East Suffolk: EDF ‘will listen’ to A12 bypass call

ENERGY giant EDF has pledged to listen to villagers who are calling on the company to build an A12 bypass if it gets the go-ahead to build a new nuclear power station at Sizewell.

The EADT campaign, Bypass 4 The Villages, is calling for an end to the traffic misery suffered by residents who live along a busy, narrow stretch of the A12.

Villagers in Little Glemham, Stratford St Andrew, Farnham and Marlesford have suffered the impact of the road for decades, with traffic – including HGVs – increasing by the year.

A bypass scheme for the stretch was cancelled at the eleventh hour in 1996 and no progress has been made since.

Suffolk County Council owns the road, but many believe the best chance of securing funding for the scheme – estimated at �56million in 2006 – is through EDF, which plans to build a nuclear station at Sizewell during the next decade.

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The energy firm will be asked to contribute to local transport schemes if it gets permission to build the reactors and the main Ipswich-to-Lowestoft road will be top of the list of local priorities.

Last night, EDF said it would be consulting widely with local residents and would listen to their opinions – but that it had “no confirmed position” on improvements to the A12.

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A spokeswoman for the firm said: “EDF Energy is aware of the EADT campaign, Bypass 4 The Villages, and also understands local feeling about this issue.

“Although EDF Energy’s plans for Sizewell C are at an early stage we remain committed to an ongoing dialogue with local residents.”

She said the company gave a progress update to representatives from the four villages in September and “listened carefully” to their views.

It is now developing proposals by looking at a number of issues and is to carry out out “a detailed transport assessment” for the area.

The spokeswoman added: “This will entail extensive examination and forecasting of the effect our proposals may have on local transport infrastructure.

“It will examine a range of options for how we will bring the necessary people, materials and large items to the development site, while seeking to minimise impacts on the local transport network and maximising the use of more sustainable modes of transport wherever possible.”

She said the transport assessment, with the help of experts and “specialist understanding” of local issues, would form part of proposals which will go out to public consultation in the second half of this year.

“Until this time we do not have a confirmed position on the impacts of our development on the A12 or the extent to which any additional infrastructure or mitigation measures (such as a bypass) would or would not be justified or required by the additional impact of our development,” she said.

The EADT believes the bypass needs to be built regardless of any other development and is calling on people to support the campaign by filling in the coupon, or signing an online petition at www.eadt.co.uk/bypass4thevillages

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