Campaigners welcome Suffolk’s tougher stance on Sizewell C concerns
17:30 01 February 2017, East Anglian Daily Times, Andrew Hirst
Campaigners seeking a better deal from Suffolk’s new nuclear power plant have been “heartened” by the county’s firmer stance on the proposals.
Suffolk County Council’s cabinet agreed its official response to EDF Energy’s latest Sizewell C consultation this week, calling for more evidence and other options to be considered.
Councillors Michael Gower and Richard Smith also called for Suffolk to take a more “robust” role. Mr Gower said Suffolk needed a 12-point action plan.
Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell (TEAGS) and B1122 Action Group, have welcomed the response, which was created with Suffolk Coastal District Council.
The groups have previously raised concerns over proposals for a five-storey accommodation campus near RSPB Minsmere and to use the B1122 as a main transport route, as well as environmental issues to do with the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. TEAGS’ Alison Downes, who called for a “full review of potential alternative sites for the accommodation campus” during the meeting, said her members had been “heartened by the strong words” on the key issues.
“We echo the call by councillors Gower and Smith for the council’s position to be strengthened still further, including the idea of a 12 point plan to lay down stringent terms to EDF for the development of Sizewell C,” she added.
“Such a plan must include dispersal of the worker accommodation, a dedicated relief road, no quarries or spoil heaps and dramatically increased commitments on environmental protection.”
Charles Macdowell, of the B1122 Action Group, added: “The two councils have called EDF’s bluff. EDF are only now kidding themselves when they say that the narrow B1122 can take as many as 1,500 HGVs and buses a day without real risks to local people, and damage to their homes. Their stubborn refusal to consider a relief road is now indefensible. We have been hugely reassured by both Councils’ determination to stick up for local people and their very real concerns.”
Bob Hoggar, of Together Against Sizewell C, also spoke at the meeting, saying the power station would harm the AONB.
EDF said it had engaged with more than 3,500 people during the consultation and there would be further opportunities for people to put their views forward.
Suffolk should ‘get on war-footing’ with 12-point Brexit-style plan for Sizewell C
18:29 31 January 2017
Suffolk has been called on to create a 12-point plan for Sizewell C – echoing Prime Minister Theresa May’s vision for Brexit.
Community leaders today criticised the county’s “passive and supine” involvement in EDF Energy’s nuclear power plant proposals, to date, and pushed for a more “robust” response.
Michael Gower, whose Blything division at Suffolk County Council (SCC) neighbours the development site, urged his colleagues to “get on the war-footing” with EDF.
His calls for a 12-point plan came during SCC’s extraordinary cabinet meeting on its response to stage two of EDF’s consultation.
The 150-page response criticises EDF for failing to provide evidence about its proposals or consider alternatives. It says the council cannot back its plans without further work.
Chief topics of concern remain the five-storey campus to house 2,400 workers near RSPB Minsmere; the B1122 as a main transport route, and the environmental impact of building a nuclear power station in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
While councillors repeatedly stressed their desire to work with EDF over its proposals, which would create hundreds of jobs and bring millions of pounds to Suffolk’s economy, there was agreement that Suffolk needed a better deal. Guy McGregor, chairman of Sizewell C Joint Local Authorities Group, said: “If Suffolk is going to do the right thing by the nation, regarding its energy needs, it is essential that the nation – and especially EDF – do the right thing by Suffolk.”
Mr McGregor added that Suffolk was “frustrated” by the lack of progress from EDF so far.
Richard Smith, whose Leiston division is directly affected by the proposal, was the only cabinet member not to approve the response. He was “extremely distressed” that it did not recommend the “D2” route – a new road from the A12 to Sizewell – as an alternative to the B1122. He criticised the report and said it should be “more demanding.”
Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell, B1122 Action Group and Together Against Sizewell C – all asked the council for assurances. Afterwards, Alison Downes, of TEAGS, said she “absolutely endorsed” the 12-point plan and came away “very heartened”. “We’ve heard a lot today that means we can hold SCC to account,” she added.
