Business leaders comment on Hinkley Point deal
Hinkley Point C – the first new nuclear power plant to be built for 20 years – has received final investment approval from EDF.
However, plans have suffered an unexpected delay after the government announced it is postponing a final decision until the early autumn.
Business leaders share their thoughts on Hinkley Point and the impact it will have on the local region.
Jeremy Richards, head of property consultancy JLL in Bristol:
“Hinkley Point C, Europe’s largest infrastructure project and the first nuclear power station to be built in Britain for a generation, will have far-reaching impacts on the regional economy, creating hundreds of jobs and bringing in billions of pounds of investment.
“It will deliver a major boost to the construction sector; will spark increased demand for commercial property space from suppliers, contractors and sub-contractors involved in the project; and will benefit an array of businesses sectors that will be called upon to supply goods and services for its delivery.
“There is no doubt that the Hinkley project poses challenges too, for example pressures on an already stretched labour supply in the construction sector. But we expect that the sheer scale of the project to offer the reassurance the sector needs to invest in recruitment, encourage workers back into the industry and relocate experienced staff into the area.”
Stephen Robertson, Chair of the West of England LEP:
“The decision from EDF regarding Hinkley Point C is really good news for local people – the £18billion investment is set to create 25,000 new jobs, 1,000 apprenticeships and pump £100m a year into the regional economy.
“We understand the need for the Government to undertake the necessary due diligence around the decision but urge them to make a decision quickly, as many local companies in the supply chain are already gearing up to maximise opportunities for business and job investment.”
Matt Burley, Chair of NSW Industry Network Board:
“The future of the nuclear industry in the south west and the scale of financial opportunity that could be unlocked for businesses of different sizes and sectors is enormous.
“I am absolutely delighted that EDF has agreed a Final Investment Decision that allows the Hinkley Point C project to go ahead. This decision clears the way for a huge multi-year nuclear reactor build programme and up to 60 years of large scale electrical power production which will affect every one of the 18,000 business in the South West, either directly or indirectly.
“This is a fantastic day for the nuclear industry, for the UK and France, for EDF and her Chinese Investment Partners, and for the South West.”
Dale Edwards, Chief Executive of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce:
“The unexpected announcement regarding a government review will no doubt be very frustrating for the many businesses that have been awaiting the green light from EDF.
“However, we were very much encouraged by the fact that EDF’s long-awaited final investment decision demonstrates a significant vote of confidence in the local, regional and national supply chain being ready, willing and able to deliver this major infrastructure project. We remain positive that the project will go ahead.
“This is a huge opportunity – it is likely to be the biggest construction project in Europe – and having a little more time for suppliers to ensure they are fully prepared is no bad thing, as well as potentially giving more local firms an opportunity to get involved in the supply chain activity.
“Already we have five local supplier groups announced as preferred bidders for contracts with a value of around £225million, involving over 20 local and regional businesses. Contracts to the value of £50million have already been awarded and are being delivered by almost 200 suppliers in Somerset, with another £58million worth of contracts currently with suppliers across the South West, so the economic benefits for the region are already being realised.”
Cllr Duncan McGinty, Leader of Sedgemoor District Council:
“The Government’s surprise announcement last night was an unexpected development and Sedgemoor District Council can only wait and press our local MP’s to pursue for a speedy resolution.”