The starting gun for Hinkley C could be fired this week.

In a 'make up our minds' meeting this week when the biggest business bonanza in Bridgwater's history will finally begin.

But Hinkley Point officials remain guarded about reports that the Final Investment Decision (FID) is to be made at a board meeting of EDF directors on January 27.

Reports in the French media and the trade press suggest that an announcement of giving the project the green light will be made soon after the get-together although officially the company will only say the FID will be made “soon.”

In October last year speculation mounted when the trade agreement with the Chinese was signed with the boss of EDF Vincent de Rivaz telling the Mercury the final piece of the finances would be in place “within week.” However as time has marched on concerns have been raised by the Bridgwater Chamber of Commerce’s Steve Leahy on behalf of his members as to when it will happen. He said businesses in the area who had been promised lucrative contracts had been “treading water” while others had laid off staff during the long wait.

Speculation has increased due to the downturn in the both the French and Chinese economies in the last few weeks with fears the brakes could be put on the project to build Hinkley C nuclear power station. Both foreign investors are state owned industries further fuelling concerns.

However Hinkley have insisted the plan is on track with a number of steps that needed to be completed following the investment decision was taken in last autumn and nothing had changed.

That view has also been challenged by the main opposition group to the Hinkley C. Stop Hinkley spokesperson Roy Pumfrey said: “I’ll believe it when I see it. This is the ninth time EDF has said a final investment decision is imminent. Just last October the chairman of EDF, Jean-Bernard Levy, said work would be starting before the end of 2015. It would be completely reckless of the Board to give the go-ahead to this £25 billion project when the Company is in such a parlous state.”

A spokesman for Hinkley dismissed this suggestion saying remedial work was underway along with some archaeology work on the site before the FID was signed.

The Bridgwater Chamber of Commerce along with the town, district and county council plus the parish councillors and numerous businesses expect the promised jobs bonanza will only happen once the FID is announced.

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