Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport
Yesterday, the UK Government announced that it is entering into negotiations with Hitachi on the proposed Wylfa Newydd project. Following my discussions with the Secretary of State for Wales and Horizon Nuclear Power, I very much welcome this announcement.
The £15 billion Wylfa Newydd new build project will be the single largest investment project in Wales over the next 10 years. Indeed, it is the largest private sector investment in Wales in a generation which comes with real economic transformation potential. We have been engaged with the project over a number of years, working closely with Ynys Môn County Council, as the host local planning authority, Horizon Nuclear Power and other key stakeholders.
Our close working relationship with these stakeholders is focused on securing a lasting legacy for Wales. We will continue to build on this work to ensure impacts are mitigated and benefits are realised for Anglesey and the wider regional economy. Part of this legacy will be the development of a skilled workforce and the development of a robust and capable supply chain in Wales. We have a skilled and committed nuclear workforce which places Welsh based companies in a good position to take advantage of the opportunities that will arise, across the UK and globally. We have been putting appropriate measures in place to support the supply chain across the main project areas of construction, engineering and manufacturing, such as the Fit4Nuclear and Construction Futures Wales programmes for many years. Similarly, we look forward and expect to work closely with the UK Government on the UK Nuclear Sector Deal which we believe will be announced soon. More widely, the announcement aligns with our vision of delivering prosperity in regions and dovetails with the progress being made on the North Wales Growth Deal and my Regional Economic Plan.
The announcement also coincides with the news that the Wylfa Newydd Development Consent Order application was successfully submitted by Horizon Nuclear Power on 1 June to the UK Planning Inspectorate. This is the first step in formally acquiring the necessary planning and regulatory permits for the project and we very much welcome the submission as an important project milestone. Of critical importance, we will continue to work closely with our partners to ensure that during the Development Consent Order process and beyond, the position of local communities and Wales more widely is robustly upheld. We will only succeed in doing this through close alignment and continued collaborative working.
As the project progresses to the next stage of the Contract for Difference negotiations, it is imperative the Welsh Government’s role is fully recognised by the UK Government. Decisions made at a UK and Japan level will have a direct bearing on Wales. We therefore expect the UK Government and the developer to work closely with us to ensure that every opportunity is realised and benefit is secured in respect of this UK nationally significant infrastructure project. In parallel, we will seek to ensure that mitigations are secured for impacts such that any calls on the Welsh public purse are minimised.
While we recognise that there is still some way to go before Hitachi is able to take a Final Investment Decision, yesterday’s announcement provides a significant confidence boost that the outcome for Wylfa Newydd will be positive, subject to full Government, regulatory and other approvals, including but not limited to ,value for money, due diligence and state aid requirements.
I will continue to keep Members updated as matters progress.