Government plans to make energy customers shoulder Sizewell C costs comes under fire

Sarah Chambers, EADT 24 July 2019: read online at https://www.eadt.co.uk/business/government-consultation-on-funding-sizewell-c-through-electricity-bill-levy-1-6175685

Government proposals which would leave electricity customers to foot up-front costs for firing up new nuclear power plants like Sizewell C has been blasted by campaigners.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has launched a three-month public consultation on its plans to partly fund new generation nuclear through a Regulated Asset Base (RAB).

RABs involve regulators granting a licence to a company to charge a regulated price to users of the infrastructure.

The new funding model would mean all UK electricity customers would pay to help energy firm EDF to build Sizewell C – a move opposed by residents’ campaign group Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group (TEAGs).

It’s estimated that the measure would add around £6 a year to customer bills, including those on renewable energy contracts.

In 2016, the model was applied successfully for the first time to the building of the £4.2bn Thames Tideway Tunnel sewerage project. The business department is also looking at applying it to other firm low carbon technologies, such as transport and storage infrastructure for carbon dioxide.

TEAGS co-chair Alison Downes said: “Having campaigned for many years to get EDF to change its construction plans for Sizewell C, the idea of paying for the privilege of major disruption and the threat of environmental damage to protected sites such as RSPB Minsmere really sticks in our throats.

“Most of EDF’s EPR (third generation pressurised water reactor) projects have over-run and over-spent, so there is a high risk of even more costs being passed on to householders and taxpayers. Our friends at the consumer movement SumOfUs have launched a campaign to send a message of opposition to BEIS and we urge people to sign.”

Jim Crawford, Sizewell C project development director, said alongside a big expansion of renewables, reliable nuclear power was needed to help the UK to switch from polluting fossil fuels and reach net zero emissions.

“Nuclear’s proven technology reduces the difficulties and cost of trying to decarbonise the electricity supply we all use and depend on,” he said.

“Lower costs for financing nuclear will benefit consumers through their bills and today’s consultation shows a way this can happen at Sizewell C in Suffolk.

“As a near replica of Hinkley Point C – Sizewell C will be cheaper to construct and finance. It will benefit from the experience of Hinkley Point C’s engineers, contractors and suppliers and lessons from other nuclear projects, including operational EPR plants.

“It can also repeat the huge boost for industry, jobs and skills already happening due to Hinkley Point C’s construction, which is on schedule.”

The consultation closes on October 14.

RSPB’s pledge to work with EDF to minimise Sizewell C impact, 18 July 2019

Read online at https://www.eadt.co.uk/news/rspb-response-sizewell-c-stage-4-consultation-1-6167934

A wildlife charity has pledged to work with EDF to minimise the environmental impact of a new nuclear power station of the Suffolk coast – despite its concerns over the impact on a popular beauty spot.

Fears have been raised that the proposed new Sizewell C nuclear reactor could have a devastating impact on RSPB Minsmere.

EDF has said it is already trying to mitigate the potential effects of Sizewell C, for example by creating a new 165-acre heathland and wetland habitat at nearby Aldhurst Farm.

But the RSPB said its fears are still not being addressed as EDF started its fourth round of consultation on the project.

A spokesman for the RSPB said: “The RSPB does not believe that Sizewell is a suitable position for a new nuclear power station.

EDF hope to construct a new reactor at Sizewell power station near Leiston in Suffolk Picture: SU ANDERSON

“As highlighted in the government’s National Policy Statement for Nuclear Power Generation (EN-6), Sizewell C could have detrimental impacts on internationally and nationally important landscapes, habitats and species of the Suffolk coast and at RSPB Minsmere nature reserve.

“We are yet to see evidence in full which addresses all our concerns and will not be satisfied until we have been presented with this.”

However the spokesman said: “We wish to work with EDF to ensure that if the proposed development does go ahead, we will see the best possible outcome for the environment and nature at RSPB Minsmere and beyond.”

