COMMUNITIES across Bridgwater are being urged to take their “best chance” to let Government planners know the extent of traffic fears over proposals for Hinkley Point.

Hundreds of people are expected to pack Bridgwater Town Hall for an open floor meeting next month when members of the public can directly address planning officials.

Power giant EDF Energy wants to build a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point, and its application is being considered by the National Infrastructure Directorate.

Bridgwater town clerk Alan Hurford, who is planning to speak on behalf of the town council at the hearing, has issued a rallying cry for people to turn out in force and make their views known.

He said: “It’s absolutely vital that people turn out in force to show the strength of feeling in Bridgwater about how the town will be affected by this project.

“The traffic issue is number one in a lot of people’s minds, but there’s also the issue of accommodation and where people will stay.

“We need to make sure Bridgwater is fairly compensated for the disruption the work to build Hinkley Point would bring, and this is the best chance to do it.”

People wishing to speak at the meeting must have already registered with the Infrastructure Planning Commission – the forerunner to the National Infrastructure Directorate – but the meeting is open to the public to attend.

As well as the Bridgwater meeting on Wednesday, May 16, similar sessions will be held in Cannington on Wednesday, May 9, Combwich on Thursday, May 10, and Stogursey on Thursday, May 17.

Peter Malim, vice-chairman of Stogursey Parish Council, said: “It’s going to make it difficult for people in Stogursey to get out. During the peak of construction there will be a lorry on the road every 1½ minutes.”

A spokesman for EDF Energy said the firm is confident its application has made sufficient plans for dealing with increased traffic levels.

He said: "EDF Energy's transport strategy is based on minimising the numbers of vehicles on local roads and improving traffic flow to mitigate the impact of construction."

OFFICIALS at EDF Energy have played down speculation about the future of the Hinkley C project.

The company says its position is unchanged despite reports its development partner Centrica had threatened to pull out amid energy price concerns.