Consultants appointed to advise towns and villages on Sizewell C

A computer-generated image of how the Sizewell complex will look after construction of Sizewell C.

A computer-generated image of how the Sizewell complex will look after construction of Sizewell C. - Credit: Archant

Independent experts have been taken on board to help towns and villages in east Suffolk over the application for the new nuclear power station.

EDF Energy is expected in the first few months of the new year to begin its Stage Two Consultation process – when further details will be revealed about some of the key issues worrying people living in the area.

These will include the accommodation campus site for thousands of construction workers who will build the complex, sites for park and ride schemes, and road improvements.

Stage Two though will not begin until the Final Investment Decision (FID) for Hinkley Point C is agreed.

When China General Nuclear Power Corporation signed a deal to invest a 33.5% stake in the £18billion Hinkley project in a blaze of publicity in October, many people mistakenly thought the agreement was the FID, but this was the Strategic Investment Agreement and the FID is still to come – though it is believed to be not far away.

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Meanwhile, preparations are in hand for the Stage Two consultation and EDF has now instructed the Royal Town Planning Institute’s Planning Aid England team to act as independent consultants to advise town and parish councils as they prepare to respond.

Carly Vince, head of strategic planning for EDF Energy Nuclear New Build, said: “They have a lot of experience in empowering communities and helping them to make their voices heard.

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“From January they will start to engage with the town and parish councils and help them with the process and the issues they will want to comment upon. They will give help and support throughout the whole process.

“The services will be entirely independent but EDF is paying for it.”

The Planning Aid team met the Joint Local Authorities Group for Sizewell C earlier this month to explain its role and the help it would be providing.

Geoff Holdcroft, chairman of Suffolk Coastal council’s Sizewell C task group, said it was essential that all the local councils were aware of the offer of help from Planning Aid and encouraged councillors to speak to their parishes to promote it.

He said: “We want to be on the front foot with this – the parishes need to elect to use the services and we need to make sure they know about what is on offer.”

Andy Smith, cabinet member for economic development, said the service would also be independent of the county and district councils as local councils would have different and specific concerns and needs.

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