Gareth Jones has provided continued socio-economic support to Somerset County Council on the case for the development of a nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset since 2011. His role has been to identify any negative impacts, and develop mitigation strategies; as well identifying positive impacts and develop strategies to enhance these positive impacts. His work has covered a wide range of areas including:
- Working with the district councils to prepare a s106 case for tourism mitigation related to the site preparatory works planning application
- Responses to technical papers developed by the district councils’ consultants and EDF Energy’s consultants; and support to responses to other consultation events
- Working with EDF Energy and the district councils to prepare a low carbon economy plan for Somerset
- Development of a business case for a nuclear business cluster programme for Somerset, including the case for a business incubation programme
- Preparation of an application for a low carbon energy Enterprise Zone for the Heart of the South West LEP area
- Assessment of the overall economic impact of the HPC development; and assessment of displacement effect on the Somerset economy and commissioning of market research to evidence this
- Leading on the preparation of s106 cases for: a nuclear business cluster; business displacement throughout the Somerset economy; and tourism
- Supporting other members of the SCC Economy Team with the preparation of s106 cases for: broadband; local economic assessment; and education, skills and workforce engagement
Gareth’s involvement in Hinkley Point C can be categorised into three broad topics: input to planning processes, understanding the impacts of Hinkley Point C and mitigating the impacts.
Input to planning processes involved preparing many documents and responses as part of the formal planning process and attending the DCO hearings to support Somerset County Council inputs to these hearings. Specifically, this included documentary reviews of Environmental Impact Assessments prepared by the applicant, delivering a socio-economic and economic competitiveness chapter of the Local Impact Report as part of the DCO application process and preparing a statement of common ground with EDF Energy to inform the DCO application process.
Understanding the impacts of Hinkley Point C concerned analysing all development proposals and the applicants assessment of the potential economic impacts, subsequently providing a critical review of this to determine how comprehensive it was and outlining improvements that could be made. Additionally, Gareth carried out research to understand both positive and negative impacts of Hinkley Point C on the Somerset tourism sector.
Work to mitigate these impacts was wide ranging. Gareth worked with Somerset County Council to prepare a cluster development plan for a nuclear and low carbon energy cluster in Somerset, helped draft strategic plans for investing EU funds to support cluster and business growth in the county, developed a programme of activities to mitigate negative economic impact and maximise economic benefits, and developed a business plan and funding applications from first principles for an innovation centre to support the growth of a local carbon energy cluster. Funding applications for implementation of these interventions were subsequently successful in securing EU funds. A Tourism Action Plan, which built on the research previously undertaken, was prepared to guide interventions to support the tourism sector. Gareth also contributed through case making for investment in new road and broadband infrastructure, as well as the establishment of an Enterprise Zone.
Gareth’s work was a key element of the process for developing and testing the application which was approved by the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) in 2013.
Currently, Gareth is working with Somerset County Council to develop a vision for the long-term legacy of Hinkley Point C which sets out strategic priorities for the future of Somerset considering business, people and place and aims to establish Somerset as an attractive place for further nuclear and low carbon energy.