THE firm behind plans for the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station is being urged to pay millions more pounds for projects such as a bigger and better Bridgwater Hospital and a new town swimming pool.

Sedgemoor District Council has made a direct plea to Mercury readers (see this week's paper) to put the pressure on EDF Energy to fully compensate our area for the years of disruption which lie ahead if two new nuclear reactors are built.

It wants people to take part in the energy firm’s phase two consultation over Hinkley C, before the process closes on October 4.

EDF is promising a £1million community fund for schemes ranging from children’s play areas to sports facilities, but Sedgemoor District Council chief executive Kerry Rickards described the offer as “way off the mark”.

He told the Mercury: “I wouldn’t like to put a figure on exactly how much we should be getting from EDF but it’s got to be a heck of a lot more than £1million. There’s going to be significant disruption until it is built in 2017, and during the 60 years it is operational.

“It is going to put a real strain on local roads, housing and healthcare.”

He added: “It’s only right and proper that EDF contributes towards the facilities at Bridgwater Hospital – we could get a bigger and better hospital than currently planned.

“We could also get more than one pool, or a much fancier pool than the one currently planned.”

EDF declined to commit to specific projects but said Hinkley C would have economic benefits way beyond its £1million community fund.

A spokesman said the project would contribute £100million-a-year to the local community during construction, and £40million-a-year during its operational lifetime.

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