This week we saw Energy Secretary Ed Davey grant planning consent for EDF to construct Hinkley.
This announcement delivers on one of the most important elements of the reform of the UK’s energy policy that started back in 2006. The granting of the planning permission for Hinkley Point C within the three month deadline required under the new planning regime signifies the tangible delivery of a key part of that reformed framework. This is also another significant step towards enabling the final investment decision to be taken.
The reform started with the Energy Review but expanded to include the re-shaping of the UK’s nuclear regulatory body to meet the demands of new nuclear construction, improvements to the UK’s planning regime and recognition of the need to give investors confidence in a longer-term market structure sufficient to attract their discretionary investment.
Demonstrating that the UK has a robust, timely and reliable planning process is a hugely important milestone on the road to delivering the renewal of the UK’s otherwise declining energy infrastructure capacity and enhances the UK’s position as one of the leading markets internationally for investment.
Whilst the final decision to proceed with the construction of Hinkely Point C remains to be taken, the opportunity to create many thousands of construction, supply chain and operational jobs and the boost that the investment will give to the region’s economy and skills base are vital components of driving recovery for the UK more widely.
Tony Ward is the Head of Power and Utilities at Ernst&Young