HARTLEPOOL could be in line for a multi-million pound cash injection if the area accepts a new nuclear power station on their doorstep.
The Government has pledged to pay communities millions of pounds in benefits for hosting new nuclear reactors in their area.
The plans were set out by Energy Minister Michael Fallon and will see local authorities benefit for up to the first 10 years of operation of a nuclear power plant from a share of the increased business rates revenues that will be generated.
The second phase of the programme will deliver annual taxpayer-funded payments between 2030 and 2060 from the Department of Energy and Climate Change to communities hosting nuclear power plants.
Mr Fallon said: “New nuclear will have a central role to play in our energy strategy, providing heat and light to homes across the country.
“It is absolutely essential that we recognise the contributions of those communities that host major new energy projects.
“This package is in the interests of local people, who will manage it to ensure long-term meaningful benefit to the community.
“It’s proportionate to the scale and lifespan of new nuclear power stations and it builds on the major economic benefits they will bring in terms of jobs, investment and use of local services.”
The Government has identified Hartlepool, along with seven other sites in the UK, as being suitable for building the next generation of nuclear reactors.
A new Hartlepool nuclear power station would employ approximately 450 highly-skilled people over 70 years. During construction up to 3,000 staff would be needed over a five year construction period.
The station would generate enough energy to power 1.5m homes.
But Hartlepool is not in the first wave of planned new reactors.
The plans ould be worth about £128 million to the area around Hinkley Point, Somerset, where the Government hopes EDF will build the first of a new generation of nuclear power plants.
A spokesman for EDF Energy welcomed the proposal and said communities should gain. He said: “EDF Energy is pleased to see the Government’s decision regarding the provision of community benefit for local communities hosting new nuclear build projects.
“It is our belief that some business rates raised locally should be of benefit locally and the proposed scheme reflects that.