Website measures Sizewell C views

AN INTERNET website debate has been launched to gauge the Suffolk public's views on the prospect of a £3 billion Sizewell C nuclear power station.It aims to demonstrate that a “web” debate is a good way of involving more people in the consultation process over major issues.

AN INTERNET website debate has been launched to gauge the Suffolk public's views on the prospect of a £3 billion Sizewell C nuclear power station.

It aims to demonstrate that a “web” debate is a good way of involving more people in the consultation process over major issues.

Prime Minister Tony Blair has said a new energy review will look at whether nuclear power should be expanded in the UK - to secure electricity supplies and reduce global warming emissions from the energy sector.

Sizewell C is likely to be the first of any new nuclear plants ordered.


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The idea of a website for views on the issue is the idea of a Suffolk company, 2Cs Consult .

There is no client for the consultation and the company, which employs 20 people at offices at Martlesham Heath, is financing the project “in-house”.

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Bob Woolliams , managing director, said the website consultation was not aimed at replacing traditional methods - such as public meetings and exhibitions - but to supplement them.

“Public meetings tend to be dominated by a few very vocal people with strong views.

“We want to show that by using a website approach you can achieve a broader community involvement and capture a more balanced view of local opinion. Ten times as many people tend to get involved,” he said.

Staff will regularly assess the views expressed on the website, www.nucleardebate.co.uk , and identify how attitudes in various towns and villagers differ.

“We expect opinions to change over the course of the debate and we will track these changes,” Mr Woolliams added.

He said 2Cs Consult had been set up in 1986 and its clients included various kinds of developers, including energy companies - all seeking impartial and independent help in consulting the public. The firm also organises traditional consultation events.

Charles Barnett, chairman of the Shut Down Sizewell Campaign, said the Government-financed Committee on Radioactive Waste Management and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority both already had websites where views about decommissioning of nuclear plants and radioactive waste disposal could be expressed.

“I believe everything should be in the open and the more the public gets a chance to state its views the better - provided the exercise is not financed by private interests.

“It has got to be completely neutral and those responding should declare who they are,” he added.

david.green@eadt.co.uk

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