Find out how the proposed nuclear power station is supporting the town of Leiston to achieve net zero by 2030.

As the UK government works towards its mission of decarbonising by 2050, one Suffolk town is looking to set an example for rest of the country. 

Launched in 2020, Net Zero Leiston is a fully engineered plan supported by Sizewell C, expert energy consultancies and education partners to neutralise the town’s carbon emissions. 
Situated in Leiston it is the perfect location to be at the heart of the new green industrial revolution. 

READ MORE: £210million plan to make Leiston carbon neutral revealed

Collaborating with Suffolk County Council and East Suffolk Council, the community-led project harnesses the power of energy companies to provide a strategy for energy transition that is auditable and open source so that other rural towns can follow the blueprint. 

Sizewell C has contributed seed funding and project support, as well as using its network to bring together useful contacts and partners to help launch Net Zero Leiston. EDF is providing expert input regarding potential low carbon options to decarbonise the town.

East Anglian Daily Times: Sizewell C regional development assistant project manager Jack Raven Sizewell C regional development assistant project manager Jack Raven (Image: Sizewell C)

Regional development project manager Jack Raven said: “Not every rural town and community has an energy company that they can work with. So, we set out a plan that others can replicate.  

“It is transferable and understandable, so that another community similar to the size of Leiston can look at the plan and do their own net zero project locally, even without the input of an energy company.” 

“For Leiston, the project means pilot schemes and support with decarbonisation, which will hopefully be a great benefit to the local community”.  

EDF is using its Energy Company Obligation (ECO) funding to improve the energy efficiency of households in Leiston with internal, external and loft insulation. 

“We’ve used that funding to improve the efficiency of lower income or vulnerable homes that couldn’t afford to have those upgrades,” Jack said.  

There are also plans to establish a community buying scheme around solar panels, as well as setting up electric charge points in public car parks, which will bring consumer costs down and positively impact local business and tourism. 

In 2022, the local town council endorsed Sizewell C’s route map to achieving net zero.  
“It wouldn’t happen unless it was community led,” Jack said. “We want the community to continue to drive this themselves and to take aspects of it forward under their own steam. 

“We’re working with the town council and Suffolk County Council with their Plug In Suffolk campaign, which provides public charging for overnight use. 

“We are really keen to do something in green spaces as well, improving carbon sequestration through the ecology around Leiston. 

“We hope to be an exemplar in Leiston,” Jack said. “We will bring it to life and achieve net zero by around 2030. Although the date which achieve this by itself isn’t important, it’s how we get there.” 

East Anglian Daily Times: Sizewell C has installed an energy-efficient heat pump at the Long Shop MuseumSizewell C has installed an energy-efficient heat pump at the Long Shop Museum (Image: Long Shop Museum, Leiston)

Sizewell C has also facilitated the replacement of an old, faulty gas boiler into a new energy-efficient system at one of Leiston’s community institutions, the Long Shop Museum.

An air source heat pump will provide energy for an area of the museum built with underfloor heating. 

“Going from gas to the heat pump using electricity, at the very least we will probably reduce our energy consumption by a third,” said museum director Fraser Hall. 

The museum is housed in what remains of the Garrett manufacturing works, which was opened in the late 18th century. It previously had a 100-tonne carbon footprint but is now net zero. Any remaining carbon is sequestered with Ecologi, a climate action and tree planting project. 

Next March, the Long Shop Museum will open a new temporary exhibition explaining its energy transition, including the heat pump, low-energy lighting, insulation and water drainage.  

Fraser said all these green strategies feed into sustainability and resilience. “We want to be here to keep providing our service. There’s a lot of low hanging fruit and it makes sense to look at them. There’s an economic impact that you can relatively easily deliver, which everyone will benefit from.” 

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