In March, it was reported that Minsmere’s status as the UK’s most important bird reserve was at risk from Sizewell C, with the renewal of its European Diploma for Protected Areas only to be renewed on the condition a new reactor will not “detriment” the reserve.

The land owned by the RSPB is home to some of the UK’s most loved birds, including the nightingale, bearded tit and the majestic marsh harrier.

In the new plans, two sites are suggested to compensate for fen meadow that could be lost from the Sizewell Marshes Site of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The first proposal is east of Halesworth, while the other would be near Benhall.

Campaigners oppose latest Sizewell C proposals, EADT 18 July 2019

Read online at https://www.eadt.co.uk/news/teags-b1122-sizewell-c-proposals-edf-1-6167515

Campaigners opposed to Sizewell C have hit out at proposals to tear up a multi-million relief road once the planned EDF plant has openedS

The latest stage four consultation on the £14billion twin reactor sees controversial parts, such as a campus for 2,400 workers at the nearby village of Eastbridge remain – despite widespread concerns.

Project development director Jim Crawford has backed the plans as a way to boost jobs, skills and education while tackling the global climate crisis.

However Alison Downes, of the Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell, said: “We called for more consultations, but see very little substance in EDF’s Stage 4 proposals.

“The company has completely ignored our concerns – and those of our MP and councils – about the location of the 2,400-bed campus.

“EDF staff even said at the community forum that split sites at Hinkley Point were not popular with contractors. Who are they putting first – their suppliers or local people?”You may also want to watch:

Volume 90% Watch more great local videosSizewell C opposition groups oppose plans for a nuclear plantActivists speak out over latest Sizewell C ConsultationSuffolk councils respond to Sizewell C consultationSuffolk Councils Respond To Sizewell C ConsultationProtesters against the Sizewell C power stationFarmers’ shock as full extent of Sizewell C road and rail plans revealed

The energy giant has also reiterated its plans for the proposed Two Villages Bypass of Stratford St Andrews and Farnham, as opposed to the Four Villages route supported by campaigners and Suffolk County Council.

The latest stage has also revealed suggestions that the proposed link road from the A12 near Yoxford could be demolished after Sizewell C’s construction.

Charles Macdowell, of B1122 Action Group – which does not directly oppose the project – said: “The fact that the company is now thinking of taking up this useless road after construction confirms that is has no interest in leaving a positive legacy.

“How much better would it be if they chose the right route that we and the County Council have been arguing for?”

The pressure Sizewell C would put on road infrastructure is fiercely debated by residents, councillors and developers, with the potential for hundreds of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) to use the country roads on a daily basis.

Ms Downes added that she is concerned villages are being left out of EDF consultations for the first time in nearly seven years, although the company has planned six public exhibitions across east Suffolk between July 23 and 27.

Campaigners also noted the planned public exhibitions do not include the villages of Theberton, Eastbridge, Middleton and Darsham.

Stage 4 Reaction

JOINT PRESS STATEMENT For Immediate Release, 18 July 2019

Campaigners say EDF has turned its back on local people in its Stage 4 proposals on Sizewell C 

New consultation is “just tinkering and PR”, with EDF still planning a “useless” new road on a route campaigners oppose, and no changes to campus plans

[SUFFOLK] Campaigners in east Suffolk today expressed dismay that EDF has made no significant changes to their plans for Sizewell C, in its Stage 4 consultation proposals released today (18 July 2019). In particular it has refused to move on the route of the Sizewell Link Road/Theberton Bypass or a campus for 2,400 construction workers next to Eastbridge. The only crumbs of comfort for locals are the ‘option’ for the new road to be removed after more than a decade of construction, and slightly lower ‘busiest day’ truck numbers – although the total HGVs seem to be unchanged. 

EDF has still not yet produced a full Environmental Statement, nor the required assessments of the impacts on the local community on Tourism, Health and Community Safety. Campaigners remain deeply concerned about the impact on RSPB Minsmere, but welcome the suggestion of compensating habitat for marsh harriers.

