Hinkley Point C will make a big contribution to the fight against climate change but we know the construction has an inevitable effect on the local community. We do our best to ensure the benefits outweigh the problems and to minimise the impact of our activities.
Traffic on the roads, noise from construction activities and lots of new people in the area are some of the noticeable impacts. All of them are limited by planning agreements and lengthy negotiations with local authorities. Of course, there are also benefits, including millions of pounds in contracts for local businesses and suppliers, jobs and, training and new skills for hundreds of local people.
To help manage our impact on local roads we are delivering much of the project parts and supplies by sea. We are using a temporary jetty to receive the aggregates which are loaded at Avonmouth after delivery by train. Each ship that arrives takes more than 400 lorries off the road. Our largest and widest loads - such as components for the Tunnel Boring Machines - are also being delivered by sea, using a wharf at nearby Combwich and avoiding the need to travel down the M5 and through the nearby town of Bridgwater.
HGVs delivering to site are capped between 7am and 10am in the morning and between 4pm and 7pm in the evening, ensuring that our deliveries avoid the busiest times of the day.
All of our HGVs are qualified to at least Euro IV standards to reduce emissions and have to follow approved routes and allotted time slots, which are monitored by ANPR cameras along local roads.
Cameras at two of the busiest junctions in Bridgwater show that in peak hour morning traffic, HGVs delivering to the construction site account for less than 10% of the total HGVs on those roads.
Many local people are familiar with the current cap of 750 HGV movements a day being allowed to and from site. What may be less well known is that over the last 3 months the daily average has in fact been just over half of that limit – at 380 movements.
We have also sought to reduce the impact of new workers arriving into the local area, although around half of the current 4,000 workforce are local and travel to site from their own homes.
For those coming to the local area we offer high quality, affordable rooms, with great welfare facilities at purpose-built accommodation at the site itself and in Bridgwater for 1,500 workers.
The local councils have also made good use of our £7.5m housing fund to bring 1,900 new bed spaces onto the market, providing options for local people, as well as workers and tourists.
Similarly, we have sought to avoid becoming a drain on local services, by funding our own on-site health care services and contributing to local police and community safety provision.
As an example, the principle behind our on-site 'Hinkley Health' facility is that any impact of a large number of construction workers should not fall onto local NHS services. Hinkley Health therefore includes access to an on-site GP, specialist treatment nurses and occupational health technicians.
Community concerns at the arrival of lots of construction workers have turned out to be more about perception than reality. Local police figures show that there has not been the jump in crime and disorder that some feared.
Instead, and helped by an HPC funded Community Safety Project Officer and our £20 million Community Fund, we have seen a growing number of examples of where local residents and our workers have joined together to promote community initiatives and sporting events.
There is always more that can be done and we continue to engage positively with the local community to find ways to do things better.
More information on the socio-economic benefits of the project, including some surprising innovations, can be found on our socio-economic hub.
IMAGE: Projects such as Wembdon’s new village Pavilion would not be possible without Hinkley Point C’s £20 million community fund.