CUTTING edge plans for a prototype nuclear fusion power plant which aims to provide “limitless” green power have received the backing of civic leaders in Gloucestershire, writes Carmelo Garcia.

The Severn Edge bid for the Berkeley and Oldbury sites has been shortlisted down to one of five of the possible places the reactor could be built in the UK.

Councillors say the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production programme aims to support the country’s transformation to a low carbon economy.

If successful, the Severn Edge nomination could be given the go-ahead by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy by the end of 2022 and it is planned to be in operation around 2040.

Councillors say the prototype plant could lead to thousands of highly skilled jobs being created across the region which would provide a massive boost to economic regeneration.

They say it would also put Gloucestershire at the forefront of decarbonised energy production and establish the county as a leader in tackling climate change.

Environment and planning cabinet member David Gray (Con, Winchcombe and Woodmancote) said the shortlisting reflected the great work being done by council officers and the county’s credentials.

“We need a greener Gloucestershire, a greener UK and most importantly a greener world as we all share one environment.

“This opportunity is a possible step change in our fight against climate change.”

Councillor Philip Robinson (Con, Mitcheldean) explained the theory behind nuclear fusion and said the prototype reactor would benefit the county’s economy.

“Within five years we would see thousands of highly skilled jobs being created,” he said.

“Fusion offers limitless green energy, it offers sustained economic growth and this county needs it as a major part of its post pandemic economic reset.”

The council voted to fully commit to working with Western Gateway partners to deliver the project in Gloucestershire.

A total of 48 councillors voted in support.

The motion was backed by the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour and one Green Party councillor. While three other Green councillors abstained.