BRIDGWATER is gearing itself up for the planned Hinkley C investment that will see the town transformed, say town leaders.

Soon it will be all systems go said David Hall the deputy leader of Somerset County Council.

Cllr Hall, cabinet member for business inward investment and policy, said everyone was encouraged by the Government announcement to guarantee £2bn of investment.

He said: “Business throughout the district and the region is eagerly awaiting for the go ahead.

"We are in the hands of the Government and EDF and the package of investors who are supporting this development. We are all eagerly awaiting the next steps.”

However he accepted that not everyone is in favour of building a new nuclear power station.

“Everyone is entitled to their opinion,” he said. “And if they have a reasoned argument then I respect that.

"All arguments have been carefully considered by the Ggovernment and I would point out the planning was not a local decision but it was part of a national infrastructure project.

"The arguments were made and we have the decision.

"We must now run with it and get the best out of the project for the area.”

The leader of the Labour group on Sedgemoor District Council, Mick Lerry, was also pleased but said if the guarantee hadn’t been made it would have been a disaster for local firms.

He said: “Many companies both locally and nationally in the supply chain, will be gearing up for this major project to secure low carbon energy for the future.

“It will be important to make sure that the investment in skills training is maintained, to make sure that local people can grasp the employment opportunities.

“The Labour Group would like to see Bridgwater develop as a place of excellence for energy and that will include renewable energy such as the Bridgwater Bay Lagoon, plus solar and wind turbines.

"The demand for electricity will increase in the future and it is important to make sure that such demand is low carbon, because of climate change.”

His views were not entirely shared by the south west’s Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, who was highly critical of the plan to build the power station.

She said: “The Tories are snubbing British citizens who have shown their willingness to invest in community renewables and support the clean, green energy of the future with which our country, and particularly the South West, is so richly endowed.”

The MP for Bridgwater, Iain Liddell-Grainger, was bullish about the immediate future of the project but played down the idea the Chinese premier would visit the site to “seal the deal”.

“This has been a long time coming,” he said. “It’s taken a lot of hard work by a lot of people over the last eight years. But this is the build up to the start of the project and there will be times when we will tear our hair out over the traffic and other problems but it is going to transform the area and the town.

“Myself, the town, parish, district and county councils will be keeping a very close eye on the progress.”