Freight and rail fears raised by Ipswich councillors in Sizewell C debate

How Sizewell C with its twin reactors could look alongside plants A and B on Suffolk's coast

How Sizewell C with its twin reactors could look alongside plants A and B on Suffolk's coast - Credit: EDF Energy

Ipswich councillors have raised fresh concerns over the proposed Sizewell C nuclear power station project on the Suffolk coast, citing train concerns and impacts on housing as key worries.

EDF Energy launched another consultation last month after tweaking plans for the £20billion scheme, with Ipswich Borough Council's planning committee on Wednesday agreeing its response.

The committee raised three chief concerns - that freight movements by rail on the East Suffolk Line should have regard to noise and air quality disturbance; questions over the impact freight transport would have on the Ipswich Garden Suburb development being built at the north of the town; and fears that the extra freight by rail could reduce the number of passenger trains on the East Suffolk Line - a key commuter route and sustainable mode of transport.

EDF agreed to transport more construction materials by rail and sea in a bid to take hundreds of lorries off the road during the construction, a move that would cut road haulage by 20%, according to the developers.

It has been in talks with Network Rail over how many more trains could be added, but the number could go up from two per day to five.

Phil Smart from Ipswich Borough Council said studies to establish whether kerbside glass collections

Ipswich borough councillor Phil Smart said an additional loop on the East Suffolk Line would solve the problems of rail disruption during the Sizewell C construction - Credit: Contributed

While Ipswich Borough Council has been supportive of cutting HGV deliveries to the site, its latest submission said: "The reduction in the passenger trains along the East Suffolk Line would reduce the opportunity for those travelling to and from Ipswich to use this form of sustainable transport.

"This is of particular concern for the modal shift for the Ipswich Garden Suburb where residents would be able to access trains from the Westerfield Train Station."

Councillor Phil Smart said it was to be welcomed that EDF wanted to run more trains, but said: "I think in all three cases the solution to this lies in the one thing that we wanted all along, and that is the provision of an additional passing loop on the East Suffolk Line between Woodbridge and Saxmundham.

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"What that would do is it would allow many more trains to pass along the line during the daytime, in other words during the period of the public timetable, without compromising that public timetable." 

At the launch of the latest consultation, Richard Bull, head of transport planning for Sizewell C, said: “We fully understand the concerns about noise on the East Suffolk Line – particularly for overnight freight deliveries. We are investigating continuous welded rail lines, the use of slower speeds and the types of trains that could be used to keep noise to a minimum.”

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