Support for new power station plan outnumbers opposition by around 4 to 1 according to independent poll
85% of local people say Hinkley Point C is important for local jobs
Nearly four times as many local people support plans for a new power station at Hinkley Point than oppose it, according to a new survey by independent research company ICM1.
In addition 85% of people living within approximately 25 miles of Hinkley Point say that the project is important for local jobs and nearly two thirds (63%) that it is important for the future of businesses in the area. 86% of people living in Sedgemoor and 80% of people living in West Somerset say the project is important for jobs in their area.
The results of the poll are published as developer EDF Energy announced that 2,600 people have taken part in its consultation on plans for Hinkley Point C, which closed this week. The company is carefully reviewing all the responses as it develops its formal planning application.
According to the poll of 1,002 people living within Sedgemoor, Taunton Deane and West Somerset and within approximately 25 miles of the site, 63% support the development of Hinkley Point C, and within 10 miles, the figure is 66%. Only 17% said that they were opposed to a new power station.2
More than three quarters of local people believe that the country needs nuclear power as part of the energy mix. 77% of those surveyed support nuclear power as part of the balance with coal, gas and wind power. Just 14% of people disagree.
Rupert Cox, chief executive of Somerset Chamber of Commerce, said that the findings backed up local business support for a new power station:
“The results of the poll demonstrate the strength of feeling that Hinkley Point C is vital to local jobs and businesses, and will have a major economic benefit for the community. The strong message that local businesses have been giving me is that we need to seize the employment and investment opportunities that Hinkley Point C offers Somerset.
“I’m delighted to see that the general public locally also support that view. We all need to work together to make sure the economic boost is fully realised.”
The poll was carried out separately to EDF Energy’s 12 week Stage 2 consultation for Hinkley Point C which began on 9 July and closed on 4 October 2010.
EDF Energy said that is encouraged by the level of public response to this second stage of consultation, with over 2,600 people engaging in the process.
During the consultation period, a total of 13 public exhibitions were held, together with 5 workplace exhibitions, 5 stakeholder workshops, 4 focus groups targeting ‘hard to reach’ groups, a tourist survey and over 40 other stakeholder meetings.
The exhibitions were well attended, with more than 1,700 people viewing the plans at venues across Somerset. As well as the public events, the consultation was also available to participate online, at the company’s King Square offices and via a freephone number and freepost address.
Views were canvassed on plans for the main power station development at Hinkley Point, along with proposals for infrastructure away from the main site necessary to support the construction and operation of the power station.
Richard Mayson, EDF Energy’s Director of Planning and External Affairs for Nuclear New Build, said:
"We want to thank all those who have taken part throughout the 12 weeks of our Stage 2 consultation. The views of local people are very important to us and it is encouraging to see the level of participation and interest in our plans.”
"Hinkley Point C will provide safe, affordable and low-carbon power. The latest local opinion survey shows that there is significant local support and recognition of the benefits the plant will bring. It will inject £100 million per year to the local economy during construction and £40 million per year during operation, as well as creating 900 permanent jobs. We know from our survey that these are some of the issues which matter most to local people.
"We will now review very carefully all the comments we have received on our plans. We already made a number of changes to our proposals following the first stage of our consultation and we remain committed to keeping this dialogue open.
“We will continue to work together with the local authorities and communities to maximise the benefits to the local area and to limit any adverse affects as far as possible and have committed to provide full details in the development consent order we will submit. There will of course be further opportunities for people to comment during the IPC application process."*
Two new generating units at Hinkley Point C would be capable of supplying enough electricity for around five million homes and at the peak of construction provide around 5,000 jobs on-site and more in the supply chain. Once operational, the new power station would support around 900 permanent direct jobs as well as many more indirect jobs.
Notes to editors:
*IPC application process and the public
EDF Energy is currently evaluating the excellent response to its stage 2 consultation, before preparing an application to the Infrastructure Planning Commission regarding new nuclear development at Hinkley Point.
Should the application be accepted by the IPC for examination, EDF Energy will publicise this fact in a number of ways such as through placing notices in a local newspaper and a national newspaper and through its own project website.
The IPC will also help to ensure that people have the information they need to take part fully in the IPC process. If an application is accepted, they will circulate information locally to ensure that people know how to contact the IPC, how to register and how and when to have their say on the project. Information about the status of the project will also be available on the IPC website, including details of how to register at www.independent.gov.uk/infrastructure
Following acceptance of the application, individuals would need to register with the IPC to have their say. Those who wish to register will be given at least 28 days to do so.
Those registering will have the opportunity to take part in the examination process and to have their say to the IPC in writing attend and speak at the preliminary meeting request an open floor hearing speak at a public hearing In making the decision or a recommendation to the Secretary of State, the IPC will weigh all the evidence, including the views of members of the public.
ICM interviewed a representative sample of 1,002 adults aged 18+ living in Sedgemoor, Taunton Deane and West Somerset. Fieldwork was carried out by telephone, between 24th and 28th September 2010, and data has been weighted to the profile of the population.
2A further 18% said that they were neither in favour nor against and 2% did not know. (A net positive of +45%).
Hinkley Point survey charts: Hinkley Point Survey Charts October 2010