With work underway at Hinkley Point C on the Bristol Channel, Somerset and the wider region is already enjoying a major boost from Europe’s largest building project and the prospect of the UK’s first new nuclear power station presently scheduled for completion by 2025.
Hinkley offers Somerset and its economy an unprecedented opportunity over the coming decades to become a centre for nuclear, engineering and technological knowhow, with associated supply chains and centres of training that will ensure that the £20bn project has lasting benefit for the county.
But activity is not confined to the new nuclear facility on the Somerset coast. In recent months, ground has been broken on the new logistics hub Bridgwater Gateway, plans are underway for the Huntspill Energy Park and 3,000 new jobs are set to be created at Taunton’s Nexus 25 business park.
And, in Taunton, a series of development are transforming the prospects of the county centre – which was recently named as one of a new wave of “garden towns” – including the Firepool waterfront initiative which is one of the largest regeneration projects underway in the South West.
The debate will assess the opportunities on offer across Somerset, and what the future could hold for the county and its economy to 2030. We’ll consider big trends such as decarbonisation, digitalisation and population aging and what these could spell for the future shape of Somerset.