EDF to consider alternative transport routes and sites for SZC workers’ campus

Read online.  East Anglian Daily Time, 17 November 2017 by Richard Cornwell

Alternative sites for an accommodation complex for 2,400 power station construction workers will be examined in detail – and have not been ruled out at this stage.

Officials from EDF Energy say they will also examine the possibility of further improvements to the B1122 road from the A12 at Yoxford to Leiston.

EDF’s preferred site for the Sizewell C workers’ campus is near Eastbridge and Minsmere, but has generated fierce objection from campaigners worried about its impact on the environment and from people living nearby.

Consultants Boyer and Cannon working for Suffolk County Council have suggested a number of alternative locations, near Saxmundham and Leiston, plus splitting accommodation across several sites.

Last night officials from EDF met with representatives of parish councils and a wide range of organisations to report back on the feedback – more than 1,000 responses – to the Sizewell C stage two consultation, which closed in February.

Carly Vince, head of strategic planning for EDF Energy Nuclear New Build, said the company would be considering each of the sites put forward by the county council consultants and would report back on these as part of the stage three consultation to either justify a new site or to justify the Eastbridge option.

She said Eastbridge had become the preferred option after the stage one consultation when other sites were rejected, and other potential locations had already been ruled out before this as part of initial preparatory work.

Eastbridge is EDF’s preferred site because it would be on the doorstep of the construction site, allowing workers to walk to work, taking cars off the road, allow better management of the workforce, and reduce demand for short-term accommodation elsewhere, limiting impact on the tourist and private housing sector.

She said: “We will look at each in more detail in terms of the environmental impact, the effect on community and functionality. We have not ruled out any sites.”

EDF has proposed a new junction at the A12/B1122 at Yoxford, either traffic lights or a roundabout, which is preferred by the public and is needed because the junction is nearing capacity, and also some improvements along the B1122. The route will be reassessed to see if more work is required.

EADT – Protest group asks new EDF chief to visit Suffolk to hear Sizewell C views

Members of Sizewell C protest group TEAGS with protest banners outside Endeavour House before a Suffolk County Council cabinet meeting. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Members of Sizewell C protest group TEAGS with protest banners outside Endeavour House before a Suffolk County Council cabinet meeting. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Campaigners have invited EDF Energy’s new boss to meet them and see first-hand the area which will be affected by Sizewell C, should the twin reactor nuclear power station be built

Alison Downes and Paul Collins, co chairs of Theberton & Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell C (TEAGS), have issued the invitation to Simone Rossi, who takes over today as the company’s new chief executive. [Read the Open Letter here.]

TEAGS wants to put its concerns to Mr Rossi face-to-face and give him a guided tour of the area, including Minsmere and the county’s Heritage Coast, and Theberton and Eastbridge, on the front line of the plans for Sizewell.

His predecessor Vincent de Rivaz said only this week that he expected Sizewell C to be built and generating electricity by 2031.

In their open letter to Mr Rossi, Ms Downes and Mr Collins said: “As EDF’s proposals currently stand, 2,400 construction workers are to be housed in temporary accommodation on the boundary of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and 900 lorries will be pounding down a country road through our villages, shaking listed buildings and residents alike.

“We are currently awaiting feedback on EDF’s second stage consultation, but unless radical changes are made, we will be forced to conclude that the consultations are purely symbolic and that EDF has never had any intention of addressing our concerns.

“We hope that you will help to repair relations with our community by visiting us, so that we may discuss our concerns directly with you.”

They said Mr Rossi, in his new role, had “an opportunity to bring a fresh approach to tackling the cumulative and unacceptable impacts” of constructing Sizewell C.

These included the social and environmental consequences of the workers’ campus and urged him to re-examine all options including split-sites; the impact of a “massive increase” in heavy vehicles using the B1122, congestion at its A12 junction, and the need for a Sizewell Relief Road, as proposed for Sizewell B; and the “cumulative impact on the fragile environment” of the Minsmere and Sizewell levels, surrounding the AONB and on the tourist-based economy of the east Suffolk area.

EDF Energy did not wish to comment on TEAGS’ letter to Mr Rossi.

Letter to the Editor, EADT 16 September 2017

Our letter in response to Paul Geater’s article in the East Anglian Daily Times was published by the EADT on 16 September.

The Writing on the Wall for Sizewell C?

It was heartening to read Paul Geater (14 September) adding his voice to the growing chorus questioning whether we should shackle future generations to the huge – and increasingly uncompetitive – costs of nuclear power. As he says, within a few years, off shore wind will be producing electricity at half the cost.

With June’s damming report from the National Audit Office about how Hinkley Point was a bad deal, and the government’s review into cost-effective energy due next month, perhaps the UK’s commitment to massive new nuclear developments will at last begin to unravel. However in the meantime, EDF will continue to advance its plans for the construction of Sizewell C and to ignore the vociferous representations from local communities about the impact and human cost of its proposals.

