We are concerned about a lack of transparency in relation to a number of other issues arising from the Sizewell C proposals that either directly or indirectly will affect this community. These issues include:
How long will construction really last?
EDF Energy should be more transparent about the possible maximum construction period. The consultation documents state that construction is expected to take seven to nine years, yet the Flamanville nuclear power station, being constructed by EDF Energy in northern France, is already at least four years over schedule. This represents a 50 per cent increase in the negative impacts on the local community.
How many local people will actually benefit from the employment promised by EDF Energy?
Where are the real figures? The vast majority of the 5,000+ work force during the construction phase will come in from elsewhere in the UK and from abroad. Permanent employment opportunities for locals will only become available once the building phase is complete, and will be limited.
How many local people will actually benefit from education opportunities promised by EDF Energy?
How many local colleges are preparing to train young people to equip them in time for work at Sizewell? What recognition is given to the large number of older residents, who will not benefit from employment or education but will have to suffer the brunt of the disruption, in many cases for the remainder of their lives?
What will be the real impact on our farming communities?
Local landowners may face compulsory purchase of their land to allow the nuclear build to go ahead, and they, and their farm workers, will lose their livelihoods, for many years, if not for a lifetime. There is also doubt about the ultimate quality of the land when eventually it is ‘restored’, even, as EDF claim, ‘improved’. What real guarantee can be given that the land will indeed be suitable for agriculture and livestock rearing?
Who will visit the Suffolk Heritage Coast when Sizewell C starts on site? And who will return once visitors have lost the habit of coming?
The tourism industry on Suffolk Heritage Coast alone is worth more than £200 million a year. What research has EDF Energy done on high-end catering and accommodation, where income will be lost? An impartial survey of individual visitors is needed. We believe this would highlight the need to protect the particular qualities of peace and quiet, absence of light pollution, absence of heavy traffic, abundance of wildlife and wild open spaces that draw people here.
Why is there little evidence of open debate about Sizewell C among our elected representatives?
Whilst we recognise that some local councillors are working to address our concerns, there is a widespread feeling of frustration that local authorities appear not to have the political will to negotiate with and genuinely represent the local community on what would be the biggest-ever building project on the east coast. Councils should be seen to be more proactive in negotiating with EDF on legacy issues – and not just focus on the 4-villages bypass. There is no evidence of substantive discussions about a new access road from the A12 (see Transport), nor, we believe, has any full Council debate yet taken place on the entire Sizewell C project.
What guarantees will EDF and elected representatives offer that the consultation process will not be further compromised, given the experience at Hinkley in Somerset where we understand EDF has greatly reduced the amount of consultation with local groups and councils?
Who will hear our voices?
EDF Energy should clarify precisely how their analysis of public responses to the Stage 1 Consultation was carried out, and confirm that all methods of response – completed questionnaires, letters, emails and so on were properly taken into account. EDF has stated the results of the consultation will not be published. Why is this?
Since the Consultation, this Community was concerned by a report in the East Anglian Daily Times (23 May 2013) in which Andy Smith was quoted as informing Suffolk Coastal District Council that financial constraints may mean EDF couldn’t afford to do as much consultation as planned, or offer as much mitigation.
We have also learned that EDF will not now fund the role of police liaison officer for the Sizewell C project, although the company has had funding in place for four police officer posts in Avon and Somerset Constabulary for some time. That funding is being reviewed later this year.
These shortfalls in support for the community, even in the short-term, are extremely worrying. What opportunities will we have to respond to more detailed proposals from EDF Energy before they are submitted for planning approval?
The B1122 (see Transport section) and A12 at Yoxford are not fit for purpose as prime emergency routes (even though, according to maps prepared by transport planning consultants for Suffolk Resilience, the section of the B1122 nearest to the Sizewell sites is never within an area subject to contamination, irrespective of wind direction!) We understand that the Office for Nuclear Regulation is reviewing the zones and methods of evacuation. In the meantime the emergency evacuation zone remains at 2.4km.
In late 2013, the Financial Times wrote that the State-owned Chinese nuclear group (China General Nuclear Power Group, CGN), in talks with EDF Energy, was seeking greater operational control of any new plant it financed, potentially creating a national security headache for the government. What assurances can be given that China’s adherence to international safety standards for nuclear power operation would be thoroughly investigated prior to any decisions about operational control?
The disposal of nuclear waste is a global problem, and local arrangements should be given a much higher priority. Particular concerns include the fact that interim nuclear waste storage facilities at Sizewell could be at risk from flooding, any long-term deep geological disposal facility for high-level waste appears to be a long way off, and additional nuclear waste could be transported to Sizewell A from Dungeness if plans by NDA are adopted.