AROUND 3,000 jobs could be created at Hinkley Point C (HPC) in Bridgwater once coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

EDF Energy has announced it will increase the number of workers on the HPC site to 8,500 when Covid-19 restrictions allow.

The news has been both welcomed and criticised by residents in Somerset with some saying they fear the rise will mean increased traffic and disruption in the area.

The company had planned to have a peak workforce of 5,600 people at Hinkley Point C, one of the biggest building sites on earth, but it has now decided to increase that to 8,500 once coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

Nigel Cann, HPC Delivery Director, said: “Right now, we're focussed on keeping the community and our workforce safe. Once it is possible to work normally again, we forecast that around 8,500 people will be employed here during peak construction.

"This is good news for economic recovery in the south west as most of these jobs will be filled by local people, helped into these roles by local colleges and training providers.

"With so many of these recruits set to be home-based, demand on accommodation and other services can be managed successfully by working with local councils and the community.

"We have also reviewed our transport plans and are confident that vehicle numbers, including buses, will remain below our original forecast."

But some residents fear that bringing extra workers onto the site will lead to increased traffic and disruption in the area.

Roy Pumfrey from Stop Hinkley said the 50 per cent increase in staff on site is 'bound to have an impact on the local area.'

"Even EDF admitted at the briefing that demand for local accommodation will outstrip supply," Roy said.

"The HPC hostels are already full. Having speculative purchasers hoover up lots of new houses as buy-to-let for HPC renters should go down like a lead balloon with local people desperate for a new home.

"Similarly, landlords giving long standing tenants notice so they can create HMOs for multiple HPC workers should be blown a hearty raspberry.

"As for the traffic, EDF claims there will be no more buses, just fuller ones. But remember what traffic in Bridgwater was like before Covid turned the rush hour into a trickle? Yes, regularly gridlocked on the Taunton Road and from the east on the Bristol Road, as I recall.

"How long will these ‘Gold Rush Economy’ jobs last? EDF talks about peak numbers in late 2022/early 2023.

"If they manage to complete HPC by 2026, and it’s a big ‘if’, the number of workers will go off the edge of a cliff from 8,500 to just the 900 permanent staff in just over three years.

"As for the impact on the quality and quantity of HPC site work, there is no guarantee that throwing more bodies at the task will mean quicker or better quality work."