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Local businesses urged to grasp multi-million-pound nuclear supply chain opportunity

Businesses in Essex and Suffolk are being encouraged to bid for £500 million worth of contracts as part of the development of Hinkley Point C.

EDF Energy, which is building the new nuclear power plant in partnership with CGN, has identified £500m worth of contracts and is keen for companies in Suffolk and Essex to apply.

EDF Energy, Invest ESSEX, Invest in Suffolk, Suffolk and Essex Chambers of Commerce, and Lloyds Banking Group recently held an event to explain how they can support businesses in bidding for contracts.

As part of the event, Lloyds Banking Group provided further details of its dedicated £100m infrastructure fund to help organisations scale-up to meet the demand.

The fund is designed to provide SME businesses with the financial backing to bid for supply chain contracts. In addition, the bank is working closely with potential suppliers to advise on how best to address skills shortages, improve financial practices and explore the possibility of joint ventures, as a way of securing contracts.

A further two nuclear power stations are set to be developed in Suffolk and Essex in the next ten years, presenting a long-term opportunity for local businesses.

Robert Edge, Invest ESSEX Inward Investment Manager, commented: “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.”

Speaking about the opportunity Gareth Oakley, Lloyds Banking Group Ambassador for the East of England, said: “Hinkley Point C is one of UK’s biggest investment and construction projects and we’re working with businesses in the East of England to help them benefit from the supply chain opportunities.

“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.”

One such 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. Gary said: “I thought the event was very worthwhile and I came away with a lot of questions answered – which is a huge positive.

“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.”

Organisations that wish to apply for contracts, as part of the Hinkley Point C development, should register their interest at: www.hinkleysupplychain.co.uk.