Paul Geater rightly describes the blight for Eastbridge and Theberton which will result from the proposed five storey ‘temporary’ accommodation campus ‘built not so much on their doorstep as in their front room’. But EDF plans are even direr – with huge excavations and 40 metre high spoil heaps 100 yards from Eastbridge, not to mention the dust and noise from excavating machinery and dumper trucks.

EDF will very shortly be revealing which of their plans they are prepared to modify in the light of community objections to its Stage 2 proposals earlier this year. At the very least, we would expect EDF to commit to a full review of its accommodation plans in the light of the independent report published in July by Boyer and Cannon, commissioned by Suffolk County Council, which demonstrated that there were several alternative sites – including the option of split sites – with considerably reduced impacts to the Eastbridge site, that offered the legacy potential of much needed and affordable, permanent housing.

Our region and our precious environment deserves no less.

Alison Downes & Paul Collins
Co Chairs,
Theberton & Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell C (TEAGS)

Is this the end of the nuclear age? Why the writing is on the wall for Sizewell C plans

Is this the end of the nuclear age? Why the writing is on the wall for Sizewell C plans

By Paul Geater, East Anglian Daily Times, 14 September 2017

All my life, nuclear power has been a part of Suffolk life – and for 50 years it has felt as if it would always be there.

As a child in the 1960s I remember Sizewell power station (later Sizewell A) being built just down the road from our home near Leiston.

As a young reporter in the early 1980s I remember the Sizewell B inquiry, and for three years I covered the construction of that plant as our Leiston-based reporter.

But an announcement earlier this week indicated to me that Sizewell C will never be built.

It suggested that nuclear energy, for years seen as the cutting edge of technology, is now out of date – and due to be consigned to the history books.

This week it was confirmed that electricity from offshore wind turbines was now cheaper than it is from nuclear power stations – and that within a few years it will be only half the cost.

And wind and solar power is now becoming much more reliable. Huge new offshore turbines can now add significant power to the grid with only a light breeze.

You might need extra power capacity to come on and go off during weather dips – but nuclear is not the technology to supply that. Nuclear plants have to be on all the time; you can’t switch them on and off in a matter of seconds.

For Suffolk, that has a tremendous impact, and it does need us to reconsider much of what we have considered as the future direction of the county’s development. But in essence it could turn out to be really good news.

What is the point of going ahead with a new Sizewell C nuclear plant? Isn’t it more sensible to start looking at building more wind turbines in the North Sea.

And, whisper it quietly, it makes even more sense to build more onshore wind turbines. Their power is cheaper than the offshore wind farms. It is ludicrous not to develop more of them.

I know many people seem to think these things are the work of Satan himself – but we really do have to get real!

Some vociferous critics might not like their look, feeling that “modern architecture” is out of place in the countryside, but I’m not the only person to think wind turbines can add interest to a landscape and are a fine 21st century architectural contribution to Britain’s built environment.

I don’t look at the end of the nuclear era with any great sense of triumph or satisfaction. I still see nuclear plants as an important green power generation contribution of their time. They are better for the planet than huge coal, gas or oil power stations. I’ve always considered myself to be pro-nuclear.

But they do have safety issues that cost billions to overcome – and make the cost of their electricity uneconomic. There is none of this baggage with wind or solar power.

If I’m right and this renewable news does prove to be the death-knell for Sizewell C plans, there will be relief in the villages around Eastbridge and Theberton that were going to be blighted by a huge campus built not so much on their doorstep as in their front hall!

But it will prompt concern for villages along the A12 who saw EDF cash as the way of ensuring they finally get the Four Villages by-pass.

It is wise that the proposals for the by-pass, published earlier this week, are not dependent on EDF funding. But clearly the financial backing of a huge energy giant would have helped.

Now the county council will have to promote the route to the Government and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership by stressing the links to Lowestoft and the offshore energy industry.

That has to be the future for Suffolk’s energy coast – and the figures suggest there could be a really bright future for the offshore energy industry that our ports are well-placed to support.

Of course, the Sizewell nuclear power stations will continue to be a feature of the coast for many more decades – Sizewell B will carry on generating until the middle of the century – but it’s difficult to see the nuclear dynasty continuing.

The fact is our technology has moved on – and we need to face that fact.

Local resident threatens to stop trucks in passionate election debate on Sizewell C

DSCN1674At a ‘standing room only’ debate on the impacts of Sizewell C at Theberton Church on Sunday evening (4 June), the loudest applause went to Lynda Whitbread, a local resident who threatened to lie down in front of EDF’s trucks if she had to.

The Question Time-style event was convened by three local campaign groups and featured four of the five candidates standing for the Suffolk Coastal constituency in Thursday’s election: Cameron Matthews (Labour), Eamonn O’Nolan (Green), James Sandbach (Liberal Democrats) and Philip Young (Independent). The incumbent MP Therese Coffey sent a statement saying that “out of respect for the victims of (the London) terrorist attack, I do not feel it appropriate to be publicly campaigning”. Bill Turnbull, broadcaster, journalist and local resident chaired the debate.

231 local residents from Yoxford, Middleton, Westleton, Theberton and Eastbridge, and from as far afield as Woodbridge, crammed into the 12th-century church. They asked passionate and occasionally angry questions about the planned Sizewell C nuclear power station, including road safety, workers’ accommodation, the environment and nuclear power in general. EDF’s secrecy in not releasing data on coastal erosion data or property impacts was also highlighted, as was the potential of a new Relief Road.

Independent Philip Young said that he was against Sizewell A, let alone B and C, and that “from a moral and environmental point of view, nuclear is a disaster and very expensive.” Describing himself as ‘colourful’, he said “can’t we create green jobs and tourism jobs rather than have disastrous high impact construction for 10 years?”

James Sandbach (Liberal Democrats) stated that he was not anti-nuclear, but had an open mind. “Looking at the evidence… the burdens and costs far outweigh the benefits, so I am against Sizewell C,” he said, quoting “huge costs” and “the massive impacts concerning the environment, roads and campus”. If it is to be built, a Relief Road was “essential”.

Eamonn O’Nolan (Green) said that Suffolk people are sometimes too subtle. “We need to make our voices heard. Be unreasonable – activate, activate, activate.” He mentioned that anti-fracking protesters are using ‘Lock Ons’ which allow four or five people to chain themselves across a road, and which take several hours to remove.  

Labour’s Cameron Matthews expressed concern about lack of emergency services and called for Sizewell traffic to be “taken off the roads” with new road safety measures. He said that “any accommodation should be able to be converted to social housing. Temporary is a waste of money – we could spread out the accommodation by moving it south towards Ipswich as an example.”

Conservative Therese Coffey’s response to Sizewell C’s recent consultation was read out, in which she urged EDF to “conduct a full appraisal of alternative (accommodation) sites prior to Stage 3 consultation, and “set out in detail… why (road) options explored for Sizewell B, namely the D2 route, haven’t been investigated for Sizewell C.”

The event was convened by B1122 Action Group, Theberton & Eastbridge Action Group and Minsmere Levels Stakeholder Group. A full write-up of the proceedings can be read online at http://bit.ly/SZCDebate

For comment and photos contact:

Charles Macdowell, B1122 Action Group, 07788 755300

Alison Downes, Theberton & Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell, 07711 843884.

 

Wentworth Hotel owner fears Sizewell C will deter tourists forever

Read online:  02 March 2017 by Richard Cornwell

Hotelier Michael Pritt , owner of The Wentworth in Aldeburgh,
has deep concerns about the impact of Sizewell C on tourism in the coastal area. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Hotelier Michael Pritt , owner of The Wentworth in Aldeburgh, has deep concerns about the impact of Sizewell C on tourism in the coastal area. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A leading Suffolk hotelier has voiced fears that the construction of Sizewell C could deter huge numbers of tourists from visiting the county – and that many may never return.

Hotelier Michael Pritt , owner of The Wentworth in Aldeburgh,
has deep concerns about the impact of Sizewell C on tourism in the coastal area. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNHotelier Michael Pritt , owner of The Wentworth in Aldeburgh, has deep concerns about the impact of Sizewell C on tourism in the coastal area. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN
Michael Pritt says the £14billion ten-year project to build the twin reaction will cause “irreparable damage and destroy this part of Suffolk as we know it now”.

Mr Pritt, who owns the Wentworth hotel, in Aldeburgh, and stresses he is not anti nuclear, has labelled the project Sizewell C and D as it will feature two reactors.

He said: “Not only will these plans have an enormous physical impact on the Suffolk countryside and coast but also have a drastic impact on the tourism in the area.

“The argument of increased employment opportunities has often been used to justify this tearing apart of our countryside but jobs connected to tourism far outweigh those provided by EDF and many of these jobs will be in jeopardy.

“Anyone in a tourist-related business who is rubbing their hands together in glee at the thought of business to be gained from Sizewell C and D needs to ask themselves why tourists would want to visit this area once construction starts and would they ever return when Sizewell C and D is completed.

“The construction compound, also situated near Eastbridge and the Minsmere bird reserve, will destroy ancient walks and bridleways, woodlands and marshes. An access road is planned which will cross the Sizewell marshes, a stunning part of our countryside and irreplaceable.

“The sheer scale of destruction is truly unimaginable and by the time you see it happening it will be too late to do anything to save it.”

