Hinkley Point given green light following 'new agreement'

Are the dark clouds above Hinkley Point about to clear? Credit: PA

The Government has given the final go ahead for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset, following a "new agreement" with EDF.

More: What could it mean for you?

Ministers said the agreement "in principle" means that the Government will be able to prevent the sale of EDF's controlling stake before completion of construction.

Having thoroughly reviewed the proposal for Hinkley Point C, we will introduce a series of measures to enhance security and will ensure Hinkley cannot change hands without the Government's agreement.

Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Theresa May delayed making a final decision on the controversial £18 billion pound project earlier this year, saying she wanted more time to consider the cost to the taxpayer.

This followed EDF's own delays in making an investment decision which split the board, and led to one member resigning after claiming the whole project was too "risky".

The on-off saga has been going for years, and many of its critics say the numbers simply don't add up.

The go ahead will undoubtedly spark a fresh row about the high cost of energy from Hinkley, with EDF being paid £92.50 per megawatt hour of electricity generated.

However supporters simply point to the boost this would give the South West economy and the need for power:

25000

Construction workers employed over a 9-year period

5000

Workers employed from Somerset alone

7%

of the UK's electricity needs would be served by the site

5.8 mil

Number of homes that could be powered by energy from Hinkley Point C

9 yrs

Total time scheduled for the build

Meanwhile campaigners are handing a petition at Downing Street this morning calling for the Hinkley Point nuclear power station project to be scrapped.

Stop Hinkley and Greenpeace say their petition has been signed three hundred thousand times. It calls on Theresa May to invest in renewable power instead - a debate which is set to intensify over the coming days.