Council leaders welcome Hinkley Point deal news

Somerset County Council and Sedgemoor District Council have welcomed the news that EDF Energy has reached a deal with its Chinese partner China General Nuclear Corporation (CGN) for a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point.

The two companies have signed a Strategic Investment Agreement, and as part of the deal, EDF will take a 66.5 per cent stake in the new plant with CGN taking 33.5 per cent. 

The agreement was announced at a news conference by Prime Minister David Cameron and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The UK Government has also announced it has finalised the details of the Contract for Difference with EDF for Hinkley Point.

“We are massively encouraged by what we see today," said Somerset County Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Business, Cllr David Hall.

"It's a clear commitment from both parties to move this £18bn, once in a generation project forward.

“We have worked closely with Government, educational and private businesses locally, regionally and nationally to get to this point and we are looking forward to the lasting legacy the development is set to bring.

"The development presents a massive opportunity for Somerset and the South West region. Hinkley Point C is expected to provide 25,000 jobs during construction 900 jobs in its planned 60 year operating life with at least 5,000 people from Somerset expected to work directly on the project - an immeasurable benefit for the local economy.”

The Leader of Sedgemoor District Council, Councillor Duncan McGinty, added: "We welcome the announcement which represents significant progress for Hinkley Point C which will be the UK's largest engineering and construction project in modern times. 

“Sedgemoor District Council, together with partners, will continue working towards maximising local benefits but being mindful of the mitigating measures that will be required. The two local councils of Sedgemoor and West Somerset recognise the responsibility of hosting the resurgence of the UK's nuclear industry and will continue work with both the Government and EDF Energy to ensure that the benefits to their communities are long-lasting.”

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues