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.”