An EDF Energy spokeswoman said: “More than 3,500 people took part in the Sizewell C Stage 2 consultation. Each issue raised will now be considered and used to help inform final proposals which will be subject to further consultation.

“EDF Energy works with the Suffolk Coast Destination Management Organisation and the group is represented on the project Community Forum to ensure their views are shared.

“We recognise that the construction of Sizewell C will have benefits and impacts so our focus is on consultation and learning from stakeholders so we can maximise the benefits.”

Study assessing ‘up to eight options’ for Sizewell C workforce campus

slb 016 Sizewell C Reaction 06~1

Research is being carried out into a number of alternative options for a campus for workers constructing the Sizewell C nuclear power station.

A computer-generated image of how the Sizewell nuclear complex would look after construction of Sizewell C. Image: EDF EnergyA computer-generated image of how the Sizewell nuclear complex would look after construction of Sizewell C. Image: EDF Energy
Current proposals for accommodation for 2,400 workers at Eastbridge, near Leiston, have been heavily criticised – with most councils and campaigners deeply unhappy at the location.

Now it has been revealed Suffolk County Council is carrying out research into what campaigners believe could be up to eight alternative sites or options for the campus.

Some campaigners would prefer to see several small sites located around the area rather than one huge village-sized block, while others believe the accommodation should be much further away – the edge of Ipswich or Lowestoft.

In its latest consultation, EDF puts forward only the site at of the junction of the B1122 and Eastbridge Road but various options for it – with buildings four or five storeys high depending on whether sports facilities are on-site or built in Leiston.

EDF feels a campus close to the construction site will have operational advantages and reduce bus journeys.

The county council says it understands the rationale of an accommodation campus located at or close to the construction site, but “remains concerned about the environmental impacts of the proposed site location, which may cause an overload on the sensitive environment of the AONB”.

Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell (TEAGS) said: “We do not understand EDF’s refusal to properly consider and report on alternative campus locations, perhaps multiple sites, in urban settings with suitable infrastructure in place.

“EDF insists that a single on-site campus is more ‘efficient’ – for the developer, perhaps, but not for residents or tourists.”

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said: “We are in the process of producing a report looking at the options surrounding the accommodation for those working on the Sizewell C project.

“When it is complete the report will be shared with all stakeholders to help inform further consultation and discussion with EDF Energy.

“We’ve asked EDF Energy to look again at their current plans as we are not convinced and we believe they need to do more work surrounding our concerns.”

Sizewell C campaigners say Government must take bigger role on power station project

Alison Downes and Su Swallow, co-chairmen of the TEAGS action group on Sizewell C, hand over comments on the Stage 2 consultation at EDF Energy's office in Leiston.

Alison Downes and Su Swallow, co-chairmen of the TEAGS action group on Sizewell C, hand over comments on the Stage 2 consultation at EDF Energy’s office in Leiston.

by Richard Cornwell, 7 February 2017

Campaigners are seeking meetings with two Government ministers as they press the case for more Whitehall help to offset the huge predicted impact of Sizewell C.

With the construction of the nuclear power station likely to take more than a decade, it will cause enormous disruption across a wide area – affecting tourism, the environment, traffic, and people’s day-to-day lives.

Action groups believe the Government, having designated the county’s coast as a location for a new nuclear build, needs to take a more active role in the project because of the sensitive nature of the site.

Alison Downes, co-chairman of Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell (TEAGS), said: “The Suffolk coast is a completely different site from Hinkley Point, which is a brownfield site, and needs to be treated very differently.

“Essentially, this is a proposal for Sizewell C and Sizewell D as one project and will have an enormous impact.

“We want to meet the Government ministers involved to ensure they fully understand what is happening. At the moment we just feel there is not enough intervention or oversight or recognition of the sensitivity of this area and the need for a special approach.”

TEAGS believes some of the impacts will be magnified by the sheer scale of the proposed development. It has asked EDF: “Is there merit in a review of the size of the development, and the benefits that could be achieved by a reduction in scale?”

Along with the B1122 Action Group, Minsmere Levels Stakeholder Group and others, TEAGS is trying to set up meetings with Jesse Norman, under secretary of state for industry and energy, and under secretary of state for transport, Andrew Jones.

Charles Macdowell, of the B1122 Action Group, said: “EDF seems to have a one-size-fits-all model for two reactors and two turbine halls.

“They are building a power station at Flamanville, then put forward the exact same one for Hinkley Point C, and then the exact same one for Sizewell C.”

EDF Energy’s Stage Two consultation for the project has now closed and the company has this week started the process of analysing the responses, which it says it will take into account as it prepares to finalise its plans.

http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/sizewell_c_campaigners_say_government_must_take_bigger_role_on_power_station_project_1_4880869