By Daniel Hunter

Energy Secretary Ed Davey has given the go-ahead for the first of a planned new generation of nuclear power plants in the UK.

Mr Davey told MPs in the Commons that he was granting planning consent for French energy giant EDF to construct Hinkley Point C in Somerset.

The proposed £14 billion power plant would be capable of powering five million homes.

Mr Davey said the disruption caused by the nuclear build would be outweighed by the benefits.

"The planning decision to give consent to Hinkley Point follows a rigorous examination from the Planning Inspectorate, and detailed analysis within my department," he told the Commons.

"This planned project adds to a number of new energy projects consented since May 2010, including wind farms and biomass and gas-fired power stations,"

Katja Hall, CBI Chief Policy Director, praised the news as a major step forward.

“This is a big step forward on a critical energy infrastructure scheme. Major projects like this not only help us to overcome our energy challenges, but provide a real boost to growth, creating thousands of jobs directly and through the supply chain," she said.

“A balanced energy mix is essential in order to ensure secure, low-carbon and affordable supply in the future, and new nuclear is a key part of this.”

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