County Council unable to support plans for Sizewell C

Published

Suffolk County Council has stated it cannot support EDF Energy’s plans for Sizewell C in its current form.

In papers published today, Councillor Richard Rout, Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection at Suffolk County Council, has made it clear Suffolk County Council cannot support EDF Energy’s plans for Sizewell C in their current form.

The report, and accompanying supporting documents, will be discussed at Cabinet on Tuesday 22 September focusing on significant concerns regarding transport impacts, site design and the environmental impact on the Suffolk coast which remain unanswered by EDF Energy. If Cabinet agrees the report, details of the Council’s position will be shared as Relevant Representations with the Government’s Planning Inspectorate which is overseeing the process for this proposed development.

It is very clear from the Council’s representations that the current proposals do not sufficiently avoid, minimise, mitigate or compensate impacts of the proposed development. Many issues raised in previous rounds of consultations remain outstanding, and the lack of improvement and progress regarding many of these issues is very disappointing considering how early in the development process the Council raised its concerns. The draft Relevant Representation document under consideration at Cabinet fully details the Council’s proposed position and lists the areas where it believes EDF Energy needs to undertake further work.

Suffolk County Council has always supported the principle of a new nuclear power station at Sizewell and recognises that Sizewell C would offer an important contribution to the national energy strategy. The council would also welcome the benefits of new jobs and skills. However, it cannot support the current proposals presented by EDF Energy as they stand today.

The council does not support EDF Energy’s proposed transport strategy as it remains predominantly lorry-based and in the council’s view is unsustainable. The authority strongly believes that an increased proportion of rail and sea transport is reasonably achievable and in its current form, the transport impacts on Suffolk’s highway network are unacceptable.

The draft Relevant Representation document published today goes into greater detail on other areas of concern, which include:

  • Proposals to have additional pylons on site
  • Ecological damage
  • Suitable mitigation to protect local wildlife species
  • Appropriate levels of funding for mitigation measures and compensation to support the impact on the local community and related infrastructure

Councillor Richard Rout, Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection at Suffolk County Council, said:

“I cannot support EDF Energy’s proposal as it currently stands. I have huge concerns regarding a number of impacts that I do not believe EDF Energy has appropriately addressed.

“On behalf of the communities around this area of East Suffolk and the wider county, we have repeatedly asked EDF Energy to explore alternative methods of delivering key aspects of this development to reduce the impact on local people and wildlife. We remain very disappointed that the transport strategy presented by EDF Energy relies heavily on road-based haulage for materials. In its current form, we don’t believe it is a sustainable solution with its massive impact on the environment and our communities and a much higher number of heavy goods vehicles taking to Suffolk’s roads than our existing infrastructure can handle.

“We believe there needs to be much more work done to increase rail or sea transport to alleviate some of the pressure due to be put on our road network and our communities.

“We cannot look past the significant environmental impacts that have not been mitigated nearly as much as we would expect. We believe the proposed use of pylons is an unnecessary blight on the landscape and the effects on local wildlife and wider environment have not been mitigated to our satisfaction. Therefore, we believe serious discussions are required to explore what further avoidance, mitigation and compensation can be offered should the Secretary of State decide to give his approval at this point.”

Councillor Matthew Hicks, Leader of Suffolk County Council, added:

“Suffolk County Council has always supported the principle of a new nuclear power station at Sizewell, recognising the important contribution to the national energy strategy and the large economic boost such a development could bring to our county. Our position has always been that we needed to see if the advantages could outweigh the disadvantages. Unfortunately, as these plans stand, the disadvantages heavily outweigh the advantages. There is much work for EDF to do in addressing our concerns and the concerns of our communities.”

The Council accepts that EDF Energy has addressed some of the authority’s previous concerns following successful representations from both Suffolk County Council and East Suffolk Council alongside local stakeholders. These areas include; improvements to the design of non-nuclear buildings on site, removal of the training centre away from its proposed location at Goose Hill in the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a Public Services Fund to mitigate costs for County Council services.

To view the Cabinet report and accompanying draft Relevant Representation document, visit committeeminutes.suffolk.gov.uk.