High-profile celebrities, artists and business leaders join forces to oppose Sizewell C plans in open letter
PUBLISHED: 12:12 21 March 2019 | UPDATED: 12:12 21 March 2019
Celebrities, artists, business figures and broadcasters - including actor Bill Nighy, sculptor Maggi Hambling and Latitude Festival's Melvin Benn - have written an open letter arguing that building Sizewell C will have a "devastating" impact on protected sites.
They argue that up to 1,500 lorries would be “clogging up” Suffolk’s roads “disrupting the lives of residents and jeopardising the area’s £210 million a year tourism industry”.
The letter goes on to say: “In short, we believe that Sizewell C will industrialise a region known for its beauty, wildness and tranquillity.”
Among those that have signed the letter, published in today’s Daily Telegraph, are actor Diana Quick, broadcaster Bill Turnbull, entrepreneur William Kendall, novelist Esther Freud and The Rt Hon Ben Gummer.
Alison Downes, of Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell, said: “We are very encouraged by this letter, which we hope will raise greater awareness of EDF’s plans for Sizewell C and D - about which too little is known nationally.
“The range of signatories demonstrates the breadth of concern about this project.
“We hope it will send a strong signal to Ministers that there are many people prepared to defend this special part of the world from the significant harm that would be caused by building two new reactors in the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB.”
Councillor David Wood, chairman of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership, said: “They are going to cut the AONB totally in half for around 10 years.
“The area is worth £210 million per annum in tourism and provides 4,600 jobs. It’s going to have a harmful effect on Suffolk’s economy.
“I have never known it in my 20 years involved in AONB the pressures we are under now.
“I am just glad that a collection of right-minded people have decided to stand up and be counted.”
A spokesman for EDF said: “Sizewell C takes its responsibilities to the environment and local communities seriously.
“We have a good track record of looking after nature around our operating power station at Sizewell B and have been awarded The Wildlife Trusts’ Biodiversity Benchmark in recognition of conservation work on the Sizewell estate.
“We have developed Aldhurst Farm Wetland Habitat Creation scheme to mitigate the land required for Sizewell C.
“The 67 hectare site includes 6 hectares of wet reed habitat and extensive reedbeds and interconnecting ditch habitat and heathland.
“The environmental sensitivities of the local area have been a key consideration in the development of our proposals for Sizewell C.
“Our ecologists have continued to undertake environmental surveys and identify likely impacts to help inform our proposals.”
The spokesman said measures have also been taken to mitigate the impact on local roads.
“Our planners have worked with local councils to develop a transport strategy for workers and freight that minimises the impact on local road.
“We understand that how our workers travel to site and how we move freight is important to local people during construction.
“We will use rail as well as road transport and a beach landing facility to move freight.”
Anyone with concerns is asked to contact EDF, the spokesman added.
“We encourage local people to continue to meet with us, to share their views and take part in the consultation for a new power station in Suffolk.
“Our aim is to maximise the huge benefits in jobs and skills for local people, especially the young, whilst minimising the environmental impact of the project.”
Read the letter in full below:
Sir – At £14 billion, the cost of building Sizewell C is huge, but there will be a much heavier price to pay on Suffolk’s beautiful heritage coast and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The impact on protected sites will be devastating.
Sizewell has been home to nuclear energy for almost 60 years, so it was no surprise that the site was selected for further development.
But what is being proposed is of a very different order to what has gone before. Sizewell C is planned to be as big as Sizewell A and Sizewell B put together, with woodland and fields destroyed to make way for it.
The recent collapse of nuclear projects at Moorside and Wylfa has brought Sizewell C to the top of the nuclear queue. With stage three of EDF’s consultations drawing to a close, the impact of the project is now known to be far greater than previously thought. We are deeply concerned that landscapes, wildlife and people in this unique part of the British Isles will suffer enormously.
For the past six years EDF has said that the materials for this enormous project could be substantially delivered by sea. But the company now says this is not possible due to the potential damage to the marine environment. So up to 1,500 lorries a day could soon be clogging Suffolk’s roads, delivering construction materials, disrupting the lives of residents and jeopardising the area’s £210 million a year tourism industry for the decade or more that it will take to build the plant.
In short, we believe that Sizewell C will industrialise a region known for its beauty, wildness and tranquillity.
If the project cannot be delivered by sea and by rail, without encroaching on Suffolk’s Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Minsmere Reserve and the heritage coast, and carving up farms and communities, it should not be delivered at all.
William Kendall, Entrepreneur
Dr Andy Wood, OBE DL, Chief Executive, Adnams plc
Bill Turnbull, Broadcaster
Diana Quick, Actor
Cllr David Wood, Chairman, Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB Partnership
Harry Young, Chair of The Suffolk Coast Destination Management Organisation
Caroline Cranbrook OBE,
Bill Nighy, Actor
Maggi Hambling, CBE, Painter and Sculptor
The Rt Hon Ben Gummer
Matthew Freud, Head of Freud Communications
Guy Heald, Chairman, Hotel Folk (formerly Thorpeness & Aldeburgh Hotels)
Michael Pritt, Owner, Wentworth Hotel, Aldeburgh
Hektor Rous, Henham Park
Melvin Benn, Managing Director of Latitude Festival
Ruth Watson, Restaurater and Hotelier
Richard Ellis, Chairman of Original Cottages
Sir Kenneth Carlisle & Lady Carla Carlisle
Rev. Canon Christine Redgrave, Rector of the 8 parishes of the Yoxmere Benefice
Kenneth Sillito, FRAM, Artistic Director and violinist and Esmé Sillito, LRAM
Esther Freud, Novelist
Humphrey Burton, CBE, Writer and Broadcaster and Christine Burton
Helen Atkinson Wood, Actor
John Morton, Writer
Mark Hoare RIBA, Architect
Paul Field, Tech Entrepreneur and Free Word trustee