Hinkley Point C nuclear power station plan gets Government go-ahead
Plans to build a new £14 billion nuclear power station at Hinkley Point have been given the go-ahead by the Government this afternoon.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey has told the House of Commons that consent has been given for the third nuclear reactor on the Somerset coast near Bridgwater.
The Hinkley Point C plan has already been given the green light from the Environment Agency, and permits have been issued for the power station to be built.
Hinkley C is expected to be the first of a fleet of planned new nuclear reactors in the United Kingdom.
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Supporters of the project say the development will create thousands of jobs, for construction workers during the building process and then around 800 jobs operating the power plant over the next 60 years.
But there has been a long and vociferous campaign by anti-nuclear protesters over the safety of nuclear power.
Last October, hundreds attended a weekend rally in Bridgwater to oppose the plans. Click on the link to see our Stop Hinkley protest pictures.
Mr Davey said: “The planning decision to give consent to Hinkley Point follows a rigorous examination from the Planning Inspectorate, and detailed analysis within my Department.
“I am confident that the planning decision I have made is robust, evidence-based, compatible with the Energy National Policy Statements and is in the best interests of the country.
“It’s vital to get investment in new infrastructure to get the economy moving. Low carbon energy projects will bring major investment, supporting jobs and driving growth.
“This planned project adds to a number of new energy projects consented since May 2010, including wind farms and biomass and gas-fired power stations.
“This planned new nuclear power station in Somerset will generate vast amounts of clean energy and enhance our energy security. It will benefit the local economy, through direct employment, the supply chain and the use of local services.”
The Planning Inspectorate’s chief executive, Sir Michael Pitt, said: "This was the largest application to be handled by the Planning Inspectorate under the Planning Act 2008 and required a panel of five examining inspectors who were given the task of considering the evidence put to them by the interested parties.
“A major priority for us over the course of the examination was to ensure that communities who might be affected by this proposal had the opportunity to put forward their views.
“The examination of the application was completed within the timescales prescribed in the Planning Act and a recommendation made to the Energy Secretary. Today’s decision by the Energy Secretary supports that recommendation.”
HINKLEY POINT C REACTION
See below for a video from last October's Stop Hinkley protest in Bridgwater.