An EDF spokesman said: “Our Stage 2 public consultation ends on Friday and we are continuing to meet residents and community groups to get their feedback on our proposals.
“We have already engaged with over 3,500 people.
“This is only the second stage of a multi stage consultation, providing enough detail for stakeholders to provide an opinion on the issues and plans presented.
“We look forward to reading all the responses and how they will inform out developing proposals for Sizewell C, an important project for Suffolk.”
Video report from ITV News Anglia’s Helen Keenan.
There are growing concerns over the impact that building Sizewell C could have on one of the region’s most beautiful areas of countryside.
Next week, both Suffolk County Council and the local district council will present a paper to EDF Energy about the impact of traffic and the design of the plant on the neighbouring landscape.
The authorities say they need much more detail to be reassured about the proposals.
The energy company insists it takes all its environmental responsibilities seriously, as Helen Keenan reports.
Suffolk councils to withhold backing for EDF Energy’s Sizewell C nuclear power station
06:00 24 January 2017
Community leaders are set to withhold their backing for a £14billion new nuclear power plant on the Suffolk coast – saying EDF Energy needs to do a lot more work to reassure the public.
Senior councillors and officials are voicing “deep concerns” over some aspects of the latest consultation and how the impacts of the massive development will be mitigated.
While they support the principal of a new power station and recognise the benefits for the local economy, they say there is a “lack of information” still – four years since the last consultation – on a range of vital issues, including traffic and transport, the environment, and design of the plant.
They say it is unclear how social and economic benefits will be delivered to communities, and some areas of concern have not been covered at all.
Both Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council have been frustrated by the short period of the Stage 2 consultation, which they say made it challenging for the councils to coordinate their response.
They are urging EDF to allow significantly more time for the Stage 3 consultation, the final stage, given the large amount of material expected to be released at that point.
Suffolk County councillor Guy McGregor, chairman of Sizewell C Joint Local Authorities Group (JLAG) said: “Whilst we understand the need to address the UK’s future power needs and we broadly support the principal of a new nuclear power station being built in our community in Suffolk, we are not able to support the specific proposals put forward at this time.
“We believe that the impacts of the development planned in its current guise are as yet, not fully mitigated or evidenced.
“There is much more work for EDF Energy to do to convince us that their plans are up to the expectation we place upon them on behalf of the people of Suffolk. For a number of reasons outlined in our report, we are not yet fully convinced that the benefits of EDF’s proposals outweigh the impacts on the community.”
The authorities also want to see details of community benefits.
At Hinkley Point C, EDF is spending £92million on compensation and mitigation – just 0.6% of the total cost of the project – but as yet the benefits from Sizewell C have not been costed.
The council says: “Sizewell C is, in comparison with Hinkley Point, a much more complex site with more demanding mitigation requirements for its impacts on the AONB.”
Mr McGregor said: “Suffolk wants to do right by the country in respect of this project, but the country has to do right by Suffolk. When you consider the huge cost of the power station we are asking for very little.”
The councils are keen to collaborate with EDF to help them develop their proposals.
Suffolk Coastal councillor Geoff Holdcroft, vice chairman of JLAG, said the district council had particular reservations over a number of aspects and wanted absolute clarity from EDF Energy before it was prepared to offer support.
He said: “We do recognise the positive social and economic benefits that may come to local communities in East Suffolk but we need to know more about how these benefits will be achieved and this can only happen if we work with EDF Energy and Government to make sure our voice is heard. We want EDF Energy to put more effort into addressing the concerns that have come directly from our communities and from our local authorities.
“This massive project can be good for Suffolk, but we need much greater detail and evidence from EDF Energy before we are able to offer firm support.”
EDF has said that it wants to hear all views on its proposals and will take these into account as it prepares for Stage 3 consultation. The current consultation ends on February 3.
EDF Energy’s latest Sizewell C consultation comes in for hard-hitting criticism from the two councils over failings in the way it addresses the impact the gigantic project would have on Suffolk’s nationally-acclaimed coast and heaths landscape and the area’s sensitive ecology, writes environment correspondent John Grant.
