Sunday 28 August 2016 1:58 pm

EDF chief urges government to approve Hinkley Point

The boss of the company looking to build the Hinkley Point nuclear power station has urged government to move forward with the plans.

EDF's chief executive Vincent de Rivaz has intervened to defend the £18bn project after the UK government pushed back the decision date for the power station; a verdict from Prime Minister Theresa May is expected in the next few weeks. 

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, de Rivaz said Hinkley Point "will have a lasting impact on our industrial capacity and will create thousands of jobs and hundreds of apprenticeships".

Hinkley's detractors "risk losing sight of the bigger picture by overlooking the positive impact and importance of this investment for Britain – and ignoring the basic and unchanged facts which underpin the project."

Read more: Britain doesn't need Hinkley to keep the lights on, SSE says

Think-tank the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit recently said ditching the plans for Hinkley Point could save UK taxpayers £1bn every year.

But de Rivaz argued today that Hinkley Point is a vital investment for England.

"Billions of pounds will be invested into the economy of the south-west of England. Across Britain, dozens of companies and our own workforce are ready to deliver this project," de Rivaz said. "Their motivation remains high and they are looking forward to getting on with the job."

He added: "Detractors have filled many column inches and broadcast hours. We have chosen to let policymakers focus on the facts."

Seeking to calm any nerves about China General Nuclear Power – a Chinese firm jointly investing in Hinkley Point that is facing a nuclear espionage charge in the United States – de Rivaz said: "We know and trust our Chinese partners."