Hinkley Point delay: Reaction from around Somerset

Artist's impression of Hinkley Point C plant Image copyright PA
Image caption The government announced that it wants to delay a final decision on Hinkley Point until the autumn

Politicians, business leaders and residents have reacted strongly to the government's announcement to delay a final decision on Hinkley Point.

French firm EDF, which is financing most of the £18bn project, approved the funding at a board meeting on Thursday.

But the government has said it wants to review the project and will make a decision by the autumn.

The delay has been met with a mixture of support and frustration in Somerset.

Ian Liddell-Grainger, the Conservative MP whose constituency includes Hinkley Point, said he understood the government's position.

"Those of us who have been pushing for Hinkley have been closely involved in the project for nine and a half years and understand it inside out.

"Theresa May has had just three weeks to get her head round it, so it's hardly surprising she has called for a pause."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The board of French EDF gave the go-ahead on Thursday

He said he is "100% confident" it will still go ahead.

Valerie Boxall, who lives in the village of Stogursey, near Hinkley Point, said she agreed with Mrs May's decision to delay the go-ahead.

"She's newly in power and she's got a new cabinet," she said. "I think it's right that they should look at it. What's another couple of months."

'Bad impression'

But Steve Willcox, from Clutton, believes postponing the final decision on the plant will make people "lose confidence" in the new prime minister.

"There are thousands of jobs and people all dependent on it. She could have used yesterday to show we're open to trade all over the world."

Hinkley Point timeline

Image copyright PA
Image caption Hinkley Point in Somerset already houses two power stations - Hinkley Point A (left) and Hinkley Point B (right)

Jan 2006 - Government proposes nuclear as part of future energy mix

Mar 2013 - Construction of Hinkley Point approved

Oct 2013 - UK government agrees £92.50 per megawatt-hour will be paid for electricity produced at the Somerset site - around double the current market rate at the time

Oct 2015 - EDF signs investment agreement with China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN)

July 2016 - EDF board approves final investment decision, but the UK Government postpones a final decision on the project until autumn.

Conservative MP for Bath Ben Howlett said he was "disappointed" by the delay and feared it gave "a bad impression" in the wake of the EU referendum.

"We need to be doing all we can to show that the UK is open for business," he said.

Irene Dickson from Wells added: "Why delay further the inevitable? Let's get on with it now, especially after the events of Brexit."

Politicians 'lack guts'

John Spratley from Radstock said he was appalled the government has put things on hold.

"I felt that at last we might have a government of courage and conviction. It is obvious that our politicians lack the guts to take difficult decisions."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Hinkley Point in Somerset already houses two power stations

Dale Edwards of Somerset Chamber of Commerce remains positive the project will go ahead, but said it will "be very frustrating for the many businesses that have been awaiting the green light from EDF".

David Hall, deputy leader of Somerset County Council confirmed he will work with the government to "accelerate" the decision to go ahead, as it will be "hugely important to our economy."

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