Sizewell C: Campaigners say bypass fight will go on despite EDF’s new traffic figures

CAMPAIGNERS calling for a new A12 “four villages” bypass in east Suffolk say the fight will go on despite EDF Energy producing new figures which it says back up its belief that the road isn’t needed.

The power giant - viewed as the best hope of building the bypass to minimise the impact of its proposed Sizewell C development - has revealed new estimates on the amount of traffic that would use the A12 during construction.

It says an extra 1,200 vehicles each day would use the four villages stretch - Marlesford, Great Glemham, Stratford St Andrew and Farnham - at peak periods. That would be a 6% to 7% rise - at the lower end of its initial 5% to 15% predictions.

But last night campaigners still disputed the figures, claiming EDF failed to account for what they believe will be a 30% increase in HGV traffic.

It had been hoped the French-owned company would fund a bypass around the four villages. However, in the initial phase of consultation, it has only recommended improvements and a possible 1km bypass at Farnham.

Members of the Four Villages Bypass Group have again questioned the latest figures and asked for more details on how they were arrived at.

Debbi Tayler, clerk for Farnham with Stratford St Andrew Parish Council and spokeswoman for the Four Villages Bypass Group, said: “HGV traffic would increase in the region of 30% and that’s one of our major issues. We think EDF have smoothed out all of the figures by lumping them all together - cars, buses, HGVs.

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“Take the HGV figures on their own and it’s 30%. What Sizewell C is going to do is make a bad situation worse.

“It’s not the end of the consultation, we have stage two to go through and EDF are very keen to keep talking with us.”

She said the bypass was “absolutely” necessary, despite the new traffic figures.

Initial EDF traffic surveys in May last year showed the traffic flow recorded through the “four villages’ stretch of the A12 was on average about 16,600 vehicles per day.

EDF estimates the traffic will increase to about 18,600 vehicles a day before Sizewell C’s peak construction phase simply due to economic growth unconnected with the nuclear plant.

During construction the firm says it will add about 1,200 vehicles a day - a mixture of HGVs, light goods vehicles, cars and buses. This figure represents an increase of between six and 7%, EDF claims.

Guy McGregor, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for roads and transport, said: “I think it is a serious matter, the highways authority is entitled to serious figures from developers. We have to give our response to the consultation and a lot of work will have to go in to this. We need to consider all the figures.”

Angela Piearce, head of the Sizewell C Project for EDF, said they were committed to consultation.

“People have asked for further information on how we reached the five to 15% figure for the additional traffic that the construction of Sizewell C will put on the “four villages” stretch of the A12. We are happy to provide that,” she said. “We used the figures of five to 15% in our consultation material as an approximate guide to the impact the project may have on the traffic on this stretch of the A12.

“This recognises there will be fluctuations in the traffic flows over time and also reflects the relatively early stages of the Sizewell C project.

“We are confident that the range quoted in the consultation is a sound estimate of the likely impact of Sizewell C on the four villages stretch of the A12.

“Based on these figures, our current view is that a full bypass of the four villages would not be justified by the impact of our construction traffic.”

The EADT has re-launched its Bypass 4 The Villages campaign, calling for a firm commitment to build the road.

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