Alison Downes of TEAGS said: “We called for more consultations, but see very little substance in EDF’s Stage 4 proposals: the company has completely ignored our concerns – and those of our MP and Councils – about the location of the 2,400 bed campus. EDF staff even said at the Community Forum that split sites at Hinkley Point were not popular with contractors. Who are they putting first – their suppliers or local people?”

Speaking about EDF’s proposed Link Road route, Charles Macdowell of B1122 Action Group said: “EDF says it has commissioned a favourable independent study of its route but refuses to share this ‘evidence’ with anyone. The fact that the company is now thinking of taking up this useless road after construction confirms that is has no interest in leaving a positive legacy. How much better would it be if they chose the right route that we and the County Council have been arguing for?”

Three transport strategies are now proposed – all in essence road-led – despite EDF admitting that the rail-led option is very unlikely, making its inclusion a nonsense, say campaigners.

They also expressed fury at the timing of the consultations, falling over the summer holiday, and EDF’s limited public exhibitions, which do not even include Theberton & Eastbridge, Middleton or other affected communities such as Darsham.

“For the first time in nearly seven years of consultations, EDF is not even bothering to bring its exhibitions to our communities and explain why it is refusing to change its highly damaging plans,” added Alison Downes. “Instead it is subjecting us to a largely empty consultation over the summer, all because EDF is suddenly in a hurry in order to save money.” 

TEAGS, the B1122 Action Group and Minsmere Levels Stakeholder Group will host alternative exhibitions during EDF’s Stage 4 consultations, including in communities that EDF won’t be visiting. Members of the public are warmly invited to visit the Sizewell Concerns exhibition and attend a Public Meeting at 10am on Saturday 14 September in Theberton Church, which will feature a guest speaker from Hinkley Point, before responding to EDF. 

Sizewell Concerns can be viewed at: (*denotes a shadow exhibition to EDF)

Friday 18 – Sunday 21 July, Latitude Festival (in the ‘Village’)

Tuesday 23 July* 2 – 8pm, Quaker Meeting Rooms, Leiston 

Wednesday 24 July* 1 – 6pm, Yoxford Cricket Pavilion

Thursday 25 July, 5 – 8pm, Theberton Village Hall

Friday 26 July* 2 – 8pm, Hutchinson Room, Woodbridge Community Hall (with other Groups)

Saturday 3 August, 2 – 4pm, Darsham Village Fete

Saturday 24 August, 2 – 5pm, Middleton Village Fete

Notes:

1. EDF representative Richard Bull told the Community Forum that he had commissioned an independent study to review the routes for a Sizewell Link Road, and was satisfied that the “correct” route had been chosen; however he stated that this “evidence” would not be presented until Development Consent Order application. Mr Bull also acknowledged concern about the campus but said that “doesn’t mean we have to agree” and repeated the insulting justification that the split site campuses at Hinkley Point “did not prove popular with contractors” – thereby confirming that the wishes of paid contractors will override the concerns of local people. In email correspondence with TEAGS, SZC Project Development Director Jim Crawford rendered TEAGS almost speechless by writing “We have not had any feedback from communities suggesting they would like to host a campus in any location within their parish boundaries.” It should be noted that Eastbridge and Leiston were not asked whether “they would like to host a campus”, it is simply being imposed on them by EDF.

Theberton & Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell was formed in 2013 to represent the concerns of its residents about EDF’s accommodation and transport plans. It has the full support of the Parish Council. www.teags.org. The B1122 Action Group was formed in 2013 to press EDF for a dedicated road from the A12 to the Sizewell C construction site. http://sizewellrelief.weebly.com. The Minsmere Levels Stakeholder Group monitors the management of the water catchment area of the Minsmere River, Leiston Beck and Leiston Drain, its subsequent discharge through the Minsmere Sluice to the sea, as well as the state of coastal erosion across the Minsmere Haven area. http://minsmerelevelsstakeholdersgroup.onesuffolk.net 

