EDF’s request to temporarily increase HGV movements from 500 to 750 per day until their jetty is fully operational was approved today by the Transport Review Group, subject to completion of a legal agreement.
The Transport Review Group, made up of representatives from Somerset County Council, West Somerset Council, Sedgemoor District Council and Highways England, met this afternoon and approved EDFs request for the temporary increase from January 2018. This will now be drawn into a legally binding agreement and an implementation plan will be agreed between EDF and the Local Authorities in the New Year.
The decision secures the principle of a mitigation package in excess of £4m put forward by EDF. The planning process is very clear that mitigation must be related to the impacts caused and be proportionate to them. It cannot be secured for wider community benefits.
The extra funding will therefore help maintain roads, contribute to the Somerset County Council’s traffic control centre, and create more walking and cycling routes. It will also support construction of the long awaited Colley Lane Southern Access Road which has now been given the green light to proceed to construction in the spring next year.
Funding is also available for business support to be held by Sedgemoor District Council and West Somerset Council. Residents living directly adjacent to the two HGV routes to the site will also be able to apply for free double glazing from EDF Energy.
Councillor Peter Downing Sedgemoor District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Infrastructure said: “We remain supportive of the EDF project to build Hinkley Point C, recognising its national significance and the economic benefit to Sedgemoor and the wider South West. We are of course concerned with the effects of the additional road traffic on an already stretched highways infrastructure, but welcome the prospect of funding to ease the effect on our businesses and communities and we are committed to working with EDF to mitigate the impact wherever possible.”
EDF assessed the impact of the extra lorries when it submitted its original application in 2011, and is already able to run this number of vehicles on any day (Mon – Fri). Until now it has been capped to a quarterly average of 500 per day. The agreement increases the quarterly average cap to 750 on a temporary basis. The number of lorries around peak times when the majority of traffic is on the road will not change.
To enable the Hinkley Point C project to progress, EDF Energy requires the change to take effect from January 2018. The relevant local authorities followed the correct processes to enable a final decision to be made by the Transport Review Group by this time. Local and District Councillors were consulted about the proposals on 8 December and their comments taken into account.
To reach their decision, technical and legal processes were followed, tied to the original consent and planning application that do not involve formal consultation processes with parish and town councils. Procedures set out in the Section 106 agreement for the development of the power station have been followed.
Councillor David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Resources and Economic Development said: “We have carefully considered the impacts the increase will have, especially on residents and businesses. We recognise the natural concerns some have raised about the prospect of more traffic. However, a project of this scale will without doubt cause some disruption; it’s important to keep focused on the bigger picture. We believe an appropriate package of mitigation has been secured to address these impacts. I look forward to progress being maintained on the project to achieve a sustainable legacy from its construction, benefitting our County for generations to come.”
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Notes to Editors
- The jetty will enable 80 per cent of the aggregates needed to build the power station to be brought to the site by sea rather than by road. It is expected to be completed at the end of 2018 and be fully operational in 2019.
• If the Transport Review Group had decided not to approve the proposal, EDF Energy would have needed to apply to the Secretary of State.