Campaigners have slammed claims by developers of the new Sizewell C (SZC) nuclear power station that "nearly two-thirds of people in East Suffolk" were backing the project in a poll.

The survey, conducted by polling company ICM, showed that 61% of respondents supported plans for the new power station, while 24% were opposed.

The results indicated residents were looking forward to the economic opportunities Sizewell C would create for East Suffolk.

Most people (66%) believed it would bring jobs and training to the area while a majority (59%) agreed the benefits would outweigh any temporary disruption during construction.

However, opponents of the proposed £20billion station questioned the validity of the ‘two-thirds’ claim made by EDF when the poll had been conducted among a sample of 1,000 people, with 800 responding over the phone and a further 200 online.

Pete Wilkinson, chair of Together Against Sizewell C (TASC), said the survey represented "less than half of one percent of the 246,000 people in east Suffolk".

He cited a TASC petition against the plans, which collected 20,000 signatures, along with 1,000 people who attended two recent demonstrations by protestors at Sizewell.

He also questioned whether the project would deliver carbon efficiencies, adding that it would take years to pay off its carbon debt, while the plant would not lead to energy self-sufficiency as it would rely on imported uranium from Russia, while being owned by the French government.

“This poll is yet another disingenuous attempt to con the people of East Suffolk into believing that SZC is good for the area.

“That's not the view of the 100 business people who you might expect to benefit from the plant's construction, who have registered their opposition to it and, we submit, is not the view of even one-third of the people of East Suffolk, let alone the laughable claim that two-thirds support it,” Mr Wilkinson added.

East Anglian Daily Times: Tom McGarry, Sizewell C's head of regional engagementTom McGarry, Sizewell C's head of regional engagement (Image: Archant)

Tom McGarry, Sizewell C’s head of regional engagement, said: “Sizewell C has always had the support of the quiet majority because it offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity for jobs, training and growing prosperity.

“It will also continue Suffolk’s decades-long expertise in generating nuclear power for the country. While these results show supporters outnumber opponents by a big margin, we recognise that a number of local people have understandable concerns about the construction phase.

“We will continue to work with them to make sure we reduce disruption to the minimum level possible and maximise the benefits this project can offer.”