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Unions step up pressure for Hinkley decision

Hinkley Point C, EDF

Four of the UK’s biggest trade unions have written to the chief executive of EDF Energy urging an immediate investment decision on Hinkley Point C in the wake of the Brexit vote.

The unions say the decision on whether or not to go ahead with the £18bn Hinkley Point C will be a “litmus test” on post-Brexit big project infrastructure investment. The letter to the chief executive of EDF Energy in the UK, Vincent de Rivaz, has been released days before the completion of the consultation process between the French unions and EDF on Monday.

But the letter comes just as major unions in France call for a delay in the decision. The representative unions at EDF – CGT, CFE-CGC and FO – have issued a statement saying that the Brexit vote adds uncertainty to the project and is one of the reasons why they think construction should be delayed.

Ucatt acting general secretary and letter signatory Brian Rye said: “This is a vitally needed and ground breaking project. The decision on the final go-ahead on Hinkley will demonstrate whether foreign-owned companies are still prepared to invest in the UK. The Government needs to ensure that they get this deal over the line.”

Unite national officer for energy Kevin Coyne added: “The final investment decision by EDF Energy in Hinkley Point will be the first litmus test, following the Brexit vote, that much-needed investment in large infrastructure projects is still coming on stream.”

The letter has been signed by four union general secretaries: Len McCluskey from Unite; Brian Rye from Ucatt; Mike Clancy from Prospect; and Tim Roache from the GMB.

The letter said: “The UK trade unions are 100% in support of Hinkley Point C and believe that it is vital to make a final investment decision in a timely fashion soon after the consultation process (between EDF and the French unions) is completed (on 4 July).

“Nuclear new build is already behind the curve; we cannot afford further delay and it is vital for EDF to make a final investment decision now.”

The letter lays out the importance of the project in meeting energy demand and moving towards carbon-neutral energy, as well as its importance for jobs, skills and future prosperity. It said: “It would be a tragedy, in both France and the UK, if all this work and the extraordinary opportunities it provides were to be lost.

“The moment to make the decision is upon us and we have a genuine fear that any further delay will lead to the unravelling of all that we have fought so hard to achieve.”

New Civil Engineer has contacted EDF for a response.

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