'Pretty bleak': Packed public meeting warned of 'devastating' effects of Sizewell C nuclear power station
PUBLISHED: 15:15 15 September 2019 | UPDATED: 20:04 15 September 2019
Groans could be heard from opponents to a planned nuclear power station on a Suffolk coast as they were given "pretty bleak" warnings of how it could change their lives.
EDF Energy wants to build the large new Sizewell C power plant next to its current Sizewell A and B stations, saying it is crucial to catering for the country's future energy needs.
It is currently running its fourth round of consultation on the move, saying it has extensively encouraged people to have their say.
But the plans have long been controversial, with a public meeting chaired by TV presenter Bill Turnbull held on Saturday, September 14 to give neighbours a chance to hear what life might be like if Sizewell C is built.
Richard Cuttell, chairman of the West Hinkley Action Group - which unsuccessfully opposed a similar power plant in the West Country - travelled for more than eight hours to warn them they could face "noise pollution, traffic congestion and deterioration and destruction of roads".
An EDF Energy spokesman said: "We understand that how our workers travel to site and how we move freight is important to local people during construction."
It added that it would also use rail and a beach landing facility to move freight during construction, and said an accommodation campus for workers would help to keep construction traffic off roads.
It has also proposed a bypass to ensure places like Theberton are not over-run with traffic.
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But opponents believe that will not nearly be enough to deal with the potential consequences, with Mr Cuttell saying: "They're going to have noise potentially 24 hours a day."
Of the traffic disruption, he said: "People will be unable to get to places within a guaranteed time.
"A journey may take 20mins or it may take two hours, because of hundreds of lorries, buses, coaches and other transport now on the roads."
Mr Turnbull - who lives near to Sizewell - said hearing Mr Cuttell's presentation during the meeting at St Peter's Church, Theberton "made me feel pretty sick".
He added: "The picture he paints of what is happening down at Hinkley is pretty bleak.
"It's really important for people to realise what's going to happen and how devastating for people it could be - not just here in Theberton but all over, from Woodbridge up to Southwold.
"Everyone is going to be affected. People need to understand the extent to which their lives are going to change."
The EDF spokesman added: "We have a long established relationship with Theberton and Eastbridge Parish Council and over many years we have listened to and responded to their concerns as elected community representatives.
"This includes proposing a bypass of the village of Theberton and significantly reducing the land required and the height of the buildings for the temporary accommodation campus.
"We encourage local people to continue to meet with us, to share their views and take part in the consultation for a new power station in Suffolk.
"Our aim is to maximise the huge benefits in jobs and skills for local people, especially the young, whilst minimising the environmental impact of the project."