Government urged to delay Sizewell C decision over ‘disdainful’ lack of detail
PUBLISHED: 06:02 16 December 2019 | UPDATED: 08:34 16 December 2019
An MP has called on the Secretary of State for Energy to postpone a decision on Suffolk’s new nuclear power station bid – accusing developers of failing to address community concerns.
Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dan Poulter told Andrea Leadsom that EDF Energy's latest consultation on Sizewell C still failed to provide enough information for consultees to make an informed response.
EDF is expected to make its 'Development Consent Order' to the Planning Inspectorate early next year - after finishing its stage four consultation in September. But Dr Poulter, said the company's stage four consultation still left too many unanswered questions.
EDF said its consultation had engaged with thousands of people across East Suffolk, providing updates on its plans as they evolved. It said it held regular meetings with parish councils and had provided funding to offer them independent and free guidance during consultation.
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But it faced regular criticism over the level of detail supplied in each stage of consultation. Dr Poulter said EDF's lack of detail was a "common theme".
"There was some hope among interested parties in East Suffolk that EDF would use the stage four consultation to address the numerous calls for better information, but a review of the responses indicates EDF has missed this opportunity," Dr Poulter wrote.
He said the collective response from the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB was "particularly damning". The response said the consultation failed to pay proper regard to the purposes of the AONB - "despite comments made in previous consultations".
Dr Poulter said the information called for should be provided in EDF's DCO but he had "serious reservations" of its ability to do so, given its failings so far. Even if EDF was able to provide the information, Dr Poulter said the amount of data consultees would need to go through would be "substantial" - meaning their ability to make proper responses would be "severely limited".
Explaining his letter, Dr Poulter said: "EDF are behaving in a disdainful and unacceptable way towards many of the communities in East Suffolk. They should engage properly and consult with local communities so the very real concerns of residents about what the construction of Sizewell C means for them can be properly considered and addressed."
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