Report highlights Sizewell C's possible economic boost
- Credit: EDF ENERGY
Sizewell C could provide a huge socio-economic boost to Suffolk post-coronavirus, it has been argued following findings at Hinkley Point C.
However, opponents have disputed the claims - with independent consultants Development Economics saying they are "exaggerated", as they cover people living up to 90 minutes away, including large population centres in Norfolk and Essex.
A recent report into the socio-economic impacts of the Somerset nuclear plant says the project is already exceeding the ambitions of developers EDF Energy and CGN – with the amount of money spent with local businesses having doubled their target.
It is hoped the economic successes would be replicated in Suffolk should plans be granted approval, boosting recruitment, education and training in the region.
According to the developers, £3.2billion has been spent with companies in the south west, compared to a target of £1.5bn during construction.
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More than 200 companies in the east of England are working with Hinkley Point C.
It has also had a positive impact on local employment opportunities, with 36% of the workforce recruited from the local area – 2% higher than initial targets.
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Overall, 64% of the value of Hinkley Point C contracts have been awarded to UK-based companies.
Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, Sizewell C managing director, said: “Hinkley Point C is making fantastic progress and providing a real boost to the south west economy.
"We want to replicate this success for Suffolk and Norfolk and realise the economic benefits and provide a springboard for training, skills and education provision for generations to come.”
However, opposition group Stop Sizewell C said in a statement: "Comparing Hinkley and Sizewell is like comparing chalk and cheese.
"For a start, the economic area around Hinkley C has five times the businesses and workforce of Suffolk and Norfolk, and EDF has made no secret of its plan to bring the Hinkley supply chain and skilled workers to Sizewell C in order to save money and reduce risk.
"Neither has EDF ever attempted to work out how much money Suffolk's multi-million pound tourism industry would lose, despite their own surveys revealing that a third of visitors are less likely to come here at all during a decade of construction.
"We are destined for the best tourist year on record yet our tourism destinations have the threat of Sizewell C – with impacts at best incalculable and negative, and at worst catastrophic – hanging over them."
EDF and CGN also believe the project will help those who have been struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with the Hinkley Jobs Service – which launched to help local people access employment opportunities at the plant – helping 450 people through hardship find work.
Overall, the service has helped 1,240 people find a new job.
Emma Ratzer MBE, chief executive of Access Community Trust, added: “Access works with fifth generational unemployed people in Suffolk and we firmly believe that Sizewell C can help stop the cycle of worklessness and help families get into fulfilling jobs.
"Our partnership with Sizewell C ensures that those families that need the most support to access those roles will receive it through our network of community hubs and trained support workers.”
Plans for Sizewell C are currently under examination by the Planning Inspectorate, with the Government having the ultimate say on whether they will go head.
An independent report by Ernst and Young earlier this year revealed the £20bn project could bring a £2billion boost to the county – although the Suffolk Coast Destination Management Organisation argued it, alongside ScottishPower's proposed windfarm off the Suffolk coast, could reduce visitor numbers by 17%.