Suffolk Coastal: Authority looking for �100m ‘community fund’ if Sizewell C is given the go ahead

COMMUNITY benefits costing up to �100million should be financed by energy giant EDF if the Sizewell C nuclear power station project gets the go-ahead, according to members of a local authority “task force”.

The task force - a joint committee set up by Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council - will insist that a by-pass for four A12 villages and other road improvements, as well as work on the rail system are conditions of any planning permission.

A “stacking area” for lorries bound for Sizewell C – similar to the one currently used for the Port of Felixstowe – will also be on the agenda when negotiations start with EDF.

The proposed new stacking site – off the A14 or A12 – could ultimately replace the present stacking area for port traffic.

The task force also wants priority to be given to transport of Sizewell C construction materials by sea, to reduce pressure on local roads.

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Other targets include financial support for a scheme in which students of local schools and colleges will be given preparatory work to help them to compete successfully for the high quality jobs the project will create.

EDF warned recently that financial arrangements being negotiated in respect of Hinkley Point C in Somerset, the first of the planned new generation of nuclear power stations, would not necessarily be replicated for Sizewell C as the impact on the two areas would be different.

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However, Suffolk councillors are determined to attract much more than the �30million already allocated for the community around Hinkley Point. The target for east Suffolk is �100million.

This would include the cost of an A12 bypass for the villages of Farnham, Stratford St Andrew, Little Glemham and Marlesford, an improvement that the East Anglian Daily Times has long campaigned for.

Other major improvements to the A12 and the creation of a second rail track on the East Suffolk line in the Campsea Ashe station area would also be included.

One member of the task force, who asked not to be identified, said: “We are determined to make certain that east Suffolk is not short-changed by the Sizewell C project.”

The task force, which meets at the district council offices in Melton, has been set up with the aim of becoming the interface between EDF and the east Suffolk community.

It has an administrative officer whose wages, under planning law, are paid for by EDF, which is currently preparing for a public consultation over Sizewell C.

The twin reactor power station is expected to cost in excess of �6billion and provide thousands of construction jobs.

The task force has also joined a new local authority group which is made up of representatives of all the potential sites for new nuclear plants. A forthcoming meeting of the organisation will be in Suffolk.

East Suffolk’s three MPs – Peter Aldous (Waveney), Therese Coffey (Suffolk Coastal) and Dan Poulter (Central Suffolk and North Ipswich) have all given their support to the aims of the task force in its quest to get the best possible deal for the local community.

Guy McGregor, task force chairman, said the aim was to mitigate the environmental impact of any future development at Sizewell while maximising the economic and social benefits for communities in east Suffolk.

“We expect the sums of money involved to be far greater the �30m quoted for Somerset,” added Mr McGregor who is the county portfolio holder for roads, transport and planning.

An EDF spokesman said the company could not comment on the task force proposals because formal consultations over Sizewell C had not started.

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