Sizewell C could bring £2billion boost for Suffolk, says independent report
- Credit: EDF ENERGY
New research suggests the Sizewell C nuclear power station could provide a £2billion boost for Suffolk during its decade long construction.
Independent experts claim the £20bn project - if it goes ahead - will also create and support thousands of extra jobs in the supply chain, such as companies producing materials and equipment for the twin reactor, and in businesses which could benefit from extra spending by the workforce.
The report has been commissioned by the Sizewell C Consortium, a collection of more than 200 leading companies and organisations from across the country, to fully understand the potential economic and social value the power project could bring, and carried out by Ernst and Young (EY).
However, opponents will counter many of the claims - and reiterate their concerns over the potential damage to the environment that construction of the plant, expected to take 10 to 12 years, will cause and the impact on jobs in the tourism industry if visitors choose other destinations.
The Suffolk Coast Destination Management Organisation (DMO) says Sizewell C and windfarm projects could cost the county's economy up to £40m per year and could result in 400 job losses.
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EY claims that at peak construction the project will employ close to 24,000 men and women directly and indirectly in its supply chain.
EDF Energy's figures suggest that construction will create 25,000 jobs over 10-12 years with 5,600 working directly on the project at peak construction.
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This would mean - according to EY - 18,000 people working on the project in the supply chain.
EY calculates that Sizewell C is expected to spend around £4.4bn in the East of England, during construction, of which around £2bn will be in spent in Suffolk - around 10% of the project cost.
Cameron Gilmour, spokesman for the Sizewell C Consortium, said: "EY’s report provides a strong and robust evidence base underlining the positive impact and legacy from Sizewell C.
"It would mean billions of pounds of investment in the East of England, tens of thousands of jobs and an economic boost for communities in the region and across the UK."
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the Sizewell C Consortium and a number of East of England MPs, business groups, businesses and educational institutes – outlining the potential investment for the East of England during the construction phase of the project.
Mr Gilmour said the MoU demonstrated "the exciting potential for jobs, investment, and long-term economic growth".
He said: "This project will be essential in levelling up and ensuring that the East of England is not left behind in the green recovery.
"For these benefits to be realised, we need a firm commitment to getting Sizewell C built by working closely with Government and consulting with local stakeholders to secure approval for the project."
Waveney MP Peter Aldous warmly welcomed the commitment to jobs, skills and investment outlined in the MoU, which provided the region with an enormous opportunity as it emerges from the devastating impact of Covid-19, but also in the longer term as a lasting legacy.
He said: "Local people must have the opportunity to acquire skills, to work on the construction of the nuclear power station and then to either work there once it has been commissioned or to transfer their skills to other sectors. This can make our area a compelling location in which to set up and grow businesses."
John Dugmore, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “This MoU is a clear and very public undertaking by the Sizewell C Consortium to deliver profound and long-term local and regional benefits from the building and operation of Sizewell C.
“As such this could be a key contributor to the uplift in employment, skills and living standards for many communities in Suffolk and across the east of England.
"The importance of such levelling up cannot be under-estimated and will be a source of encouragement to the hundreds of local firms on the Sizewell C supply chain database, managed by Suffolk Chamber.”
The Sizewell C Consortium has drawn up plans for training and upskilling to overcome skills shortages, and also to work with charities such as Access Community Trust to help support unemployed young people into work. There will also be 1,500 apprenticeships.
Opponents of Sizewell C though fear the project will have a devastating impact on the environment, harming habitat and species and the internationally renowned RSPB Minsmere reserve, and will ruin the tranquil nature of the coast loved by so many.
Some fear that most of the construction jobs will simply see workers transfer from Hinkley Point C to Suffolk rather than providing new jobs.