EDF ENERGY has agreed a £94million cashpot to compensate people living near the site of the proposed Hinkley C nuclear power station.
Somerset County Council and Sedgemoor and West Somerset district councils have spent the past two years urging EDF to cough up more cash for roads, homes and education, should a third nuclear power station at Hinkley Point be approved.
At a meeting this week, the three councils okayed a legal document, known as a section 106 agreement, which will commit EDF to spending £64million on education, training, transport and housing to mitigate against the impacts of Hinkley C.
The section 106 is expected to be signed off this month, and is in addition to £30million EDF has already pledged in relation to site preparation works.
Sedgemoor District Council leader, Duncan McGinty, told the Mercury that while EDF's offer fell short of what the councils had hoped for, it still represented “significant progress and a balanced compromise”.
He said: “EDF's start offer was £1million, so we have come a long way.”
Cllr McGinty also revealed that the Planning Inspectorate, which will make the final decision on whether to allow Hinkley C to go ahead, had warned the councils that if an agreement with EDF was not signed by the end of August, the Inspectorate would not be able to ensure EDF stuck to it.
Cllr McGinty added that the agreement includes contingencies should extra costs or infrastructure work arise.
David Hall, Somerset County Council's deputy leader, said the councils were extremely pleased with the progress made and had done their best to ensure negative impacts of Hinkley C would be minimised.
Richard Mayson, EDF Energy's director of planning and external affairs, said the firm was delighted a deal had been reached.
He added: “This agreement also establishes a financial blueprint to deliver sustainable educational, employment and economic opportunities for local people and businesses.”