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'The main thing that worries me is the impact on nature' - Bill Turnbull

PUBLISHED: 18:13 24 February 2019

Bill Turnbull listens to the debate at St Peter's Church in Theberton Picture: VICTORIA PERTUSA

Bill Turnbull listens to the debate at St Peter's Church in Theberton Picture: VICTORIA PERTUSA

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Former BBC Breakfast anchor and Theberton resident Bill Turnbull voiced concerns over the wide impact Sizewell C could have on Suffolk.

Bill Turnbull chaired the meeting at Theberton Church. Picture: PAUL GEATERBill Turnbull chaired the meeting at Theberton Church. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Mr Turnbull, who has lived in the village since April 2016, chaired the packed meeting at Theberton church and gave his backing to those concerned about the plans to build an additional nuclear power station next to the existing Sizewell plants.

“My role here today is to facilitate the meeting, to make sure people’s concerns and worries are heard.” Mr Turnbull explained.

The mammoth project, which would be built next to Sizewell A and B power stations by energy giants EDF, has brought much of the local and wider Suffolk Coastal community together in opposition.

“People still talk about the previous developments today,” Mr Turnbull said. “The impact this time is going to be so much broader.

“There’ll be changes to road and railway . . . the impact will be greater than ever before.”

Although the broadcast veteran was quick to highlight infrastructure issues, worries about the local environment – something that brought him to the area – were at the top of his list of objections.

“The main thing that worries me is the impact on nature,” he said. “There are barn owls, skylarks, nightingales and they all will go.

“Who could calculate what the effects on Minsmere would be? It could be absolutely ginormous.

“It will affect people across Suffolk – Aldeburgh, Woodbridge, Ipswich – and they won’t even know about it. The current footprint of Sizewell will be doubled.”

Other speakers at the meeting included parish and county councillors, as well as Adam Rowlands from RSPB Minsmere, who echoed Mr Turnbull’s concerns.

Mr Turnbull added: “We’re not anti-nuclear or anti-power station, but we don’t think this is the right plan. Just look at what happened with the Hitachi plant in Wales.

“It’s not a protest meeting, it’s an opportunity for discussion. The meeting will focus people’s minds and leave them much better informed.

“I have no complaints about the way EDF have engaged; however, whether corporately they listen to how locals will be affected, I don’t know.”

EDF statement on Eastbridge campus

EDF issued a statement aimed addressing the concerns from local residents about the proposal for a campus for thousands of workers on the project at Eastbridge.

It said: Accommodating Sizewell C construction workers on the development site remains our preferred option, however, we have made changes to the Accommodation Campus proposals since Stage 2 including:

Our proposed temporary worker accommodation – both the campus and caravan site – would reduce the effect of these workers on private rented sector and tourist accommodation.

We have reduced the height of the building to between three and four stories (reduced from five).

We are also proposing the use of 400 caravan spaces in the early years of construction before the campus is established, and retained throughout construction.

We are also proposing to establish a Housing Fund to enable local authorities to take early measures to mitigate against potential impacts of Sizewell C on the local housing market.

Feedback also indicated that sensitive landscaping during operation and the return of the land to its original use would be necessary to make this temporary development acceptable.

Following feedback from earlier consultation the campus would be fenced with no access to the site from the north which, along with landscaping, would help screen the campus from Eastbridge.

The maximum campus size is 2,400 during peak construction. At Stage 1 we indicated up to 3000 bedspaces covering 22.1Ha and at Stage 2 the options included five storeys as a maximum height. The proposal we are presenting at Stage 3 covers 14.6Ha all to the East of Eastbridge Road, with a maximum height of four storeys and sports facilities located in Leiston for community benefit and legacy.

We are proposing this single campus location on the basis of a number of reasons, key of which are:

A campus in this location will reduce traffic on local roads.

A single site campus has the clear advantage of preventing the dispersal of the workforce into scattered sites, which would mean an increase in traffic and impacts on a wider area.

A campus is vital in order to prevent distortions in the local private rented sector and the tourism industry.

Locating the campus close to site will prevent workers from looking to move into the private rented sector close to the main development site.

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