A BRIDGWATER councillor said he is 'disgusted' proposals by EDF Energy to increase the number of HGV road deliveries made to Hinkley Point C by up to 250 a day have been approved.

The Transport Review Group, made up of representatives from Somerset County Council, West Somerset Council, Sedgemoor District Council and Highways England, met on December 18 and approved EDF's request for the temporary increase from January 2018.

Cllr Leigh Redman, councillor for Bridgwater South, said he thinks the decision to approve the plans has been 'steamrolled' through Somerset County Council and said it 'lacks any community benefit'.

"From my position, an elected member of both councils, to be presented with a fete de complete, a final package of mitigation that will see thousands of additional HGV movements forced on to my town for however short a period, is in my opinion, truly wrong," Cllr Redman said.

"I am disgusted by the way that this decision appears to be have been steamrolled through both councils,"

"The mitigation package negotiated is lacking any form of real community benefit, something that could have been discussed and negotiated into the package if they had been open about the decision.

"This is effectively shutting out the people that will be directly impacted by this massive 50 per cent increase in HGV movements."

Cllr Redman said he feels people who commented on the plans have been 'ignored by councils' and has asked to be involved in agreeing 'the small print' around the mitigation.

Somerset County Council said EDF assessed the impact of the extra lorries when it submitted its original application in 2011 and said it is already able to run this number of vehicles five days a week.

Until now, the number of lorries has been capped to a quarterly average of 500 per day but this agreement will increase the cap to 750 a day on a temporary basis so that work on the site's new jetty can be completed.

EDF say completion of the jetty will enable 80 per cent of the material needed to build the power station to be brought to the site by sea rather than by road.

The jetty is expected to be complete at the end of 2018 at the fully operational by 2019.

Now that it has been approved, a mitigation package in excess of £4m, put forward by EDF has been agreed in principle.

The extra funding will help maintain roads, contribute to the Somerset County Council’s traffic control centre, and create more walking and cycling routes.

It will also support construction of the long awaited Colley Lane Southern Access Road which has now been given the green light to proceed to construction in the spring next year.

Cllr Peter Downing, portfolio holder for infrastructure for Sedgemoor District Council, said: “We remain supportive of the EDF project to build Hinkley Point C, recognising its national significance and the economic benefit to Sedgemoor and the wider South West.

"We are of course concerned with the effects of the additional road traffic on an already stretched highways infrastructure, but welcome the prospect of funding to ease the effect on our businesses and communities and we are committed to working with EDF to mitigate the impact wherever possible."

Cllr Brian Smedley, leader of Bridgwater Town Council, said: “We learnt of these proposals on Friday December 8, we wrote objecting and calling on the Portfolio Holder to extend the mitigation package or to oppose the movements, we raised the issue in the press, on the TV and the radio, we offered a meeting to consult with the town about the issue.

"We were refused, our offers rejected and our objections rolled over.

"You wonder less and less why people may be cynical about this whole operation.

"Did they underestimate the original logistics of the project or were they hiding the fact that they would inevitably be throwing in more and more increases like this in an effort to avoid building the By-Pass that we all argued for originally!?”

But Cllr David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Resources and Economic Development said the council 'carefully considered' the impact the increase in vehicles will have on residents and businesses. “We recognise the natural concerns some have raised about the prospect of more traffic.

"However, a project of this scale will without doubt cause some disruption; it’s important to keep focused on the bigger picture.

"We believe an appropriate package of mitigation has been secured to address these impacts.

"I look forward to progress being maintained on the project to achieve a sustainable legacy from its construction, benefitting our county for generations to come.”