This is an indication of what we could expect at Sizewell - EDF doing as they please without regard to any agreements with residents. The 'temporary' increase looks like it could last for over a year.

The article  was taken from the Somerset live website, the link to the article is here

Bridgwater residents leaving near the Hinkley Point C site will see a 50 per cent rise in the number of HGV movements from the beginning of next year.

EDF made a request to temporarily increase the number of HGV movements from 500 to 750 per day until a jetty for construction boats is fully operational 

Their request was approved, subject to legal agreements, by the Transport Review Group at a meeting on December 18th.

The move has been criticised by Somerset County Council's Labour leader, who has branded the move as "truly wrong".

The decision and its impact

The Transport Review Group is made up of representatives from the county council, West Somerset Council, Sedgemoor District Council and Highways England.

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 weekday - but until now it has been capped to a quarterly average of 500 per day.This 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.

Local councillors were consulted on this matter on December 8 to enable this decision to be taken.

The new jetty being constructed 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.

Money for mitigation

Following its decision, EDF will agree to both a legal agreement and an implementation plan in the new year. The company will put forward a mitigation package of more than £4M, the delivery of which must be related to the impact which the work will cause - it cannot be secured for wider community benefits. The money will be used to maintain roads in the local area, contribute towards the 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, the construction of which will begin in the spring.

Funding is also available for business support - to be held by the two district councils - and residents living directly adjacent to the two HGV routes to the site will be able to apply for free double glazing from EDF Energy.

The reaction

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."

Councillor David Hall, the 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."

Not all the reaction, however, has been positive.

Somerset County Labour Group Leader, Leigh Redman, chairman of the county council's children & families scrutiny committee, issued the following statement:

"I am disgusted by the way that this decision appears to be have been steamrolled through both councils. From my position, an elected member of both councils, to be presented with a fait accompli, a final package of mitigation that will see thousands of additional HGV movements forced on to my town for however short a period, is in my opinion truly wrong.

The mitigation package negotiated is lacking any form of real community benefit, something that could have been discussed and negotiated into the package if they had been open about the decision, this is effectively shutting out the people that will be directly impacted by this massive 50 per cent increase in HGV movements.

I know that many people took the limited opportunity to make comments, only to be apparently ignored by the councils.

It seems that despite the urgency of the decision there is still a need to agree the small print around the mitigation and I have called for involvement but won't hold my breath considering the way this decision has been pushed through both councils."