SOMERSET firms hoping to secure lucrative Hinkley Point C business have been warned that being local won’t guarantee them a contract.

More than 60 businesses filled the Walnut Tree Hotel in North Petherton this month to hear Hinkley C commercial director Ken Owen outline EDF Energy’s commitment to using the Somerset supply chain.

Mr Owen warned that while EDF’s preference is to work with a local supply chain where feasible, before engaging with a UK national or multinational company it would only reward those firms capable of offering value for money.

He said: “It’s a key part of our supply chain strategy that Somerset businesses have every chance to get involved in the project.

“Alongside Somerset Chamber of Commerce we’re helping local firms appreciate what opportunities there are, but, more importantly, what local businesses need to do, not only to compete, but to win.”

EDFEnergy has advisedtier 1 and 2 contractors – the biggest firms carrying out the biggest work, such as bringing in construction materials – that they will be assessed on how actively they are working with the local supply chain.

Somerset Chamber of Commerce is working with EDF on projects to support this strategy, including creating two steering groups focusing on construction and service opportunities.

Local businesses are also being asked to “think creatively” on how they can work together to win Hinkley C business.

Chris Langdon, who leads the Hinkley C Supply Chain on behalf of the Somerset Chamber, said: “Ken Owen’s commitment to create real opportunity for Somerset suppliers at Hinkley C is both encouraging and challenging for the Somerset business community.

“It’s now up to each and every business to fully understand what will be required of themto ensure that they don’t miss out due to lack of preparation.

“Being local might start the conversation, but it won’t win the contract unless suppliers also bring best value safely and at the required level of quality.”

Hinkley C is expected to create 25,000 jobs during its construction phase with up to 1,000 specialist nuclear jobs required during the 60-year lifespan of the two reactors.