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Report reveals supporters' fears over Hinkley
11:30am Tuesday 8th May 2012 in Bridgwater Area News
A NEW nuclear power station at Hinkley Point could lead to increased traffic and hit tourism in the area, according to a report released by supporters of the plans.
The Local Impact Report says the development's economic benefits could ‘leak out of the county’ and result in limited job opportunities for residents.
The concerns were raised jointly by the Somerset County Council, Sedgemoor District Council and West Somerset Council, who say they support the plans in principle but feel more needs to be done to mitigate the negative affects.
Cllr David Hall, Somerset County Council's cabinet member for economic development, said: “The county council supports this development in principle and we welcome the economic opportunities it could bring to Somerset.
“That said we still have some significant concerns, in particular relating to the proposed transport mitigation. We are working hard to make sure these are resolved fairly and appropriately.”
The report, which has been submitted to the examining authority at the planning inspectorate, raises a number of concerns – including the effect it would have on the housing market, to a possible increased risk of accidents because of more HGVs on the roads.
Cllr Tim Taylor, West Somerset Council leader, said: “It is clear from this document that we have listened to what local residents and businesses in our communities have been telling us about this project.”
The report, which is part of the legal examination process, welcomes potential economic development in the area and argues the plans could benefit communities in the long-term with regard to education, employment and skills.
An EDF Energy spokesman said: “Hinkley Point C is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the people of Somerset.
“It will deliver jobs, investment, contracts and new training opportunities.
“Considerable effort has gone into mitigating the impact of our proposals, following extensive consultation.
“This is reflected in our detailed application, which is being examined by the Planning Inspectorate.
“The councils’ Local Impact Report has not yet been published, but we remain confident about the merits of our application and that the Planning Inspectorate will take all relevant factors into account.”
THE report will be on the Planning Inspectorate website soon at http:// infrastructure.planningportal.gov.uk