant event for us and this project. We know it will make such a difference to the lives of so many people in our communities who are already feeling the benefit of this investment and who are looking forward to the further opportunities it will bring."

"It will give us cause to be proud of what we have achieved together progressing the project to this 'Hinkley Ready' stage and give all parties added impetus to see this piece of infrastructure delivered on time, on budget and on Somerset soil."

Councillor David Hall, Deputy Leader of Somerset County Council, described it as 'the news we have all been waiting for.'

He added: "A tremendous amount of work has been happening behind the scenes to be sure that we are ready for this very moment. We are committed to continue working together with Government, EDF and partners to see this development delivered as soon as possible and to fully realise the opportunities presented by the project to transform the local and regional economy."

Leader of the Council, John Osman, added: "Today’s contract signing is the point of no return on this extremely important project. Hinkley Point C is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our businesses, young people and the county as a whole."

During construction alone, the project is expected to bring £200 million to the local economy. Over the lifetime of the project, the regional economy is set to benefit by around £4 billion. It is hoped the development will kick-start a national nuclear renaissance and will be the catalyst for economic growth in Somerset and the wider South West region.

EDF, the French nuclear contractor, and its Chinese partners had to cancel their previous plans for a signing ceremony at the last minute when the review was announced in July. The project finally got approval this month, after Greg Clark, the business secretary, announced there would be some new restrictions on future investments in critical infrastructure if there were national security concerns.

Pictured: Top, Business secretary Greg Clark attended the signing ceremony on behalf of the UK, alongside Jean-Bernard Lévy, the chairman of EDF, and He Yu, chair of China General Nuclear


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