HERE is how Burnham and Highbridge’s MP, LibDem Tessa Munt, and the man hoping to replace her at the next general election, Tory James Heappey, have reacted to this week’s agreement between the Government and EDF Energy over a ‘strike price’ for Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.
Tessa Munt: “This is a huge project, estimated to cost £16bn, and French Government-backed EDF has promised 25,000 jobs over its lifetime. If handled properly, these jobs will be good for Somerset, and the project has the potential to provide a huge boost to the region’s economy.
“It is no secret that I have deep-seated reservations about nuclear power generation. My main concern has always been that no long-term plan exists to deal with the last 60 years’ waste, let alone the next 60 years.
“However, yesterday's news makes it abundantly clear that Hinkley C will go ahead, so my focus now turns to ensuring local people and businesses get the best possible benefit and those who have concerns over the environmental and safety aspects get answers.
“With my ‘business hat’ on, I will continue to seek guarantees that Treasury Ministers will ensure French and Chinese investment benefits local residents and contributes to the region’s economy, not just their own. “I have already met with Treasury Ministers about this, and have been invited back for another meeting on November 4.”
James Heappey: “This is such good news for Somerset. The Hinkley project had been stalling for a while – not least because of the Lib Dems’ prevarication over public subsidies for nuclear energy - and so it is a relief to now see the investment secured and the promise of thousands of new jobs for local people in the Burnham area and beyond.
“Not only will this provide thousands of jobs but also a clean source of home-grown energy and a reduction of bills for hardworking people by £75 a year by 2030.’ “The massive investment that comes with Hinkley is great news for our area but the pylons that connect it to Avonmouth continue to be a real threat.
“The consultation period is nearing its end and so I urge people to send back their comments to National Grid and to write to Energy Secretary Ed Davey to demand that something is done about these awful pylons.
“We need Hinkley Point but the connection to the rest of our electricity infrastructure must go underground or, much better still, under the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary.
“Bridgwater College will provide the station with the highly skilled staff it will need in the future, meaning there are some great opportunities for young people living locally.
“Hinkley C will provide jobs and economic stability in the area for generations to come. Everyone involved in this project realises its importance to the people of our part of Somerset.”