Hinkley Point C nuclear power station gets go-ahead – with landscape by Gillespies
France’s EDF Energy will lead a consortium, which includes the China General Nuclear Corporation and China National Nuclear Corporation as minority shareholders, building the plant.
Grimshaw is architect for the main power station work and Gillespies has undertaken the landscape and visual impact assessments (LVIAs), the landscape strategy, masterplan and landscape design.
Hinkley Point C (HPC) will be the first new nuclear power station to be built since Sizewell B, which started generating electricity in 1995. It will generate enough electricity to power nearly six million homes, or an area twice the size of London.
EDF will make its final investment decision on the scheme by next summer with the entire scheme expected to cost £14 billion to build plus a further £2 billion of other costs.
The Hinkley Point C ‘Pre-Application Consultation Stage 2’ document notes that the landscape scheme within the permanent development site comprises a series of linear strips of paving and planting. ‘These organise the site uses in bands running north to south from the coastal to the agrarian landscape in a limited area on the southern boundary of the site and possibly between buildings.’ This, it adds, ‘reinforces the geometric rules inherent in the concept of the masterplan’.
Gillespies was commissioned by EDF Energy to undertake the LVIAs for the environmental statement as well as landscape strategies for the main site and off-site associated facilities. These include accommodation campuses, a wharf and freight-handling facilities, park-and-ride schemes and a new bypass. The work covers the construction phase and restoration proposals as well as the permanent effects of the development.
Viewed potentially from sensitive locations up to 25km away, including a national park, Gillespies’ LVIAs required extensive visual surveys, 3D modelling studies and the creation of photomontages for the assessment of the visual impact.
This assessment was accompanied by landscape and visual mitigation measures, including landform modelling and advice to the project engineers and architects.
Gillespies says it worked to minimise the visual impact of the the built form through a landscape and ecological strategy for mitigation during construction and eventual restoration of the construction site.
The vision for the landscape restoration of the site has been developed from a set of key design principles, explains a spokesperson. These are: integrating the HPC development into the landscape; protecting and enhancing biodiversity; addressing the needs of local residents; minimising impacts on the setting of key local heritage and landscape assets and providing access and amenity.