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Extinction Rebellion bring protest groups together against Sizewell C plans

PUBLISHED: 17:08 26 October 2019 | UPDATED: 09:01 27 October 2019

EDF set up barriers and security to stop protestors coming close to the site Picture: RACHEL EDGE

EDF set up barriers and security to stop protestors coming close to the site Picture: RACHEL EDGE

RACHEL EDGE

An Extinction Rebellion protest aimed at EDF's Sizewell C plans stopped them protesting on their land.

A protest planned to take place in Pillbox Field, Sizewell, on October 26, was thwarted when EDF arranged for metal barriers and security staff to occupy an access road to the site.

Undaunted but remaining peaceful, the protest was moved to a new location, Sizewell beach car park, where the activists erected marquees and carried out their planned truth-telling exercises and people's assembly.

XR protestor Victoria Proctor said: "There's been lots and lots of groups in the past few years that have been working so hard to bring attention to what's being planned along the coast.

"We're trying to get the truth out there for people so they realise what is under threat.

"Everyone is speaking and they have a wealth of information.

"We tried to book a hall to host this but unfortunately we weren't allowed to do that, almost everywhere around here is owned by EDF.

"It's very hard to get a location, we were expecting to be removed from every location that we tried."

In a statement released by XR before the protest, it said they were "hoping that by occupying this field and holding this space we will send a message not just to EDF but to the local population that we will not stand by and watch as big business and industrial interests exploit our Heritage Coast for profit".

An EDF spokesman said: "In the future, all electricity needs to be low carbon.

"The Committee on Climate Change states the UK needs around 40% of the low carbon electricity to be reliable and - available on demand, even when the wind is still or in the dark of winter.

"Today, the only proven reliable and large scale low carbon technology is nuclear and it is still the largest source of low carbon electricity in the UK.

"Sizewell B saved three million tonnes of CO2 last year, which is the equivalent of taking 1.3m cars off UK roads for a year.

"Sizewell C will offset nine million tonnes of CO2 emissions every year of its 60-year lifespan."

Taking place close to Minsmere, the RSPB reserve is home to 350 species of birds including the rare Marsh Harrier along with 1000 types of butterfly and the Minsmere Crimson Underwing Moth.

Unions have come out in support of the economic benefits of the development of Sizewell C this month, but the plan for a third nuclear power site on the Suffolk coast continues to be met with public resistance.

Pressure groups Together Against Sizewell C and Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell have repeatedly called for greater scrutiny of EDF's plans.

EDF Energy has said that building new nuclear reactors across the country, including in Suffolk, is crucial to meeting the country's future ends - with Sizewell B station director Paul Morton recently saying: "The lights won't stay on without it."

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