Sizewell: Row over �1.3m nuclear cash ‘windfall’ from Sizewell B

COMMUNITIES have missed out on much-needed cash at the expense of local wildlife, it has been claimed.

The money has been made available by EDF Energy after it was given the green light for a multi-million pound building to store highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel at Sizewell.

The company, which received the go-ahead for the store from Energy Minister Charles Hendry, is making available an initial �100,000, plus �20,000 a year for 60 years, a total of �1.3million.

All is to be spent improving the nationally designated Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), within which the Sizewell nuclear site stands.

The new Accessibility and Amenity Fund will be administered by EDF, Suffolk Coastal District Council and Suffolk County Council in consultation with the AONB unit.

However, concern was expressed at the quarterly meeting of the Sizewell Stakeholder Group – set up to improve the flow of information between the nuclear site, its regulators and the local community – that there had been no local consultation and communities were being neglected at the expense of wildlife.

Bill Howard, who represents Leiston-cum-Sizewell Town Council and is also a member of the local Campaign Against Nuclear Expansion, said: “Wildlife is getting this money but not the local community.”

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Joan Girling, a co-opted member, said that while she would be among the first to support the AONB, consultees should have included the SSG and local town and parish councils.

Agreeing with members, SSG chairman Richard Smith said he regretted the focus of spending would not be on the Sizewell and Leiston area.

Jim Crawford, Sizewell B station director, told the meeting that the fund had been set up in consultation with Suffolk Coastal District Council and Andrew Nunn, district councillor and a member of the local authority’s ruling cabinet, said he understood there were legal restraints on what could be offered in mitigation for the fuel store development.

A Suffolk Coastal spokesman said later that the funds have been set aside to help mitigate the impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, to produce a travel plan and for road surveys pre and post construction of the store, along with an undertaking to fully restore any damage to highways.”

The spokesman said no decisions had been taken on the allocation of funds and the initial �100,000 would not be available until the middle of 2012.

n Bosses at Sizewell B started taking the power station off-line yesterday as part of a planned refuelling outage.

Bosses at Sizewell B started taking the power station off-line yesterday as part of a planned refuelling outage.

Staff will also complete a number of maintenance projects – including the replacement of pressuriser heaters.

An additional 1,200 specialist workers are brought onto site to help, while 25 local suppliers will also share contracts worth a combined value of up to �3m.

Local firms set to benefit include welding and machinists J T Pegg & Sons from Aldeburgh and precision engineering experts H W Webb Engineering from Bungay.

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