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Hitachi’s decision to pause the Wylfa nuclear project puts businesses in ‘jeopardy’

Hitachi’s decision to pause the £13bn Wylfa Newydd Nuclear project will put businesses in jeopardy, a leading business organisation has said.

The Japanese tech firm has said it’s putting the construction of the site on hold in North Wales as the project’s cost continues to rise.

With many Welsh and UK businesses forming part of the supply chain for the project, concerns have been raised that it could put firms at risk. A great deal has already been invested, not just in terms of physical capital but also the time that engineering and construction firms have spent planning and attending buyer-events.

Wylfa Newydd joins a long list of projects including the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon and electrification of the Great Western Mainline that have been delayed, cancelled or scaled back.

Commenting on the news that Hitachi has suspended work on the Wylfa Newydd Nuclear project, Debbie Bryce, Chief Executive Officer at the West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce said:
“The news that Hitachi have suspended work on the Wylfa Newydd project is devastating for North Wales and the country as a whole.
“This decision has a knock-on effect throughout North Wales as the project would have brought much needed jobs and investment into the region. Many Welsh businesses have spent time and resources in a bid to be part of the Wylfa supply chain and these firms will be extremely frustrated that yet another major Welsh project has fallen through.
“The Chamber of Commerce have been an avid supporter of the project since its launch and we will continue to engage with Horizon Nuclear Power going forward and support them in any way possible.”
Harri Lloyd-Davies, President of the South Wales Chamber of Commerce continued:
“This decision by Hitachi has a knock-on effect to businesses across Wales. Hundreds of firms have expressed an interest in being part of the supply chain for Wylfa Newydd and attended supplier events, including one as late as October last year. The preparations and investments made by these companies is now in jeopardy.
“Being part of the supply chain for a major project is the lifeblood for many of our engineering and construction firms but too many get shelved. Wylfa Newydd joins a long list of projects including the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon and electrification of the Great Western Mainline that have been delayed, cancelled or scaled back. I don’t know if it’s because our politicians are scared of taking the big decisions, or if our governments fail to instil confidence in international investors but we don’t seem to be able to deliver on major projects in Wales anymore.
“Many Chamber of Commerce members tell me that they are no longer willing to invest the effort in preparing for supply chain opportunities in Wales as the chances of them happening is slim. It is extremely disappointing that the fantastic firms we have here, who supply in to projects in other parts of the UK and across the world, no longer have confidence in projects in their own country. It is an inditement of both the Welsh and UK governments.
“The next big test is whether the M4 Relief Road will be built, or will the Welsh Government revert to type and cancel another major project.”
Following the announcement earlier today, the North Wales Economic Ambition Board has issued the following statement:
“The North Wales Economic Ambition Board will meet with politicians and business leaders on Monday to discuss concerns following the announcement Hitachi plans to halt work on the Wylfa Newydd nuclear plant. We will explore ways forward and consider the potential impact on the North Wales economy going forward.”
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