Sizewell C 'could be needed'

A DISTRICT council will consult closely with communities if plans for Sizewell C are submitted following the Government's latest review of energy supply, a senior member has pledged.

By David Green

A DISTRICT council will consult closely with communities if plans for Sizewell C are submitted following the Government's latest review of energy supply, a senior member has pledged.

Rae Leighton, environment portfolio holder for Suffolk Coastal District Council and a local county councillor, said he believed there could be a need for a further nuclear power station to be built at the Sizewell site.

However, before making a decision on whether to recommend approval, the district council would listen to the views of local people, he said.


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“We have already shown our commitment to renewable forms of energy by approving six wind turbines at Parham and, in principle, we support the development of the big wind farm proposed some miles off-shore.

“But if there is going to be a shortage of energy then every resource, including nuclear, needs to be looked at and reviewed,” he said.

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Mr Leighton said he would be sympathetic to a Sizewell C if traffic concerns and other impacts could be addressed.

Existing roads would be inadequate for coping with traffic if the decommissioning of Sizewell A coincided with the construction of Sizewell C, and improvements would be sought.

However, building a third power station at Sizewell would be less controversial than building on a new greenfield site, Mr Leighton said.

The jobs created by the construction and operation of Sizewell C would help address the loss of jobs following the closure of the A station, scheduled for the end of 2006.

He added young people living in the area, particularly in Leiston, would be presented with welcome employment opportunities.

“If an application is submitted we will take a pragmatic view and seek assurances on a range of issues, including decommissioning and disposal of waste.

“We will also consult closely with local communities and listen to all of them,” Mr Leighton added.

Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is thought to favour the nuclear option for the long-term - is expected this week to order a new energy review in the light of predictions that the closure of Britain's older nuclear power stations over the next ten years will leave a shortage.

Mr Blair is said to be also concerned that without further nuclear power stations the country will be unable to meet its targets to cut emissions of gases, which are causing global warming.

Meanwhile Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett, whose scepticism about nuclear power is well documented, signalled that she might have to endorse a new generation of atomic power stations even if she would be “very reluctant” to do so.

However, last night opposition politicians and environmental campaigners warned Mr Blair against giving his backing to a new generation of nuclear power plants amid cost and safety concerns.

david.green@eadt.co.uk

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