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"Lost time can be recovered: lost lives cannot,” as Hinkley C scaled back

The West Somerset MP has welcomed plans to scale back the workforce at Hinkley C in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The number is being cut by half to around 2,000 in the coming days, with further reductions expected 'as work already in progress is completed'.

Ian Liddell-Grainger, Conservative member for Bridgwater and West Somerset, said he was 'relieved by the decision' – 'as would be many other people'.

He added: "I've been getting a lot of calls from local families inquiring about the wisdom of maintaining such a large cluster of people working closely together without any real possibility of implementing social distancing – either on the actual site itself or in the canteens and hostels, or in the buses carrying staff in and out.”

“Because there is such a large workforce drawn from such a large area those concerns have extended beyond the immediate vicinity and are now being voiced across a wide area of the county.

“I am grateful EDF has taken this decision. We all know the national importance of this huge project but at a time like this we have to put health concerns first.

“Lost time can be recovered: lost lives cannot.”

EDF confirmed in a statement: "The project will preserve the UK’s specialist nuclear supply chain and its skilled workers by focusing on critical work on nuclear parts of the project.  

"Keeping this capability intact is essential for a project of critical national importance and an industry which plays a key role in helping the UK reach net zero.

"We will work in a focused and limited way with split shifts, extra buses and staggered breaks. 

"Reduced numbers will allow easier social distancing in operational areas and sites such as canteens. 

"Steps already in place include: shutting our Bristol head office,  working from home for those that can, temperature checks on people entering the site, extra cleaning, changes in movement patterns, closure of bars and gyms.

"We are aware that many people and families in the locality depend on us and we will work with them to mitigate the impact of our reduced activity. 

"We will consider how our resources can be used to help the community in the current crisis.

"We will continue to work with the trade unions and our supply chain to keep people safe and help them deal with the developing situation.

"The safety of workers and the community is the first priority at Hinkley Point C and a wide range of measures have already been put in place to protect workers and prevent the spread of infection."

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