From a community leaders summit held yesterday, a clear message has emerged for EDF Energy – there is still much work to be done before Suffolk gets the deal it deserves.
Almost 80 town and parish council representatives and members of the Joint Local Authority Group (JLAG) were in agreement that although plans have moved on, not nearly enough progress has been made since EDF Energy’s first stage of consultation closed almost four years ago.
The key areas raised by the community as part of the event were:
- Accommodation – concerns were voiced relating to having a single accommodation campus in the suggested location due to a lack of infrastructure supporting the local area. The transport needed to move workers around would overload the local roads
- Community – some were not satisfied that EDF fully understands the communities of East Suffolk. For example, there are already significant pressures on local facilities including health services and leisure facilities and it will be important to see further investment to make sure that services are there for generations to come.
- Construction – delegates raised concerns around EDF’s proposals to have spoil heaps 35 metres high (equivalent to a 10 storey building). The potential for visual, noise and dust impacts for those living and visiting the area is likely to be significant and there is not yet clear what the mitigation for this will be. Delegates also said there is still no clear indication how much material will be brought in via the different methods – road, sea and rail. EDF needs to make this clearer so communities can understand the impact on roads in the area.
- Economy and skills – it will be important that there is the necessary transport options in place to enable local young people to attend post 16 education centres to gain the skills needed to benefit from the employment opportunities that Sizewell C would offer. Delegates were also keen that EDF committed to not simply ‘bussing’ in workers from elsewhere in the country, bypassing the local workforce
- Transport – there remains strong support for SEGway (4 Village Bypass), including from both councils.
- Environment – the consultation highlights an increased height of platform from 6.3 metres to 7.3 metres. This has the potential to have significant impact on coastal processes
Suffolk County Councillor Guy McGregor, Chair of Sizewell C Joint Local Authorities Group (JLAG) said:
“Events such as these are extremely important to ensure that we can understand and represent the views of local communities in the very best way possible. The resounding view in the room was that much more detailed information is still required from EDF Energy to enable local communities and us as local authorities to effectively respond to the proposed development.
“As a Joint Local Authority Group, we are working hard for Suffolk people. However, it is important that as many people as possible provide their views to EDF Energy. I would urge all local communities to submit views ahead of the Friday 3 February 2017 deadline.”
As part of stage one of EDF Energy’s consultation, JLAG set out the key areas that Suffolk people had said were the key elements of the project that EDF Energy needed to address. These were:
- Sizewell C to be managed as an environmental exemplar project
- The design of the facility to be fitting with the coastal location and the area of outstanding natural beauty that it would be located within
- The need for a four villages bypass on the A12
- The environmental and community impacts for Yoxford, Middleton and Theberton that would come with the predicted substantial increase in traffic on the B1122 must be fully addressed by EDF Energy.
- Effective mitigation to be made in relation to the impact of the construction phase
- A clear explanation is needed as to why a single campus is less damaging than alternatives
- Maximum education and employment benefits for local people
- An effective community impact strategy to be in place
Suffolk Coastal District Councillor Geoff Holdcroft, Vice Chairman of Sizewell C Joint Local Authorities Group (JLAG) said:
“The discussions yesterday have been extremely valuable and informative and has helped to reinforce views previously gathered. I would like to thank all those that took the time to attend. The views we have heard will inform the response that we send back to EDF Energy.
“The construction and operation of this nuclear power station will bring a massive boost to the economy of east Suffolk, but we need to make sure we get it right for our local communities. I would encourage everyone to make sure they get actively involved in the consultation. Local people need to make sure they have their say, as this project will affect their lives for years to come.”
Details of the joint response submitted to EDF Energy at Stage 1.
For EDF Energy’s consultation materials.