Ten steps to a greener future

The UK Government’s ‘Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution’ looks to invest in a more sustainable future for us all. At Hinkley Point C and within its host communities, there’s some great work already under way.   

Published last year, the Government’s ‘Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution’ sets out a far-reaching agenda. The plan will mobilise £12 billion of government investment, and potentially three times as much from the private sector, to create up to 250,000 green jobs. 

From offshore wind and nuclear power to electric vehicles, eco homes and looking after the environment, the plan touches a wide range of topics – and there’s plenty going on at Hinkley Point C and in our local area that mirrors its goal of a greener future.

Nuclear power

Hinkley Point C is the first in a new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK that will provide low-carbon electricity for around six million homes. That’s 7% of the UK’s electricity demand.

Marking a significant milestone in the revitalisation of our nuclear power industry, Hinkley Point C will make a major contribution to the UK’s move to reduce carbon emissions. The electricity generated by its two reactors will offset nine million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year over its 60-year lifespan. That’s equivalent to taking nearly four million cars off the road annually.

Electric vehicles

Somerset West and Taunton Council is planning to install electric vehicle (EV) charging points in Taunton through an innovative trial project called DC Share. The project is trialling new technology that harnesses spare capacity in local substations to power EV chargers quickly – and at a lower cost for consumers.

Councillor Peter Pilkington, Lead Member for Climate Change at Somerset West and Taunton Council said: “We’re delighted to host this ground-breaking low carbon energy trial, bringing essential EV charging infrastructure to the local residents of Taunton.

“This complements SWT initiatives across the wider district such as our rural electric vehicle charging point fund for parish and town councils. Encouraging and enabling the use of electric vehicles is an important part of working towards making the council and the area as a whole carbon neutral by 2030.”

The council’s Carbon Neutrality and Climate Resilience action plan includes an e-scooter trial, offering a green alternative to using petrol or diesel cars for shorter journeys. The rental scheme has some 6,000 registered scooter users who have racked up more than 30,000 miles since the end of October 2020. Originally launched in Taunton, the scheme has been extended to include the surrounding districts of Monkton Heathfield and Bathpool.

Public transport, cycling and walking

The Bridgwater Way, funded by Hinkley Point C, hosted a workplace challenge last year which resulted in nearly 14,500 journeys using sustainable means of transport, such as walking, car share and public transport. It saved over 5,000kg of CO2 emissions alone.

In September 2020, Somerset County Council announced it will be spending £1.5 million on cycle-friendly schemes over the coming months, including red surfacing on some of Taunton’s cycle lanes, widening and resurfacing the cycle routes between Minehead and Carhampton, and improving the footpath between Minehead and Williton. 

As part of the Firepool regeneration being spearheaded by Somerset West and Taunton Council, a new pedestrian and cycle link is being created between the site and Taunton train station.

Green homes

Bridgwater residents have begun to benefit from new factory-built homes constructed on the town's former cattle market. More than 40 of the properties on the site are modular – meaning they were constructed in pieces in a factory off-site, transported to Bridgwater and then assembled. 

The eco-friendly properties have relatively low running costs. Resident Laura Rubery told Somerset Live: “My home is always warm. We haven’t needed our heating on for a lot of the winter because these homes are so energy efficient."

Somerset West and Taunton Council is to build up to 50 zero-carbon homes, with onsite renewable heat and energy and high levels of insulation. The Zero Carbon Affordable Homes pilot scheme will provide a blueprint for future initiatives in the region.

Councillor Fran Smith, Executive Member for Housing, said: “This approach adopted by the Council is very ambitious, reflecting our commitment to creating new sustainable developments with a mix of modern, energy-efficient homes.”

Nature

As part of Hinkley Point C’s work to create habitats and public recreation space, the site has planted over 65,000 trees and shrubs to date. Like all plants, trees take carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen. They also help the soil capture significant amounts of carbon too.

In a project spearheaded by Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group South West and Reimagining the Levels, Somerset will benefit from nearly 30,000 new trees planted during 2021 to reduce flood risk and improve river quality. 

Funding for the new trees comes from a £1.4 million Environment Agency fund, called 'Woodlands for Water', that will see more than 850,000 trees planted across England.

Reimagining the Levels is a group of people active in a range of community-based organisations and businesses in the Somerset Levels area. They promote a joined-up approach to the whole community taking action to protect a fragile and vulnerable environment.

Get involved

The initiatives described all aim to make a difference as we strive towards a greener society. And while businesses and government need to lead the way, we can all play our part in helping restore nature and reduce the carbon footprint of where we live.

What’s included in the Ten Point Plan?

  1. Offshore wind: Producing enough offshore wind to power every home.

  2. Hydrogen: Generating low carbon hydrogen for industry, transport, power and homes.

  3. Nuclear: Advancing nuclear as a clean energy source, and developing the next generation of small and advanced reactors.

  4. Electric vehicles: Accelerating the transition to electric vehicles, and transforming our national infrastructure to support them.

  5. Public transport, cycling and walking: Making cycling and walking more attractive ways to travel and investing in zero-emission public transport.

  6. Jet Zero and greener maritime: Supporting difficult-to-decarbonise industries to become greener through research projects for zero-emission planes and ships.

  7. Homes and public buildings: Making our homes, schools and hospitals greener, warmer and more energy efficient.

  8. Carbon capture: Becoming a world-leader in technology to capture and store harmful emissions away from the atmosphere.

  9. Nature: Protecting and restoring our natural environment, planting 30,000 hectares of trees every year.

  10. Innovation and finance: Developing the cutting-edge technologies needed to reach these new energy ambitions.