Sizewell: New fund to boost AONB projects
CONSERVATION projects on the Suffolk coast are set to benefit from a new fund set up to mitigate the impact of new development at the Sizewell nuclear power site.
Officials from EDF Energy, Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council have met to agree the scope of the new Amenity and Accessibility Fund (AAF).
The fund is linked to the approval of a new dry fuel store at Sizewell B, which will come into use in 2015 when the current storage pond reaches its capacity.
The work may delay the return part of the Sizewell B site to other uses so the fund – which is open to the public and interested groups – has been set up to improve and enhance the surrounding Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), from the Deben estuary in the south to the Blyth estuary in the north.
The AAF will be managed by EDF Energy and the county and district councils in consultation with the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB Unit.
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There will be an initial payment of �120,000 made by EDF Energy into the fund once construction work commences on the dry fuel store in 2012 and then further annual payments of �20,000.
Anyone can apply for funding as long as they can demonstrate their project has a direct link to improving the accessibility of the AONB or to conserving its environment.
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The fund is expected to be officially launched in January and people will be asked to submit their applications by the end of March.
Jim Crawford, Sizewell B station director, said: “We hope that this new fund will make a real difference to get projects off the ground that may otherwise not have been possible.”
Nick Collinson, Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB manager, said: “This fund was born from the need to mitigate the impact that the dry fuel store may have on the AONB.
“However it is a great boost to the local area and will mean that we can now provide grant funding for many more exciting projects in the AONB.
“The fund will be launched at an exhibition early next year and we will publish further details on our website,but the sort of projects which we hope to hear about could include installing nature trails, managing or restoring habitat, engaging communities and schools with the area or generally improving facilities for visitors to this nationally protected landscape.”