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Sizewell C: Leading politicians vow to keep up pressure on EDF over A12 bypass

PUBLISHED: 11:13 22 November 2012

County councillor Guy McGregor.

County councillor Guy McGregor.

Archant

LEADING politicians have vowed to hold tough negotiations with EDF and the government to try to ensure the four villages bypass is included in improvements to the road network.

Suffolk County Councillor with responsibility for transport and planning Guy McGregor said that the lack of the full bypass could be a “deal-breaker” which would lead to the authority formally objecting to proposed development.

He said: “We have always accepted there is a need for nuclear power in the energy mix in this country and that it is established on this site.

“But we are not prepared to accept it at any price and the A12 needs a new road bypassing the four villages.

“We want to see more about how they reached their conclusions that they would only add about 5-15% of the traffic on the A12 and the fact is that it is absolutely vital that the bypass is build as part of this project.”

Mr McGregor said the French government-owned firm had been much more generous in other projects – at Hinkley in Somerset and when developing new sites in its homeland.

He said the proposals from EDF for improvements to the A12 at Farnham were nowhere near enough and warned that the only credible option, a short bypass for Farnham village, would effectively kill any hopes for a bypass for the four villages.

Mr McGregor said: “The four villages bypass is absolutely vital to ease the traffic as Sizewell C is being built. And it is also vital for the future prosperity of the whole of east Suffolk – improving links to Lowestoft, the Leiston area, the whole of that part of the county. If we have to formally object to the power station in order to get that, then so be it.”

The four villages bypass would be about six miles long, linking the northern end of the Wickham Market bypass with the dual carriageway at Benhall – avoiding Marlesford, Little Glemham, Stratford St Andrew, and Farnham.

In 2006 the cost of the road was estimated at £32million for a single carriageway road and £56m for a dual carriageway stretch.

Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey agreed that it was important to keep pressure on EDF to think again about the bypass.

She said: “I know they say that most of their materials will come to the site by rail or by sea, but I want to see how they reached the figure of traffic increasing by only 5-15%.

“They have come up with three options for Farnham. Two are just silly and one (the short bypass) looks just about credible but it would effectively kill off the bypass that is really needed.

“There needs to be firm negotiations with EDF on this and to find a way through – this road is needed and the company needs to be persuaded to help with this project.”

Andy Smith, Suffolk Coastal District Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for planning, said the potential development of Sizewell C represented a tremendous opportunity for the area, especially for employment.

“But both the construction and later operation of the station will inevitably be quite intrusive to this beautiful part of the world, especially Leiston and the nearby villages,” he said.

“We shall therefore be working very hard with EDF and others to ensure that we maximise the benefits and minimise the disruption, and have already done a lot of early work on that in recent months and years.

“We welcome this early consultation by EDF and hope that everyone who has an interest or concern will take the chance to find out the facts and make sure they put their views and concerns into the debate, as we shall be doing as representatives of our electors.”

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