Sizewell C: Fears Suffolk could be ‘left out in the cold’ over N-plant proposals

An artist's impression of the proposed Sizewell C

An artist's impression of the proposed Sizewell C - Credit: Copyright EDF Energy 2012 - Stag

SUFFOLK faces being “left out in the cold” over the Sizewell C project because EDF Energy officials are so focused on plans for a similar plant in Somerset, local authorities fear.

Proposals for the Hinkley Point C plant are much more advanced than those for Sizewell C and, subject to financial backing and a go-ahead by the Planning Inspectorate, work on the Somerset power station could start next year.

Plans for Sizewell C are still at the public consultation stage but Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council want to engage early with EDF officials over a variety of issues – in order to negotiate the best possible deal.

However, concern about the company’s focus on Hinkley Point C – to the possible detriment of issues surrounding Sizewell C – were expressed at a meeting of the joint task force set up by the county and district councils.

Guy McGregor, chairman, said the local authorities wanted to set up a series of “work streams” with EDF to examine each of a number of issues. These included the need for a bypass for four A12 villages, the enhanced use of rail to transport materials to the site, the location of construction workers’ accommodation and the design of the nuclear power station itself.

“The earlier EDF gets engaged with us the better but the concern is that the company is so focused on Hinkley Point that Sizewell issues will be sidelined and may be subject to last minute negotiations,” Mr McGregor said. “We do not want this to happen.

“The power station design drawn up for Hinkley Point is not good enough for Suffolk. Any last-minute negotiating over this and other issues will not be acceptable to the local authorities.”

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He added that the Planning Inspectorate would expect local issues to have been resolved by the time EDF submitted its Sizewell C planning application.

But much work needed to be done before the project was – in the opinion of the councils – “fit for purpose”.

Richard Mayson , EDF Energy’s planning and external affairs director, said: “EDF Energy believes the Sizewell C development will provide a very positive legacy of jobs and economic benefits for the local community and we are committed to working closely with the local authorities in Suffolk.

“We have consulted extensively with the local authorities and communities during stage one to ensure that our proposals for the project take account of local issues and priorities and look forward to continuing this dialogue as we progress our plans for Sizewell C.”