EDF Energy has nominated an area of land next to the existing Hinkley Point nuclear power stations for the development of Hinkley Point C, a power station comprising two new latest-generation nuclear reactors. In July 2011 the UK Government’s national policy statement for nuclear power generation was ratified by Parliament and confirmed that the site is potentially suitable. The two proposed reactors will be capable of supplying electricity to around five million homes.
Hinkley Point is situated on the Severn Estuary, approximately five miles from Bridgwater and the M5 to the south, 15 miles from Minehead in the west and roughly six miles from Burnham-on-Sea.
Consulting the public
Since 2009 EDF Energy has been consulting local people on plans for the main power station development at Hinkley Point. EDF Energy has also consulted on proposals for the infrastructure necessary to support the construction and operation of the power station, such as park and ride facilities and accommodation for construction workers. Engagement continues with the local community. There is significant local support from the community living in the area around the site for the development of Hinkley Point C.
In November 2011, the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) confirmed that EDF Energy’s application for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point has been accepted and will now be taken forward for examination. Now that the application has been accepted, EDF Energy will publish notices in local and national newspapers to explain how and when to register interest in the application and make formal representations to the IPC. The examination and decision making process is expected to take about a year.
The Hinkley Point C site includes part of the Hinkley Point County Wildlife Site. The new plant has been designed in such a way that areas of botanically interesting reed beds, rich scrub and coastal grassland can be retained. A mosaic of new habitats is planned, leaving a hedgerow running through the site so birds and bats can travel across it.
In parallel with EDF Energy's application to the IPC, the company has also submitted planning applications for preliminary works to:
- West Somerset Council for site preparation works, including securing the site with a fence, clearing vegetation, building access roads, installing utility connections and terracing the site to make it ready for the main excavations
- the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) for a temporary jetty to enable materials to be unloaded in bulk.
Approval has now been obtained for the site preparation works and a decision from the MMO is expected before the end of 2011.
The development at Hinkley Point is expected to provide a range of benefits, as well as providing low-carbon, affordable electricity for millions of homes. Measures to promote community well-being, education, employment and skills will be included within the proposals for development. If planning is approved, the project is expected to provide around 700 permanent and 200 contract positions for more than 60 years, and will provide work for thousands of people directly and indirectly during the construction period.