Today’s (September 15) decision by Theresa May to approve the go-ahead for the Hinkley Point nuclear power station has been hailed as ‘historic’ by Unite.
Unite said that the announcement by secretary for business, energy and industrial strategy Greg Clark, has ended ‘a period of unwelcome uncertainty’ and its members were ‘shovel ready’ to start work on the project which will give a massive boost to employment in the south west.
“Today’s historic decision is very welcome,” said Unite national officer for energy Kevin Coyne. “Our members are shovel ready and dead keen to start work on the country’s first nuclear power station for a generation.
“It is excellent news that that the uncertainty caused by Theresa May’s decision to put Hinkley Point ‘on hold’ has now been dispelled and that the government recognises the role of nuclear in a mixed energy economy,” he added.
“It means that the lights will remain on in the UK in the decades ahead and it heralds an economic renaissance for the West Country, with the accompanying creation of thousands of skilled jobs and the positive ripple effects to the supply chain across the UK,” Coyne argued.
“It is especially heartening that the new jobs will include 500 much-needed apprenticeships.
“This was the first big litmus test for big infrastructure projects, following June’s EU referendum and shows that there is the appetite for giving the green light for such projects that the UK so desperately needs for its future economic prosperity,” he noted.
“Unite will be pressing the UK government, EDF and the sub-contractors to make maximum use of British-made materials, such as steel, so that the benefits flow into the blood stream of the wider UK economy.”
Unite and the other unions involved regard the go-ahead for the £18bn project, which will generate seven per cent of UK electricity demand, as vital in terms of providing thousands of jobs and ‘keeping the lights on’ in the years ahead. Because of delays, the start date for electricity generation has been put back to 2025.
Coyne added, “The trade unions involved with this project are also pleased to say that we have agreed a ground-breaking template with EDF for decent working conditions and employment practices at the Somerset site.”