Contacts: Alison Downes (TEAGS), 07711 843884, info@teags.org

Paul Collins (TEAGS, MLSG), 07503 283304, paul.f.collins@gmail.com 

Charles Macdowell (B1122 Action Group), 07788 755300, c.n.macdowell@gmail.com 


A dangerously reckless project’: Town council slams Sizewell C project

An east Suffolk town council has formally opposed the construction of a new power plant in the region.S

Eamonn O'Nolan said the project was dangerously reckless Picture: EAMONN O'NOLAN

Eamonn O’Nolan said the project was dangerously reckless Picture: EAMONN O’NOLAN

10 July 2019: Woodbridge Town Council made the decision at a full council meeting on Tuesday night and came after EDF announced a fourth consultation on the project last week.

Among councillor’s key concerns about the project were the lack of mitigation options for the town and the additional traffic which would be produced by vehicles accessing the site.

Some also questioned the likelihood of Fukushima-style meltdown in the region as a result of the new site.

After a debate the council carried the motion with eight councillors in favour, three against and one abstention.

Woodbridge mayor, Eamonn O’Nolan, said: “For all the good intentions that may lie behind it, Sizewell C is a dangerously reckless project that must be stopped.

“The fine engineering minds employed on it should be giving their attention to the question of how to make safe the reactor that is already there, not building a new and bigger one alongside it.

“In terms of environmental impact, nothing discussed so far in the consultation process comes close to the reality of a Fukushima scenario.

“Yet that is what we could be facing – the prospect of our region becoming globally known in the same terms as Fukushima or Chernobyl: Effectively uninhabitable.

Suffolk Councils Respond To Sizewell C ConsultationSuffolk Councils Respond To Sizewell C Consultation

“The technology may have improved slightly, but the fundamental fact remains that uncontrolled water and nuclear reactors do not mix safely.

“EDF’s planners speak of Sizewell as standing on “a stable part of the Suffolk coast”. This is simply not true.

“The people of Suffolk know how ‘stable’ this coastline really is.”

Mr O’Nolan said that it was important that renewable energies were considered to provide the power needed in the area.

A spokesman for EDF Energy said: “Sizewell C will provide a massive boost in jobs, training and skills in Suffolk for years to come.

“As we launch stage 4 consultation we urge everyone to engage with us to ensure their views are heard so that we can best manage the impacts during construction and maximise the wide benefits the project will deliver for Suffolk.

“There has never been a radiation release in the history of the EDF Energy sites but the company continues to prepare and rehearse for this extremely unlikely event with a regular programme of exercises to make sure that people at the station and the emergency services are familiar with emergency plans.

“In the UK we also have arrangements in place for the small number of residents living within the detailed emergency planning zone (DEPZ) of each power station. For Sizewell B this is 1km.

“The off-site emergency plan is owned by Suffolk County Council who, working the respective agencies including EDF Energy, identify a detailed planning zone which is immediately around the site and allow for pre-prepared counter measures to be in place such as stable iodine tablets and communications such as an automated telephone system.

“After the events at Fukushima, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) carried out an independent review of UK nuclear power plants.

“This concluded that the “UK nuclear facilities have no fundamental weaknesses”.

“These findings were supported by EDF Energy’s Japanese Earthquake Response (JER) Programme on completing an internal review and challenge across the entire fleet of nuclear power plants which showed ‘there is no challenge to nuclear safety for within design basis events’.

“Lessons learned from the event were incorporated into the design of the EPR, the technology that will be used at HPC and SZC, and we will demonstrate our ability to respond to events as part of the site Licencing arrangements.”

Fourth round of consultation to be held on Sizewell C

1 July 2019. Read online: https://www.eadt.co.uk/news/new-consultation-to-be-held-for-sizewell-c-1-6136637

EDF has confirmed that it will be holding a fourth round of consultation into plans to build a new nuclear power station in Suffolk.

The new consultation will run from July 18 until September 27 and will focus on a few specific areas including transport and ecology.