Serious concerns are raised by Suffolk County and Suffolk Coastal District councils over the effects the huge scheme would have on the Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the economically important tourism that the designated beauty attracts and the area’s internationally acknowledged natural habitats and rare and protected wildlife.
The councils describe the Stage 2 Consultation document as “disappointing in that it fails to recognise or truly acknowledge the environmental challenge that development at this site faces, nor the likelihood of residual impacts in a number of areas”.
They say: “Some environmental issues are hardly covered at all, for example – some ecological surveys appear to have been overlooked. There needs to be further significant work to seek to survey, understand, quantify and qualify these impacts.”
They were “not satisfied” that the consultation “adequately recognises the status of, or the likely impacts of the proposal on, this nationally designated landscape.”
They remained “deeply concerned about design of the main reactor site, given that Sizewell C will be sited in a landscape of national and international importance and sensitivity, given its location within an AONB and on a designated Heritage Coast.”
Sizewell C’s design “should be an environmental exemplar” and improvement was expected. Where this was not possible there a “compensation package due to the lasting impact on and damage to the AONB” was expected.
Among a wide range of other environmental concerns, the councils say the area of the Sizewell Marshes Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) expected to be permanently lost had increased from 4.6 hectares in Stage 1 to 5.55ha, and some habitat now proposed to be lost was “much harder to replace” elsewhere.
Campaigners have voiced “huge disappointment” that the county and district councils are not pressing for a new road to directly link the A12 and Sizewell.
Traffic along the B1122 is forecast to rise by 542% during the peak construction period – and residents in Yoxford, Theberton and Middleton are worried at the congestion, pollution and danger this will cause.
County councillors Michael Gower and Richard Smith are both concerned that a suggested link road, called the D2, has not been put forward by the councils.
Mr Smith said: “This road has been costed at £40m – it’s not a showstopper. It would be a quicker and safer route to and from the site and would provide a lasting legacy for this part of east Suffolk.”
Mr Gower said: “The cost is a tiny percentage of the £14bn it will cost to build this power station, and it will provide a much better route to and from the growing town of Leiston and be a positive legacy.”
The councils’ joint response will criticise suggested improvements, including a roundabout or traffic lights at the Yoxford A12 junction, because not enough evidence has been provided to show it would be a solution.
JLAG chairman Guy McGregor said it was up to EDF to bring forward options.
Meanwhile, providing a bypass for two villages – Farnham and Stratford St Andrew – should be the “absolute bare minimum” that EDF should provide, according to the councils.
They are hoping the company will give more to the Suffolk Energy Gateway project and say road improvements, including a Four Village Bypass to include Little Glemham and Marlesford, should be ready ahead of the development.
However, the commitment to bypass two communities should give the councils leverage to persuade Government to add funds.
Hundreds attending Theberton Sizewell C meeting show people feel ‘profoundly let down’ by EDF Energy
12:23 09 January 2017, Andrew Hirst
Campaigners calling for a better deal from Suffolk’s new nuclear power station claim the strong turn out at a recent public meeting has demonstrated how people feel “let down” by the latest proposals.
More than 200 people are reported to have attended St Peter’s Church in Theberton, near Leiston, on Saturday to discuss EDF Energy’s stage two consultation on Sizewell C.
Organised by Theberton and Eastbridge Parish Council and campaign groups, the meeting also welcomed Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey, county councillors Michael Gower and Richard Smith, and several district councillors.
The meeting comes during EDF’s stage two public consultation exercise, which has faced criticism for its inclusion of plans to build an accommodation campus near Minsmere and to use the B1122 as a transport route, both of which were opposed during stage one.
Su Swallow, co-chairman of the Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell (TEAGS), one of the organisers, said: “The large numbers of people attending and the passionate expressions of concern showed how much local people feel profoundly let down by EDF’s Sizewell C stage two proposals.”
Speakers at the meeting, organised with the B1122 Action Group and Minsmere Levels Stakeholder Group, highlighted the importance of submitting a response to EDF by the February 3 deadline.
Alison Downes, co-chairman of TEAGS said EDF has “much to do” to address concerns and called for it to be “more transparent”.
