BUSINESSES in Essex and Suffolk are being encouraged to bid for £500 million worth of contracts as part of the development of nuclear power plant Hinkley Point C.
A supply chain seminar set up by Invest Essex with partners Lloyds Banking Group, Invest in Suffolk, Suffolk and Essex Chambers of Commerce and EDF Energy took place in Braintree, and a second one is planned for February in Suffolk.
The seminar was created to allow local businesses to get involved with Hinkley Point C in Somerset, ahead of plans for two further nuclear power stations at Sizewell C in Suffolk and Bradwell B in Essex.
“Business doesn’t see a county border, just opportunities. It’s a challenge for both Essex and Suffolk to maximise the supply opportunities, which is why Invest Essex put this event together so that, with our partners in Suffolk, we can help get companies into the nuclear supply chain,” said Robert Edge Inward Investment Manager at Invest Essex.
Hinkley Point C is the first new nuclear reactor to be built in the UK for 30 years – a joint venture formed by EDF of France and CGN of China. The construction process (expected to create 25,000 jobs) started in 2016 and the plant is scheduled to start generating by the end of 2025.
Essex and Suffolk companies were encouraged to obtain experience of working at Hinkley Point C as it would be valuable for supplying the two region’s power stations.
The power stations in Suffolk and Essex are set to move into the construction stage in the early-mid 2020s. Since their construction periods will overlap, EDF wishes to see Essex and Suffolk as a single ‘local’ market for both projects.
Harwich International Port, located in the east of the county of Essex, also has the scope to transport construction materials by sea to both counties. Harwich International Port is one of the UK’s leading multi-purpose freight and passenger ports and offers first class facilities for container and bulk operations.
One Essex-based company already involved with Hinkley Point C is Geocurve, from Kelvedon – a survey company which specialises in an application that provides a drone to Hinkley for a topographical monthly site survey.
Geocurve Managing Director Gary Nel was one of the speakers at the Braintree event and was hugely encouraged by what he heard over the course of the day.
“Such events are pro-nuclear job creation and bring a lot to the business community. Specifically, there is so much opportunity for the Essex and Suffolk communities at Sizewell and Bradwell but it is important to get on early. One of the things I took from this event was that it is imperative for Essex and Suffolk companies not to wait until the nuclear power stations are built here – transfer skills developed at Hinkley over to Essex and Suffolk in the future. Being such a specialised business, we want to get on the EDF supply chain now and other companies should also be looking to do the same, to make that transfer to Sizewell and Bradwell simpler,” said Gary.
Hinkley Point C is one of UK’s biggest investment and construction projects and Lloyds Banking Group are working with businesses in the East of England to help them benefit from the supply chain opportunities.
Gareth Oakley, Managing Director of Business Banking for Lloyds Banking Group for the East of England, unveiled plans for a dedicated £100m infrastructure fund put up by Lloyds to help meet the demand. The fund will also be offering mentoring and advice for Essex and Suffolk businesses to capitalise on the £500m worth of contracts as part of the development of Hinkley Point C.
“The support we’re offering forms part of our Helping Britain Prosper Plan, which takes us beyond business as usual, tackling the social and economic issues that matter most to people, businesses and communities. We identified Hinkley Point C as a significant development for small businesses and our message to them is – we want to help you take advantage of the opportunity, position your business and secure contracts,” said Gareth.
Due to the success of the over-subscribed event in Braintree, a follow-up is now planned for next year in Suffolk, sponsored by Lloyds. If you are interested in the next planned event in February, please email firstname.lastname@example.org