Despite a recent statement by a government official that all major projects initiated under previous administrations will be subject to review, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak denied claims that the Sizewell C nuclear power plant initiative in southeastern England was one of those slated to be delayed or put under closer scrutiny.
Speaking through a representative, Sunak expressed hopes that ongoing talks with private enterprise groups for additional funding for the aforementioned power plant will yield relevant results soon. At present, any discussions regarding the involvement of the private sector in Sizewell C were noted to be constructive, though negotiations are still in progress.
Sizewell C is not expected to be operational until the mid-2030s. However, it is projected to provide around 7% of the country’s total power requirements. Critics have already said that the plant would be an expensive white elephant. Still, Sizewell C was among the manifesto pledges made in 2019 and is unlikely to be scrapped.
What’s Getting the Ax?
Given this, Sizewell C is apparently a hands-off matter for those seeking to shelve government initiatives in the name of cutting back costs. Nevertheless, many projects committed by immediate-past Prime Minister Liz Truss are likely to be trimmed down.
Grant Shapps, the newly-hailed Business Secretary for the UK, revealed that a plan to build a high-speed railway link in Northern England is among those most likely to be scaled back. Known as the Northern Powerhouse Rail, the initiative would have connected numerous communities between Hull and Liverpool via Bradford.
However, the new government noted that there is, at present, no point in pushing forward with the initiative and that digging new tunnels in the Pennines was unnecessary.
This statement was met with rancor by Northern Powerhouse Partnership CEO Henri Murison, who declared that scaling back or shelving the railroad project would lead to awkward questions regarding the government’s growth strategies.
Murison added that the deplorable state of transportation infrastructure in Northern England is a serious issue. It is weighing down the UK economy and hampering the inflow of private investments.
However, as Northern Powerhouse Rail remains in its earliest stages of development, much of the investment it requires is beyond the spending review period.
Nevertheless, government representatives have noted that several options were being considered to improve the state of transportation in the affected region. The UK transportation ministry is currently in the process of studying the feasibility of such measures.