Calls had been made by campaigners in March for a further round of consultation to be had in order for information to be provided about transport and accommodation issues as well as concerns regarding the environment. 
EDF said that this latest consultation was a response to requests for further options and more information on a number of topics.

Jim Crawford, Sizewell C project development director said: “We have listened to the feedback at Stage 3.

“A number of people told us they would like to see a further stage of consultation to better understand proposals, such as transport and transport mitigation measures.

“We are not discounting any of the proposals put forward at Stage 3 at this stage, so if anyone did not get the chance to feedback to our Stage 3 proposals this is another opportunity.”

What are the main issues surrounding Sizewell C?

Transport

There are a number of concerns about how materials and people will be transported in and out of Sizewell C. EDF had previously considered a range of strategies including marine-led, rail-led and road-led plans. In the third round of consultations EDF made clear that it was now only looking at rail-led or road-led strategies.

A bypass around the villages of Marlesford, Little Glemham, Stratford St Andrew and Farnham, known locally as the Four Villages Bypass, was in discussion for a long time but was turned by the government at the start of last month due to concerns about financing.

However, plans for a smaller bypass through two of the villages, Farnham and Stratford St Andrew were unveiled in plans by EDF during the second round of consultations.

As well as the bypass there are many concerns locally about the B1122 from the A12 at Yoxford to Leiston.

Some of those living along the B1122 want a dedicated new route constructed to deal with the hundreds of lorries which will pass through the site on a daily basis.

However, the B1122 bypass/link road would only be built if EDF pick if road rather than rail is chosen as the priority for delivering materials to the site.

Whereas another bypass, this time relieving the village of Theberton, has already been confirmed.

Environment

Environmental concerns about the nuclear power station focus on the RSPB Minsmere site and the Suffolk Coastal and Heaths AONB. Wildlife experts raised concerns at the start of the year that the station could have a “major adverse environmental impact” on the habitats at Minsmere including the loss of habitat for certain species as well as the disruption of wildlife during the construction process.

In March, Suffolk councils asked for further information to resolve fears about the site’s environmental impact.

Accommodation

Concerns were raised in early 2017 about the proposed accommodation for workers who would construct Sizewell C. Eastbridge, near Leiston, was selected as the preferred site by Suffolk County Council for the 2,400 workers.

Campaigners are worried about the impact of such a site on the environment as well as people living nearby. The council has since looked into up to eight other sites for the accommodation campus with EDF saying that it is willing to keep options open.

How have campaigners responsed to the latest news?

Alison Downes representing the Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell, the B1122 Action Group and the Minsmere Levels Stakeholder Group said: “We welcome EDF’s agreement that a fourth stage of consultation is required, but are dismayed that the majority of its length will be during the summer holidays, when people will be away and hoping to relax: some Parish Councils don’t even meet in August.

“We will be deeply disappointed if rail transport has proven impractical or remains unclear, and if alternative transport routes are not considered.

“Given the plethora of energy projects planned for the area, we call on EDF and other developers to work with the County Council on a more strategic approach to transport infrastructure.”

A spokesman for Together Against Sizewell C (TASC) said: “TASC is not surprised that there is to be a Stage 4 consultation as we and many others were gravely concerned about the lack of detail at Stage 3.

“However, it is TASC’s view that the disruption that Sizewell C will cause on such a massive scale in the AONB and in the surrounding area of East Suffolk; that even with some major alterations it may still not be an acceptable development.

“Particularly with a view to habitat destruction, displacement of species, damage to the ecology of the area, and possible new roads, concern about lack of water supply and climate emergency.

“However, we will study EDF’s further proposals and give them every consideration.”

Education chiefs: ‘Sizewell C will benefit our young people’

28 June 2019. Read online at https://www.eadt.co.uk/news/education-and-business-leaders-support-edf-sizewell-c-1-6130929

Education and business leaders from across the region have hailed the Sizewell C project as a “once in a generation” opportunity to boost skills among local people.

