The company has signed an agreement with West Somerset Council and a local landowner which will see the energy company providing £30 million to mitigate the impacts of the works to prepare the site for the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.
The site preparation works will include fencing, drainage, excavation and earthworks. West Somerset Council resolved to grant planning permission on 28 July 2011, subject to this legal agreement and a number of planning conditions.
The programme of work has been carefully planned to keep disruption to local communities to a minimum.
Up to 150 new local jobs will be created as part of a contract signed with construction firm Kier Bam who will undertake the preparatory works. Work is expected to start in February, building up to the earthworks later this year.
The funding will pay for a wide range of measures for Somerset residents including:
• A £4million fund for housing and the creation of an accommodation office to provide a service to local people and businesses who wish to offer accommodation to the future construction workforce
• £2 million to bolster local leisure facilities, with Cannington, Stogursey and Bridgwater each earmarked to receive £500,000
• Over £4 million to support local skills and training
• Over £1.8 million to support services provided by the local authorities
• Transport improvements at Washford Cross and Sandford Hill roundabouts, the junction of A39/A38 Taunton Road and traffic calming measures in Cannington.
• Over £1.8 million to improve community safety
• £7.2 million for Community Impact Mitigation, including £500,000 each for Stogursey, the parish closest to the site, and Cannington, £1 million for Sedgemoor District and £2 million for West Somerset District
• £250,000 to create ecology habitat
• Over £600,000 to support economic development
• £300,000 to provide educational resources and inspire interest in science and technology
• £60,000 to support local health services
• £450,000 to mitigate any impact on local archaeology
• £610,000 to pay for landscape and visual improvements near the construction site
• £700,000 to support local tourism
EDF Energy will set aside a separate fund to ensure that the site can be reinstated in the event that full planning permission is not granted for the power station.
Richard Mayson, EDF Energy’s Director of Planning and External Affairs for Nuclear New Build, said:
“This is a landmark deal for the people of Somerset. We are proud to be part of the local community and conscious of our responsibilities. The planned power station at Hinkley Point C is a project of national significance and will provide low carbon electricity for 5 million homes.
“We are very aware of the impacts the preparatory works will have on the local area, so we have worked very hard with the local authority to identify and mitigate the impacts and bring forward improvements to local services and facilities for residents in West Somerset and beyond. We are aware of our responsibilities and the Councils also have a duty to ensure that the funding is effectively deployed to achieve the desired effect.”
The planning permission for the preparatory work was granted by West Somerset Council in advance of EDF Energy applying last October for a Development Consent Order for the new station. The DCO application will be examined by the Infrastructure Planning Commission over the coming months.
The mitigation spend in relation to the DCO application exceeds £500 million, including investment in services and transport infrastructure that will leave a lasting benefit for the community.
In addition, independent research shows that the Hinkley Point C project will inject £100 million per year into the local economy during peak construction and £40 million a year during its 60-year operation.