EDF HAS postponed building Hinkley C creating a massive economic uncertainty across Somerset and Bridgwater and Highbridge in particular, according to reports.

And James Heappey MP for Wells and Burnham said: “News that EDF have kicked the Hinkley can down the road again is unwelcome and is understandably causing concern for local businesses and residents. I understand that EDF are now to make the Final Investment Decision in mid-February to coincide with the publication of their annual results.

“Ministers remain confident that all is as it should be and EDF, whilst tight lipped are not giving me any cause for concern either. However if the FID is further delayed beyond the publication of EDF’s results, I think we’d be right to start worrying that things are going awry.

“Clearly EDF is under significant financial pressure caused by the collapse in the wholesale price of electricity, their market value has fallen steeply leading to them dropping out of the CAC-40, the French unions are agitating over potential job losses in France and the French Government – who have a big say in what EDF does - will be sensitive to that sort of thing with Presidential elections just over a year away.

“That said, it is reported that EDF have already sunk £1 billion into the Hinkley site and that is sort of investment that you do not walk away from. I remain, therefore, confident that all is moving forward but if the FID is not announced by the time Parliament returns from recess on 22nd February, I will be seeking to ask some urgent questions of EDF and the Government.”

Pressure has been building on the French Government funded company with the French economy in trouble, issues over building the reactor and the Chinese Government backers also facing financial problems.

Vincent de Rivaz came under pressure from the Weekly News last October when he was vigorously questioned at the opening of Cannington Court.

He failed to give a date for the Financial Investment Decision (FID). That date eventually was given as January 27, but reports in the French media said that once again the decision will be put off. However EDF said they had not announced the FID would be made and it was media speculation about the date and the FID would be made soon.

The area’s MP Ian Liddell Grainger said he had spoken to the energy minister Amber Rudd who said the Government were “relaxed” about the delays.

He said: “She’s been in touch with the French and we are continuing as we are. We’ve had a big Tier 1 meeting in Bridgwater and have got people back on site at Hinkley doing their job, so I’m not put out. We’ve had speculation from day one and that’s not changed. It’s a complicated project and it is a French Government company who don’t work in the way we do.”

The area’s Green MEP Molly Scott Cato was more scathing. She said: “The whispers in the boardroom have spilled out and created panic. EDF directors and employees knows that the deal on Hinkley simply does not stack up and the company sooner or later faces bankruptcy if they proceed with nuclear new build at Hinkley.”

Despite the doubters there’s still confidence in Hinkley C from Sedgemoor District Council. The leader Cllr Duncan McGinty said: “With a project of this size, the largest engineering project in Europe, one would expect delays along the road to completion. Sedgemoor remains optimistic that the final investment decision to proceed will come soon. We are seeing increased activity on the ground, we are in contact with Tier 1 contractors and we are gearing ourselves up to play our part in delivering this project to achieve the maximum benefit for the local community and economy.”

Do you think Hinkley C will go ahead or is the project about to collapse? Your views to harry.mottram@nqsw.co.uk