Suffolk Chamber raises “deep concerns” on Hinkley delay with Prime Minister

John Dugmore

John Dugmore - Credit: Archant

Suffolk’s business leaders have expressed “deep concerns” about the Government decision to delay its final decision on Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

Sizewell C

Sizewell C - Credit: Copyright EDF Energy 2012 - Stag

Suffolk Chamber has written to Prime Minister Theresa May to condemn the hold-up as “unhelpful and counter-productive”, particularly in relation to the knock-on impact on the prospects for a new nuclear plant at Sizewell, and urged her to keep the time for reflection to “an absolute minimum”.

“Suffolk Chamber has a close working relationship with EDF Energy and our belief is clear; the nuclear industry is good for Suffolk and good for businesses here in Suffolk,” said chamber chief executive John Dugmore.

“It has been good for Suffolk thanks to both the jobs created directly and indirectly and in terms of investment in the skills base of our local workforce over many decades.

“The building of a new nuclear power station would further boost our economy both during construction and once it is up and running. We have been working closely with EDF Energy through our local supply chain website to ensure that as many local businesses have a chance to pick up contracts as possible should Sizewell C get the go-ahead.”

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Mr Dugmore said Suffolk Chamber members were concerned at the hold-up, partly because of the effect the delay may have on business confidence and investment decisions.

“Since the Brexit vote, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, alongside our national body the British Chambers of Commerce, has been urging Government to boost business confidence by accelerating its approval of major infrastructural projects,” he wrote.

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“This delay on a final decision on Hinkley Point C is unhelpful and counter-productive in this regard and especially when set against Government delays in other nationally significant infrastructure projects.

“It calls into question not only the opportunities for businesses from every part of the country to benefit from the £18bn project cost, but also the 25,000 jobs that could be created both during construction and once the station is operational.”

Mr Dugmore pointed out that 80% of work related to building and running a power station is non-nuclear, allowing plenty of opportunities for SMEs in Suffolk and for regional busineses.

“A potential £100m per annum will be pumped into the local economy for every year of construction, a time space expected to be around 10 years.”

The plant would also be of national benefit, supplying the equivalent of 5m homes with electricity and making a significant contribution to the country’s long-term energy security.

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