Construction industry welcomes May's Hinkley Point C decision
Government’s decision to approve construction of the £18bn Hinkley Point C nuclear power station has received a hearty welcome from across industry.
Here's industry reaction that come through our in-tray:
Alasdair Reisner, chief executive of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), said: “CECA commends the Government on recognising the fundamental importance of large-scale infrastructure to a growing economy, and look forward to other positive decisions in this regard.
“Hinkley Point presents a tremendous opportunity for the UK’s civils contractors to show they are among the best in the business.
“Four years ago, the London Olympics demonstrated the capacity of CECA members to deliver world-class mega-projects on time and on budget.
“Hinkley Point will showcase our industry, support long-term jobs for thousands of workers, and make a vital contribution to the mixed portfolio of energy generation we will rely upon in the future.”
Confederation of British Industry (CBI) deputy director-general Josh Hardie said: “The final green light for Hinkley Point is good news for the UK’s energy future as well as supporting jobs and growth across the southwest and the country.
“New nuclear energy will play an important role in supporting a diverse, low-carbon and secure energy supply, so it’s now time to push on with this key project.
“Investors are hungry for further signs from the government that the UK is open for business. Pressing ahead with major infrastructure decisions – such as giving clarity to around the next Contracts for Difference auction and the post-2020 Levy Control Framework, and expanding runway capacity in the southeast – would give a real boost to their confidence in the UK in the long-run.”
Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) director general Nick Baveystock said: “The prime minister’s decision to approve the project is a major step forward for the future of UK energy security. The decision comes at critical time, demonstrating confidence in the infrastructure sector and in the UK as a place to invest. Nuclear is part of a combined approach to the UK's energy mix and must form part of coherent energy policy. The ICE led National Needs Assessment, due to be published in October, highlights the fundamental role of energy in underpinning all of our other infrastructure services – now and in the future.
“Nuclear provides a good base load power source, but the new fleet is at least 10 years away from power generation and capacity margins are tightening. Technologies such as new combined cycle gas turbines, renewables and electricity storage must be driven forward, alongside demand management initiatives.”
Brian Rye, acting general secretary of construction union Ucatt, said: “The go ahead was vital for the construction which desperately needed the confirmation of such a major project following a slowdown in the industry caused by the Brexit vote. It is also good news for the overall economy as it helps to guarantee the stability of our future energy supply."
Ucatt said that the construction of Hinkley Point C would create 25,000 job opportunities over the lifetime of the project and during that time a 1,000 construction apprentices would be created. Trades unions have already negotiated ground breaking terms and conditions for the Hinkley Point workforce, which are designed to ensure that workers on the site receive the most progressive terms and conditions in the industry.
Mr Rye added: “Ucatt negotiators will be stepping up their meetings with the client and the tier one contractors to ensure that the excellent agreements already in place are fully delivered and further built upon.”
One of those contractors is Kier, which in joint venture with BAM Nuttall, has been undertaking site preparation works at Hinkley Point since 2012 and currently has approximately 350 employees working on the project. The joint venture is responsible for a range of preliminary works, including excavations of over 5.6 million cubic metres of material, large scale earthworks, the development of complex terracing structures and the creation of an expansive road network.
Kier Group chief executive Haydn Mursell said: "Today’s decision marks a major step in the UK’s nuclear renaissance and reflects the country’s commitment to a balanced energy strategy including low carbon energy sources. Kier has excellent and proven capabilities in the nuclear industry and we look forward to working with EDF on the pipeline of opportunities that will arise from this project and on further energy projects in the UK in due course.”
Gleeds will be providing NEC contract management services on the project and anticipates that its’ Bristol and Gloucester offices will double in size over the next three years as a direct result of Hinkley Point PC, generating up to 100 new jobs. Gleeds Worldwide chairman Richard Steer said: “We are delighted that the UK government has made its decision in favour of this landmark development. This project represents a major investment in British infrastructure and jobs, and we are excited to be part of something which presents such a phenomenal growth opportunity for both UK construction and skills development.”
Ian Maclean, UK managing director for energy & industry at WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, said: “This is the good news we’ve all been waiting for. After years of delays we can now look positively to the future, prepare our business and recruitment plans accordingly, and start filling the growing gap in our energy mix. However, this is just the beginning. We now need to start delivering not just on this one project but also other major nuclear projects (both big and small modular reactors) that are yet to get off the ground.
“Whilst this is a huge step forward in decarbonising our energy supply, we shouldn’t ignore the widespread public demand for renewables, as recent polls have suggested. Hopefully this is a sign that the government intends to create a business climate that will encourage investors and developers alike to forge ahead with a new fleet of power plant that includes a mix of both renewable energy and nuclear power, as well as gas-fired power plants to provide cleaner and safer energy to UK plc.”
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This article was published on 15 Sep 2016 (last updated on 16 Sep 2016).