Fourth round of consultation to be held on Sizewell C
- Credit: Archant
EDF has confirmed that it will be holding a fourth round of consultation into plans to build a new nuclear power station in Suffolk.
The new consultation will run from July 18 until September 27 and will focus on a few specific areas including transport and ecology.
Calls had been made by campaigners in March for a further round of consultation to be had in order for information to be provided about transport and accommodation issues as well as concerns regarding the environment. EDF said that this latest consultation was a response to requests for further options and more information on a number of topics.
Jim Crawford, Sizewell C project development director said: "We have listened to the feedback at Stage 3.
"A number of people told us they would like to see a further stage of consultation to better understand proposals, such as transport and transport mitigation measures.
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"We are not discounting any of the proposals put forward at Stage 3 at this stage, so if anyone did not get the chance to feedback to our Stage 3 proposals this is another opportunity."
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There are a number of concerns about how materials and people will be transported in and out of Sizewell C. EDF had previously considered a range of strategies including marine-led, rail-led and road-led plans. In the third round of consultations EDF made clear that it was now only looking at rail-led or road-led strategies.
A bypass around the villages of Marlesford, Little Glemham, Stratford St Andrew and Farnham, known locally as the Four Villages Bypass, was in discussion for a long time but was turned by the government at the start of last month due to concerns about financing.
However, plans for a smaller bypass through two of the villages, Farnham and Stratford St Andrew were unveiled in plans by EDF during the second round of consultations.
As well as the bypass there are many concerns locally about the B1122 from the A12 at Yoxford to Leiston.
Some of those living along the B1122 want a dedicated new route constructed to deal with the hundreds of lorries which will pass through the site on a daily basis.
However, the B1122 bypass/link road would only be built if EDF pick if road rather than rail is chosen as the priority for delivering materials to the site.
Whereas another bypass, this time relieving the village of Theberton, has already been confirmed.
Environmental concerns about the nuclear power station focus on the RSPB Minsmere site and the Suffolk Coastal and Heaths AONB. Wildlife experts raised concerns at the start of the year that the station could have a "major adverse environmental impact" on the habitats at Minsmere including the loss of habitat for certain species as well as the disruption of wildlife during the construction process.
In March, Suffolk councils asked for further information to resolve fears about the site's environmental impact.
Concerns were raised in early 2017 about the proposed accommodation for workers who would construct Sizewell C. Eastbridge, near Leiston, was selected as the preferred site by Suffolk County Council for the 2,400 workers.
Campaigners are worried about the impact of such a site on the environment as well as people living nearby. The council has since looked into up to eight other sites for the accommodation campus with EDF saying that it is willing to keep options open.
How have campaigners responsed to the latest news?
Alison Downes representing the Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell, the B1122 Action Group and the Minsmere Levels Stakeholder Group said: "We welcome EDF's agreement that a fourth stage of consultation is required, but are dismayed that the majority of its length will be during the summer holidays, when people will be away and hoping to relax: some Parish Councils don't even meet in August.
"We will be deeply disappointed if rail transport has proven impractical or remains unclear, and if alternative transport routes are not considered.
"Given the plethora of energy projects planned for the area, we call on EDF and other developers to work with the County Council on a more strategic approach to transport infrastructure."
A spokesman for Together Against Sizewell C (TASC) said: "TASC is not surprised that there is to be a Stage 4 consultation as we and many others were gravely concerned about the lack of detail at Stage 3.
"However, it is TASC's view that the disruption that Sizewell C will cause on such a massive scale in the AONB and in the surrounding area of East Suffolk; that even with some major alterations it may still not be an acceptable development.
"Particularly with a view to habitat destruction, displacement of species, damage to the ecology of the area, and possible new roads, concern about lack of water supply and climate emergency.
"However, we will study EDF's further proposals and give them every consideration."