National Trust ‘deeply concerned’ as Sizewell C plans about to be submitted
PUBLISHED: 16:00 25 May 2020
© Justin Minns
National Trust bosses are “deeply concerned” about the impact a new nuclear power station could have on an “irreplaceable stretch” of the Suffolk coast and say they are still waiting for vital information about the project.
Officials want the final consultation for Sizewell C to be delayed until after the coronavirus lockdown – even though EDF Energy could submit its planning application this week.
While EDF does not envisage a significant impact on Dunwich Heath, owned by the National Trust, the trust is worried about the site, which has views over the nuclear complex.
Nick Collinson, general manager for the Suffolk and Essex Coast, National Trust, said: “The National Trust cares for Dunwich Heath for everyone, for ever. Dunwich Heath’s internationally important heathland is home to many internationally important and rare species and habitats.
“As such, the National Trust is deeply concerned about the current proposals for Sizewell C and the impact they could have on the wildlife, views and visitor experience of Dunwich Heath, and this irreplaceable stretch of the Suffolk coast.
“The elevated position of our site provides one of the best coastal panoramas in Suffolk.
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“The issues we have identified include recreational displacement, tourism, ecological impacts, coastal processes, landscape and visual impacts, and cumulative impacts associated with other planned on-shore and off-shore major infrastructure.
“We are concerned that EDF has failed to provide important information on key topic areas. The absence of information has prevented the National Trust, and other stakeholders, from being able to fully consider both the short- and long-term impacts of the proposal on our property and the experience that we can offer our visitors and members. It has also hindered us in being able to give meaningful consideration to any appropriate monitoring, mitigation or compensation.”
EDF Energy has already delayed the submission of its Development Consent Order because of Covid-19 but says it will be submitted “soon” – there is speculation this could be Wednesday.
A spokeswoman said: “It is important to stress that the examination stage of the planning application process is unlikely to commence for approximately five to six months.
“Two stages have to happen first – the Planning Inspectorate has to undertake a 28-day internal assessment. It then runs a pre-examination phase when people are encouraged to read the proposals online or in leaflets EDF will distribute. This lasts at least a further 28 days, but EDF will ask the Planning Inspectorate to extend it to provide more time than usual. Only after this will the Planning inspectorate begin an examination phase to seek feedback from consultees.
“Sizewell C will provide a much needed boost to skills, training and well paid employment. 64% of the construction cost for Hinkley Point C is being spent with UK companies and Sizewell C will further extend this investment being made in Britain.
“It is widely recognised by Trade Unions and the Chamber of Commerce that the project will help the UK’s economic recovery in the coming months.”
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