Homeowners ‘speechless’ over government’s response to calls for help over Sizewell C

An artist's impression of Sizewell C

An artist's impression of Sizewell C - Credit: Archant

Homeowners who claim proposals for a nuclear power plant in east Suffolk has meant they cannot sell their properties have been left “speechless” by the Government’s response to their “desperate” appeals for help.

Reverend Leonora van Gils, 67, an interfaith minister living in Darsham, wrote to Prime Minster David Cameron, to highlight the “huge distress” caused by EDF Energy’s proposals to build Sizewell C and its associated developments.

Her property neighbours the site of a proposed park and ride for the power plant’s construction workers, which she says has left her unable to sell-up and move closer to family, as she is desperate to do.

Others living in the area also claim to have faced difficulties, and joined Rev van Gils’ campaign.

The group’s members stress they are not against nuclear power or Sizewell. However they say it is unfair to have the spectre of development looming over them, affecting their property value, without being told when it will go ahead.

Having sought legal support and advice from local politicians, the group turned “out of desperation” to the prime minister for help.

Their letter highlighted the “hardship and uncertainty” that was blighting their lives.

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It referred to the HS2 rail project, where compensation was available, and questioned why a similar offer could not be made for Sizewell C.

But the response, when it came, was not from the prime minister, but Ed Davey, secretary of state for energy and climate change, who advised Rev van Gils to take part in the next stage of EDF’s Sizewell consultation.

While Mr Davey acknowledged the response may not give the “immediate resolution” she sought, he added there would be no “formal process for mitigation measures” until EDF had completed its consultation.

Rev van Gils said she was left “completely speechless” by the reply, which “merely skirted around the question”.

“It could take years before anything happens and in the meantime I’m trapped like a prisoner in my own home,” she added.

“Nobody is listening, nobody will sort it out, not the government, not EDF, they all just say let’s wait for the next consultation and in the meantime go on with your suffering.

“I feel really alone and unheard and it’s really getting to me.”

A spokesman for the Department for Energy and Climate Change said: “Ed Davey is sorry to hear that the proposed project is causing concern. Planning laws have been established to ensure that major infrastructure projects, such as Sizewell C, which are essential for the economy, can proceed. These planning laws are also designed to ensure that the concerns of a local community are factored into any planning decision.”

An EDF spokesman, speaking previously, said the company was aware of residents’ concerns and would be working with the local community to put mitigation measures in place as it developed more detailed plans.