UK Construction Media

British government delays approval on Hinkley Point C

News   •   Jul 29, 2016 13:05 BST

The government have unexpectedly postponed a final decision on Hinkley Point C, despite EDF’s confirmation.

There has been an unexpected delay on what would be Britain’s first new nuclear power plant in 20 years, with the British government postponing the decision until early Autumn, despite EDF’s confirmation.

After a series of delays from energy giant EDF, on Thursday 29 July, the French firm approved the funding for the £18Bn project in Someset. The contracts were due to be signed Friday 29 July, however the government then said that ministers needed to review the controversial project again.

Justin Bowden, the GMB union’s national secretary for energy said: “Theresa May’s decision to review the go-ahead on Hinkley Point C is bewildering and bonkers.

“After years of procrastination, what is required is decisive action not dithering and more delay.

“This unnecessary hesitation is putting finance for the project in doubt and 25,000 new jobs at risk immediately after Brexit.

“It is a gross error of judgment and must be reversed.”

The announcement surprised EDF, who were planning to sign contracts with the government this week (Friday 29 July), but after the announcement, they have cancelled press interviews that it was planning with Vincent de Rivaz, the boss of its UK arm.

Critics have warned that the further delay may result in environmental damage and potential escalating costs, and expressed concern that the plant is being built by foreign governments, with one third of the cost of the project being provided by Chinese investors.

However, China General Nuclear Power Corporation said it remained committed to the project.

Ian Liddell-Grainger, the Conservative MP whose constituency includes Hinkley Point, said Mrs May is doing “exactly the right thing.”

“Theresa checks everything, and she wants to make sure this is right.

“We’re talking about three countries, we’re talking about an enormous deal for the United Kingdom, for France and for China. She wants to make sure it’s the right job and that’s what she’s doing, she’s checking it as all good Prime Ministers should.”

The new nuclear power station would be the first since Sizewell B opened in 1995.