Sedgemoor District Council has this week said it is ‘disappointed’ that there will be no community benefits on offer during the construction period of new nuclear plants such as Hinkley Point C near Burnham.

It comes after the Department for Energy and Climate Change re-iterated its commitment to introducing community benefits as a way to build trust amongst those living near existing or proposed nuclear facilities, such as Hinkley C.

Responding to the Energy and Climate Change Committee’s report on ‘Building New Nuclear: The Challenges Ahead’, the government said it is currently finalising the proposals for a community benefits package for sites that host new nuclear power stations. Details of the package will be issued “shortly.”

However, the Government has rejected the Committee’s call to consider whether it could be “possible to provide any additional forms of community benefit during the construction period (beyond the compensatory measures already agreed to in any Section 106 deal).”

Benefit during the construction period, the Government states, “would be contrary to the Government’s no subsidy policy to provide additional funds for this purpose,” despite the fact that power stations take a long time to build and therefore have the potential to cause considerable disruption to local communities for an extended period of time.

Cllr Duncan McGinty, Leader of Sedgemoor District Council, told “Sedgemoor has long championed 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.”

“We are extremely pleased to see the Government’s commitment to introduce community benefit. We have been given assurances by Ministers and Government officials that the package will be announced in the next few weeks and we look forward to seeing the detail of this.”

“However, we are disappointed that the Government does not support a form of community benefit during the construction period. We endorse the Committee’s original conclusion that this would be entirely appropriate and we will continue to push the Government on this point to ensure the best deal possible for Sedgemoor residents.”

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