Communities still ‘not convinced’ over plans for twin reactor power plant

An artist's impression of what Sizewell C will look like Picture: EDF ENERGY

An artist's impression of what Sizewell C will look like Picture: EDF ENERGY - Credit: Archant

County council chiefs are to write again to Government to voice their concern over the number of massive energy projects planned for a small area of east Suffolk.

JLAG chairman Richard Smith Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

JLAG chairman Richard Smith Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL - Credit: Suffolk County Council

The decision follows a high-level meeting with community leaders from across the area over their ongoing worries over the proposals for Sizewell C.

Officials said the group of 86 representatives from 28 town and parish councils remained unconvinced over EDF Energy's plans for the new twin reactor nuclear power station, particularly whether it will provide a long lasting legacy for the socio-economic benefit of the area, and its impact on wildlife and flood risk.

The meeting to discuss the Stage 4 consultation was held by members of Sizewell C Joint Local Authorities Group (JLAG).

JLAG chairman Richard Smith said: "These local leaders are all very well informed and knowledgeable surrounding EDF Energy's proposals having been through 3 stages of consultation so far. As expected, there was a lot of strong feeling within the room and it was important for us to hear the concerns of the community as we consider a joint response to the Stage 4 consultation from Suffolk County Council and East Suffolk Council.

"Only in February this year, we held a similar event to discuss EDF Energy's Stage 3 proposals. Our joint response at that point was very robust and reflected the concerns of the communities our councils serve where we weren't convinced that the advantages of such a development would outweigh the disadvantages on the Suffolk coast.

"It is the duty of our councils to ensure, if Sizewell C indeed goes ahead, that it would be constructed with the least possible negative impact on our communities whilst maximising opportunities from the development."

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JLAG vice chairman Craig Rivett said: "There are still clearly concerns over a number of local issues that affect communities through east Suffolk. One particular action Richard and I are taking away from today is to write again to the Government to ensure they are aware of the cumulative impact of such scalable projects in Suffolk as our county becomes ever-more important to the future energy demands for the UK.

"I would ask everyone who wants to provide their feedback in relation to any aspect of EDF Energy's Stage 4 proposal to review their documentation fully and write to EDF Energy before the consultation closes on September 27."

The areas that were highlighted through round table discussions were as follows:

? Pylons - Significant concerns remain about the number of pylons and their locations required for Sizewell C.

? Lack of detailed information - There remains concern EDF Energy has still not provided enough detail behind many of their mitigations leaving more questions than answers

? Lack of feedback - There was a feeling that EDF Energy has not given sufficient feedback or answered the concerns raised by those who took part in the Stage 3 process

? Traffic impacts - Traffic projections and concerns over the use of local roads and the current suitability of the A12 to accommodate proposed transport options remain a concern

? Economic Legacy - Will the area be left better or worse off once the station is built and in operation? There is concern plans do not go far enough to give real long-lasting positive socio-economic positive impact

? Impact on natural environment and coastal processes - Ongoing concerns over flood risks, the vulnerability of the coastline and the impact on wildlife habitats, including RSPB Minsmere.

EDF Energy has described the latest consultation has "focussed", addressing some specific issues and options, but says people are still welcome to comment on any apects of the proposals and work is still taking place with stakeholders on a range of matters.