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19 March 2013

“Huge achievement” follows three year in-depth process

Today’s decision to grant EDF Energy consent to construct a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset represents a huge achievement. It follows three years of in-depth consultation with local communities and a year long examination by the UK Planning Inspectorate.

The approval was met with wide political consensus in the House of Commons today.

The process was an immense undertaking to examine the impact of the construction and operation of the site on the community and environment. It included detailed studies on housing, transport and jobs and demonstrated EDF Energy’s commitment to be open, transparent and to listen.

The submission included 55,000 pages of detailed evidence, more than 100 public meetings and exhibitions, as well as individual responses to 33,000 comments received from the public and stakeholders. Agreement reached during consultation with local communities led to a number of changes to the planning application.

Opportunity now for immediate UK economic growth

The approval is the final major permission needed to allow construction of Hinkley Point C. It is a project which can provide the UK with enough secure low carbon electricity to meet 7% of the country’s needs for 60 years or more.

Today’s decision follows the granting of a Nuclear Site Licence and the approval of the power station’s design (Generic Design Assessment) by the UK nuclear safety authority and the award last week of key environmental permits by the Environment Agency.  

Hinkley Point C also has the potential to give a massive boost to the economy with 25,000 people working on the power station during its construction, and 900 during its lifetime. Its construction can strengthen the UK’s industrial capability, equipping it to compete for business around the world.

The approval by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change also means that Hinkley Point C is the first piece of national infrastructure on this scale to be approved under the new 2008 Planning Act. This rigorous process was achieved in time.

This remarkable achievement now needs to be matched by the finalisation of a contract for the electricity to be produced at Hinkley Point C. Swift success in negotiations with Government over this Contract for Difference is the key to unlocking the investment needed.

EDF Energy Chief Executive Vincent de Rivaz said: “Receiving permission to construct a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C is a huge achievement, which represents years of hard work. It reflects an extraordinary level of professionalism and work from EDF Energy’s planning team, the Planning Inspectorate, local authorities and a wide range of stakeholders.

“This decision sets up a huge opportunity for this project to provide enormous benefits to the UK in jobs, skills, cutting carbon emissions and future energy security. We are ready to deliver and an extensive supply chain is standing by to begin work.

“To make this opportunity a reality, we need to reach agreement swiftly on the Contract for Difference for Hinkley Point C. It must offer a fair and balanced deal for consumers and investors. Intensive discussions with the Government are taking place and agreement is still possible.

“The success of this pioneering project will kick start the new nuclear programme in the UK and is expected to lead to lower costs for successive UK nuclear plants.”

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:

EDF Energy Press Office – 02077522196/ 01452 652233
Gordon Bell, EDF Energy – 01278 654 535
Azhar Khan, Brunswick – 07515 187 420

Notes to Editors

EDF Energy is one of the UK's largest energy companies and the largest producer of low-carbon electricity, producing around one-sixth of the nation's electricity from its nuclear power stations, wind farms, coal and gas power stations and combined heat and power plants. The company supplies gas and electricity to more than 5.5 million business and residential customer accounts and is the biggest supplier of electricity by volume in Great Britain.

EDF Energy's safe and secure operation of its eight existing nuclear power stations at sites across the country makes it the UK's largest generator of low carbon electricity. EDF Energy is also leading the UK's nuclear renaissance and has published plans to build four new nuclear plants, subject to the right investment framework. These new plants could generate enough low carbon electricity for about 40% of Britain's homes. They would make an important contribution to the UK's future needs for clean, secure and affordable energy. The project is already creating business and job opportunities for British companies and workers.

Through Our Sustainability Commitments, EDF Energy has launched one of the biggest environmental and social programmes of any British energy company. In the 2012 Business in the Community Awards for Excellence EDF Energy won the awards for Environmental Leadership and Building Stronger Communities. In addition the company received eight BITC "Big Tick" awards in recognition of responsible business practice and was shortlisted for Responsible Business of the Year

EDF was the official electricity supplier and an official partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The company is also helping its customers and others use energy more sustainably through products and initiatives such as Team Green Britain, real time energy monitoring and electric vehicle research.

EDF Energy is part of EDF Group, one of Europe's largest power companies. The company employs around 15,000 people at locations across the UK.

For more news from EDF Energy please see www.edfenergy.com/media-centre/ . To find out more about the UK's energy challenges look at www.edfenergy.com/energyfuture/