Energy giant EdF and Somerset County Council have this week agreed a series of transport improvements which will pave the way for construction of the new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point.
They have signed-off a revised draft development consent order (DCO) - a key document in the planning process - which includes a package of almost £16M of transport improvements on the roads leading to the new power station.
Somerset County Council had originally demanded that EdF build a bypass to take construction traffic around Bridgwater, but is now happy with a series of 17 smaller highway and junction improvements.
“Very good progress has been made and with the benefit of the additional measures that EdF will now be putting in place we believe the project will be acceptable should the secretary of state grant planning permission,” said Somerset County Council cabinet member for economic development David Hall.
Somerset County Council raised a number of issues with EdF’s first DCO when it produced its local impact report on the proposed development in May.
It was concerned about the lack of provision for cyclists and pedestrians in the highway improvements proposed by EdF. It also raised concerns that there had been little attempt to model the effects of heavy goods vehicles travelling through Bridgwater. There was further concern about the local road network’s resilience.
Since submitting the local impact report, Somerset has been negotiating with EdF for improved measures.
EdF’s new proposals, submitted last month, include greater provision for cyclists and pedestrians, as well more traffic modelling.
“We’re much more confident about the new plans and the levels of control we have over them,” said a Somerset County Council spokesman.
EdF has agreed to put a total of £64M into local schemes as part of the DCO, including setting up a £12.8M community fund and making a £7.1M contribution to Bridgwater College. The funds are on top of the £30M EdF has provided as part of the site preparation section 106 agreement.
The draft DCO has now been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate. It will make its recommendation to energy secretary Ed Davey by 22 December. Davey has a further three months to consider the recommendation.