The group, including headteachers, CEOs and a university’ vice-chancellor, have voiced their support for the new nuclear power station, arguing it will “boost employment, education and skills” and play an “essential role” in tackling climate change.

In an open letter published today, the leaders said: “We support Sizewell C because we support the East of England.”

Suffolk New College principal, Viv Gillespie, said the college was “happy to offer support and backing on this issue”.

“As a college, we naturally work with the business community to help develop partnerships that will help benefit both Suffolk New College students and local organisations,” she said.

“We offer a range of courses at the college and are developing further STEM programmes that can support the creation of a new workforce of tomorrow for a range of organisations (including Sizewell C).”

Jim Crawford, Sizewell C project development director, said: “We welcome this letter of support from education, business and charity sector leaders in the region. The construction and operation of Sizewell C will bring thousands of new jobs to the local area and provide a boost in skills, training and education.

“We are working closely with a network of local schools, colleges and charities to raise aspirations, develop training opportunities and apprenticeships for young people, who will then be equipped with skills they can use throughout their careers, either as part of the project or more widely in the local community.”

‘Visitors will be driven away’

Sizewell C will sit next to the existing stations of Sizewell B and A on the Suffolk coastline – but there are concerns about the impact it will have the environment and the damage the building of the new site could cause to the Suffolk countryside.

Alison Downes, co-chair of Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell (TEAGS), said: “We are dismayed that this support for Sizewell C and the East of England neglects to consider the damage to the riches of our environment, and entirely ignores losses to tourism income and jobs brought about by the impacts of a massive 10+ year construction project on our beautiful landscape.

“Noise, pollution, damage to the AONB and extreme traffic congestion will certainly drive visitors away for an extended period.

“Given that EDF is planning to build a campus at Eastbridge for 2,400 construction workers, plus a caravan site for a further 600, that’s a huge number of people who are not from the local area working on the project. And indeed, according to the Office of National Statistics, our district enjoys some of the lowest levels of unemployment in the country.

“Nuclear power is not the only solution to our climate crisis; the carbon footprint of such a huge construction project as Sizewell C will be enormous.

“Of course we want our children to have a bright future, but surely not at any price.”

EDF has held a series of consultations over the proposals as they prepare to make a formal planning application.

You may also want to watch:

Suffolk Councils Respond To Sizewell C ConsultationSuffolk Councils Respond To Sizewell C Consultation

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‘Develop home-grown talent’

The letter, signed by 10 leaders from the education and business sectors, said: “Sizewell C offers a once in a generation opportunity to boost employment, education and skills in the region and will play an essential role in tackling the climate change crisis. We must take this opportunity for the benefit of our children and theirs too.

“We can see the progress being made at Hinkley Point C in Somerset and how the impact of construction is being balanced by the huge opportunities for local people.

“Just two years into the project there are 4,000 workers on the site each day – half from the local area and 400 apprentices already learning new skills. Contracts with businesses in the region have already reached £1.5billion. Sizewell C will offer similar benefits for Suffolk. “Young people in this region deserve the same opportunities through Sizewell C which will bring 1,000 apprenticeships and thousands of jobs to the area.

“Our schools, colleges and youth organisations are working with the existing power station Sizewell B and the Sizewell C project. We want to develop home-grown talent and help them stay and develop their skills in the region so they can live, work and bring up their families in an area with a bright future.

“We support Sizewell C because we support the East of England.”

Signed:

Professor David J Richardson, Vice-Chancellor & President, University of East Anglia

Dr Nikos Savvas, Principal, West Suffolk College

Dan Mayhew, Principal, Alde Valley Academy

Stuart Rimmer, Principal, East Coast College

Viv Gillespie, Principal, Suffolk New College

Terry Baxter, CEO, Inspire Suffolk

Emma Ratzer, CEO, Access Community Trust

John Dugmore, CEO, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce

Doug Field, Chair, New Anglia LEP

Simon Gray, CEO, East of England Energy Group