EDF said it was holding 23 public exhibitions and claimed the latest proposals have taken in to account feedback from stage one. It has highlighted changes to the development site, a reduction in the number of workers being housed in the campus, and the inclusion of a bypass around Farnham and Stratford St Andrew as examples.
The Sizewell C Project Team recently met TEAGS and explained the latest proposals were part of an ongoing consultation process, not the final plans.
Jim Crawford, Sizewell C project development director said: “We’re encouraged by the constructive engagement of local people in the consultation process as this will help shape the future development of plans for Sizewell C.”
Dr Coffey said she “heard strongly” from those at the meeting that the proposed campus location and solutions for the B1122 were not acceptable.
“I agree with that,” she added.
“There were some new points raised which I will look into and I recognise that there are some residents who do not want the new power station at all.”
9 January 2017, for Immediate Release
JOINT PRESS STATEMENT
Theberton & Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell (TEAGS), B1122 Action Group & Minsmere Levels Stakeholder Group 
Over 200 attend joint Public Meeting on Sizewell C.
Meeting expresses strong opposition to EDF’s Stage 2 proposals.
[THEBERTON, EAST SUFFOLK] Over 200 people packed into St Peter’s Church Theberton on Saturday 7 January for a spirited Public Meeting on Sizewell C, organised by Theberton and Eastbridge Parish Council with Theberton & Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell (TEAGS), B1122 Action Group and Minsmere Levels Stakeholder Group. A number of elected representatives participated: Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey, County Councillors including Michael Gower and Richard Smith, District Councillors and representatives from other Parish Councils nearby. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and encourage individual responses to EDF’s Stage 2 consultation on Sizewell C.
“The large numbers of people attending and the passionate expressions of concern showed how much local people feel profoundly let down by EDF’s Sizewell C Stage 2 proposals,” said Su Swallow, Co Chair of TEAGS. “Of overriding concern are EDF’s complete failure to present any new ideas in response to widespread opposition to a campus for 2,400 so close to Minsmere and Eastbridge, and its refusal to consider a relief road instead of relying on the B1122, which is clearly not fit for purpose. The dangers of water and dust pollution from EDF’s planned borrow pits and spoil heaps – especially to the Minsmere reserve – coastal erosion and the effect on tourism were also major topics of discussion.”
Speakers at the Public Meeting highlighted the importance of submitting a response to EDF by the 3 February deadline, and sending copies of their responses both to elected representatives and the Planning Inspectorate. With local people feeling frustrated at the lack of changes in EDF’s plans to date, speakers emphasised that the proposals at Stage 2 were always expected to merely be a “glossier” version of those at Stage 1, and that the critical period for action was between now and EDF’s Stage 3 consultation (dates uncertain).
“EDF has much to do to address local concerns about its plans for constructing Sizewell C. In addition to plugging the many significant holes in the information provided at Stage 2, we also call on EDF to be more transparent about the opinions expressed in the responses it receives, and more accountable to those that take the trouble to submit their views,” said Alison Downes, TEAGS Co Chair.
At the Public Meeting, Theberton & Eastbridge Parish Council sought residents’ views to help inform the Council’s response to Stage 2. This was followed by short presentations from TEAGS, B1122 and Minsmere Levels Stakeholder Group on transport, accommodation and the environment, before an open question and answer session. Saturday’s event had been promoted during a touring mini-exhibition ‘A Better Route to Sizewell C’, which shadowed EDF’s exhibit at nine locations before Christmas, to highlight the myriad concerns about EDF’s build plans and inform responses to Stage 2 consultations.
For more detailed comment on the various issues, contact:
General & Accommodation: Su Swallow or Alison Downes, TEAGS, 07711 843884, firstname.lastname@example.org
Transport: Charles Macdowell, B1122 Action Group, 07788 755300, email@example.com
Environment: Paul Collins, Minsmere Levels Stakeholders Group, 07503 283304, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Theberton & Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell. www.teags.org.
The B1122 Action Group. http://sizewellrelief.weebly.com.
The Minsmere Levels Stakeholder Group. http://minsmerelevelsstakeholdersgroup.onesuffolk.net