Rt Hon Mark Drakeford, First Minister
I convened the Hinkley Point C Stakeholder Reference Group last July to provide an independent assessment of the implications for Wales of the new nuclear power station currently being developed at Hinkley Point, in Somerset. The Group has now reported on its work and I welcome the published report, and the extensive collection of evidence the Group has gathered over the course of its work.
I would like to thank Jane Davidson for chairing the Group, and the Group’s members for their expertise and for their time, which they gave freely. Their knowledge and understanding of the issues, and their ability to analyse the complexity of the Severn Estuary, has ensured a report that I believe will be welcomed by all those who operate in, and plan for, this special environment.
The next Welsh Government will have the opportunity to ask the Group to continue to provide their expert insight. The Group has adopted a thorough approach and it has understood and represented the views of a range of stakeholders very effectively. It is clear to me the Group can be invaluable in helping to deliver the ambitions it has set out in its report.
I am also grateful to all the stakeholders who contributed to the Group’s inquiries, including campaigners, government agencies on both sides of the Severn, and to the site’s developers, EDF Energy for engaging fully with the Group. I am confident the cooperation and open dialogue we have seen during the Group’s inquiries will continue as we all reflect on the roles we must play to support the Estuary’s resilience.
It is a wide-ranging report. It addresses the effect of the development on the Severn Estuary ecosystem and on the health of fish species; the Cardiff Grounds and the arrangements for marine dredging and disposal; emergency and contingency planning arrangements; and the relationship between regulatory and planning regimes in Wales and England.
This report is a valuable source of evidence and advice. It highlights the importance of considering major projects through the lens of the Well-being Future Generations Act. It reminds us of the economic and environmental importance of the Severn Estuary and it will make a substantial contribution to our work in relation to both.