Prime Minister wants to increase nuclear output, but campaigners voice alarm

Concerns have been raised local people could be stripped of the ability to oppose the Sizewell C project

Concerns have been raised local people could be stripped of the ability to oppose the Sizewell C project - Credit: Archant

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has outlined his hopes of increasing the amount of UK electricity generated by nuclear power - a potential boost for Sizewell C proposals, but alarming those against the plans.

The PM met with nuclear industry bosses on Monday to discuss his aim to increase the amount of electricity generated by nuclear power to 25% of the total output within the UK. 

Currently, the country generates about 16% of its electricity from nuclear power and the Government is planning to take a stake in a development company to help drive through the Sizewell C project with power company EDF sharing the costs. 

Further down the line, private sector investors, such as insurance providers, could be lured to invest, reducing the taxpayer contributions from the Government and the funding from EDF. 

However, Alison Downes, a spokesperson for campaign group Stop Sizewell C, said she was "disturbed" about the acceleration proposal, believing that local people could be stripped of the ability to oppose new nuclear plants, as "planning and bureaucracy" was evaded.

She added: “We are also concerned that industry bosses complained that the Environment Agency and Marine Management Organisation are slowing them down. 

"The notion that local people might lose their ability to oppose projects is totally anti-democratic and detailed scrutiny by government agencies is critical to ensure essential safeguards such as a site not flooding.  

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“If Sizewell C were to be completed by 2035, it would have been over 22 years in the making. The eight years of consultation and planning were due to EDF’s lack of commitment, pausing work on the project several times.  

“Even so, the result was an incomplete application which underwent 22 changes during the formal examination and the Secretary of State is still asking essential questions now."

However, a Sizewell C spokesperson said: "Local communities contributed to the plans for Sizewell C throughout the consultation period.

"Changes were made, such as an increase in proposed deliveries by sea and rail and a reduction in the number of HGVs on roads, as a direct result of feedback during the public consultation.

"We are committed to ensuring that the benefits of Sizewell C will outweigh the impacts during the construction period. Those benefits will include thousands of well-paid local jobs, contracts for local businesses and a boost in training and skills for local communities."

On Monday, Mr Johnson also met Sizewell B apprentice Poppy Able, 21, from Framlingham. 

Apprentice Poppy Able, 21, who met Prime Minister Boris Johnson. She is pictured front row, second right

Apprentice Poppy Able, 21, who met Prime Minister Boris Johnson. She is pictured front row, second right next to EDF chief executive Simone Rossi and other apprentices. - Credit: EDF ENERGY

The former Thomas Mills High School pupil is completing a graduate apprenticeship in the engineering department.