By Jonathan Davies

The European Commission has approved plans to build a new £16bn nuclear power station in Hinkley Point in Somerset.

The Commission said the UK had agreed "modify significantly" the financing for the project to reduce the cost to taxpayers.

There were concerns that the subsidies from the British government amounted to state aid, which is illegal under EU rules. But the Commission said authorities had agreed to cut the subsidy by £1bn.

French energy firm EDF Energy will build the power station.

Rupert Cox, CEO of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Somerset Chamber is delighted, but not surprised, that the EU has not objected to the Hinkley Point C development under its State Aid regulations. This is good news for EDF Energy and even better news for Somerset suppliers.

“This is another crucial step along the long road to the construction of Hinkley Point C, which will provide millions of pounds of worth of business for Somerset and South West businesses.

“As EDF Energy works towards making its final investment decision, the Somerset Chamber will continue to work with them, their Tier 1 lead contractors and the local supply chain to make sure that business opportunities are created for local companies. We have made excellent progress so far with early contracts already awarded to local businesses, but this is just the tip of the iceberg as we develop tendering programmes that provide business for local companies for the next nine years of construction and 60 years of operation.”

John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said:
“The European Commission’s green light for Hinkley Point is a significant milestone in the United Kingdom’s energy future.

“Hinkley should set the ball rolling for the UK’s nuclear new build programme, putting us on the right path to achieving a secure and sustainable energy mix.

“It represents a real opportunity for growth, with the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs for people — not just in the local community, but up and down the whole country.”

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