The government has approved Sizewell C’s Development Consent Order (DCO), a major milestone in the project and a massive positive step for Suffolk.

Suffolk is often assumed to be a wealthy part of the country.

However, areas like Lowestoft, just up the road from the site of Sizewell C, has an average income 17% lower than the rest of East Anglia.

Large infrastructure projects like Sizewell C will help to tackle inequalities like this.

Suffolk may not be the first place people think about when they hear “Levelling Up”, but any government that seriously wants to address regional inequality needs to account for areas like Lowestoft, and embrace projects like Sizewell C as ways of allowing them to reach their full potential.

East Anglian Daily Times: Waveney MP Peter AldousWaveney MP Peter Aldous (Image: UK Parliament)

The promise of a generation of high skilled, lifelong careers offered by Sizewell C could reverse the trend of families being forced apart as young people are unable to find training opportunities linked to high-quality jobs in the local area.

Not only will it bring thousands of opportunities for high-paid employment, it also holds the potential of putting Suffolk on the map as a green energy hub, supporting Britain to net zero.

Encouraging young people to stay in Suffolk is not just about providing them with jobs, but also about making it somewhere they are proud to live.

The importance of intangible concepts like pride of place and a sense of identity in areas is hard to quantify, but a vital part of the levelling up agenda.

By building on a rich history of nuclear energy in the local area, and giving Suffolk a role to play in Britain’s future, Sizewell C goes right to the core of what it means to be from Suffolk.

Nuclear has been part of Suffolk’s identity for generations, since construction began on Sizewell A in 1961. The station was built in record time, despite a gruellingly cold winter in 1962.

It was a testament to that unique Suffolk spirit, and provided highly paid, quality jobs to the region for 40 years.

That station was followed by Sizewell B in 1995, continuing its legacy. Sizewell B is still running today and does a huge amount for the local community, from community development projects to providing incredible apprenticeship opportunities to young people every year.

Not only will Sizewell C provide reliable base load energy to 6 million homes for 60 years, but it offers the opportunity for Suffolk to align the attraction of the Heritage Coast with the technology that will protect our designated sites like the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty from the impact of climate change.

The power station could, along with the offshore wind industry, produce hydrogen to help fuel our transport and other industrial sectors. There are also plans to build Direct Air Capture capability, drawing carbon straight out of the air.

Sizewell C, like Sizewell A in the past and role Sizewell B plays now, offers the opportunity for people in Suffolk to develop and use their skills and talents, keep them in the region, and make it a place that is helping the whole country meet the challenges of the future.

That is why I welcome the government’s decision on the DCO.