THE workforce at Hinkley Point C could be expanded beyond 10,000 workers as EDF is in talks with Somerset Council to discuss potential implications on local communities.

The project is now entering its peak construction phase, which will see three major activities taking place at the same time; the power station being fitted out with electrical cables and pipes, the beginning of commissioning activities, and the continuation of main civil works.  

This means extra workers are essential to ensure progress continues to run smoothly.

Cllr Leigh Redman, a Bridgwater Town and Somerset Council councillor stated that originally, only 5,500 workers were to be permitted on site, a number which has since been raised to 8,600 due to the conversion of Pontins in Brean to become an accommodation site for Hinkley Point workers.

"I hope that during any negotiations to increase the permitted number of staff on site, again, local councillors will be involved," he explained. 

"Too often recently we are hearing from residents about how hard it is to find private rented accommodation in the Bridgwater area and more importantly, when it is available, to find affordable accommodation.

"When the original development consent order (DCO) was approved by the secretary of state, mitigation was agreed and monitoring was put in place that would limit 'non home based workers' in areas around the site, there were limits set that would trigger additional payments if passed.

"Bridgwater is pretty much full, EDF accommodation is full as is there overflow at Brean - we have already agreed additional camp site spaces, the original maximum workers was 5,500, that was increased to 8,600 using Brean as a buffer for the increase.

"If they currently have more than 10,000 on site what will this uplift be, and how likely will EDF be to come back again?

"I will be arguing for mitigation to help boost local affordable rented accommodation, compensation for local people for the impact the additional uplift will have and a guarantee that numbers will be monitored and enforced.

"I welcome HPC workers to our town, they bring a financial boost, but local people must be able to live along side them and not be forced out of town because they can't find anywhere affordable to live.

"If EDF want another increase they need to step up and help local people.

"I look forward to being involved in any negotiations as do many of my councillor colleagues."

However, EDF Energy maintained there is no pre-set limit in the number of workers permitted on site.

A Hinkley Point C spokesperson said: "As Hinkley Point C moves into peak construction and the workforce grows, we are working with Somerset Council to ensure that we continue to limit any impact on the local area.

"Thousands of local people are helping to build this critical piece of national infrastructure and are benefiting from job and training opportunities across Somerset and beyond.”

A spokesperson for Somerset Council confirmed they are liaising with EDF regarding an increased workforce at the nuclear power station: "EDF has approached the Council to discuss workforce numbers and we are engaging with them to see what implications this might have on our local communities."