The Sizewell C Project

The views expressed in this page do not represent those of the Planning Inspectorate. This page consists of content submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the public and other interested parties, giving their views of this proposal.

The Sizewell C Project

Received 23 September 2020
From Middleton cum Fordley Parish Council

Representation

The negative impacts of the proposed Sizewell C development are so severe that adequate redress is not possible. Several measures could be taken to make the scheme less unacceptable, though EDF seem reluctant to do so. Throughout every stage of the Public Consultation process, EDF have signally failed to adequately address, or provide sufficient detail of, the majority of major issues arising from their proposals. This has been highlighted by their September release of a pamphlet entitled “Sizewell C – What it means for you”. Its ‘Key Facts’, listed on page 3, serve to illustrate the yawning gap between their aspirations and reality: • “Sizewell C will be located right next to a stable and secure section of the Suffolk coast”. EDF do not have any facts to substantiate this claim. The East Suffolk coast is eroding - notoriously prone to damaging storms and surges. • “The design of the station is a replica of one EDF are building at Hinkley Point [and one in France and another in Finland]….and will take 9-12 years to build”. In fact, all are behind schedule and over budget – the foreign ones horrendously so. EDF’s specific claim that Hinkley C “is on schedule” is simply risible. • “They [UK EPRs] are proven to work”. The only ‘working example’ of the basic PR design is in China. Its safety regime and compliance to ONR scrutiny are not known, nor whether it is/was plagued by the complex building delays, structural and valve problems being experienced in France and Finland. • “25,000 job opportunities will be created”. It would be more factually correct to say 25,000 activities, where many of these are performed by a single individual and could be very short-term. • “At least a third of the workforce will be local”. It is expected that the vast majority of these local jobs will be filled by people ‘poached’ from existing positions in tourism, social care and building trades, rather than providing ‘new’ openings, since current unemployment is low. And with EDF construction workers expected to take up much of the potential accommodation in the area, ‘replacement’ staff for those lost to EDF will be difficult to recruit without the potential of somewhere to live. • “At least 40% of the construction material will be delivered by sea or rail”. This is a strange claim, given that at each stage of public consultation, the number of HGV movements has increased to now almost double the original estimates despite the supposed use of sea and rail. It is strongly believed that much more material could be brought to site by both these means, the dismissing factor in EDF’s case undoubtedly being cost. • “A net increase in land for wildlife will be created”. No mention is made as to how flora and fauna will be re-directed to these new sites, after they have been scared off by the noise, dust and light pollution or totally destroyed by the construction site. • “The carbon emissions during construction will be offset within 6-8 months.” This is totally misleading. In fact, EDF have previously conceded the true figure could be 6 years, meaning it will be well into the 2030s before electricity from Sizewell C can truthfully be considered ‘Low Carbon’. The various pledges that EDF have outlined on page 4 concerning noise, light and dust are inadequately explained and couched by terms such as ‘reduce where possible’, ‘as little as possible’, and ‘minimise’ – hardly likely to provide any comfort to the thousands of local people who will be affected, and for which no amount of mitigation or compensation will suffice. The damage to the fragile Sizewell/Minsmere ecosystem will be considerable. Reinstating some of the land and providing alternative sites for wildlife will not do. The cumulative effects of pollution, massive works and intense human activity will cause irreparable damage. The provision of a Community Fund by EDF (without sufficient explanation of how it would be applied or how much it would be) is most unlikely to address the issues that will be raised. EDF’s pledge to support the growth of the local economy is effectively wiped out by the loss of tourism – vital to the region – even EDF admit this could cause a reduction of approaching one third. Their proposed Tourism Fund (as yet unquantified) is unlikely to be sufficient in terms of quantity, or flexibility in its application, to compensate for the destruction of years of careful investment in, and development of, East Suffolk’s tourist economy. It is earnestly hoped that EDF’s pledge to ‘require all workers to sign a code of conduct and enforce it’ will be rigorously enacted. This was far from the case during the construction of both Sizewell A and B, despite assurances being given at that time. Comparisons with Bridgwater, the nearest town to Hinkley C, are meaningless as it has eight times the population of Leiston, which will simply be overwhelmed by the SZC workforce. There are several extremely important issues not addressed either within the brochure or during any of the stages of prior consultation. • There is great concern about EDF’s ability to secure a sufficient supply of potable water, both during construction and operation. Discussions with the local water provider have been inconclusive, and proposals by EDF to build a reservoir are seen as too little, too late if construction is to start when envisaged. Given the low rainfall in the locality (projected to become even less in the future) there is little likelihood of a reservoir being able to contribute meaningfully to the huge expected demands. • Traffic, from the Seven Hills junction with the A14, all the way to the site, regardless of projected by-passes and a new link road (both of which are seen as hopelessly inadequate, badly sited but nonetheless needed to be in place before work commences), will increase to such a level that the daily lives and livelihood of people along the route will be severely disrupted by delays and excessive pollution – noise, light and airborne matter. Also the ability of the Emergency Services to speedily answer calls will be prejudiced to a life-threatening degree. In the event of road repairs being required, or a traffic accident, the intended roads leading to Sizewell have no viable alternative routes, which would not only hold up work at the site but seriously threaten the life of the local population. • As presently and very sketchily portrayed, EDF’s plans for protecting the site from ingress by the sea are woefully inadequate. Years of experienced observation of the coast of East Anglia amply illustrate that the ‘double whammy’ of (a) building another nuclear plant, and (b) storing its waste for centuries to come, on a stretch of coastline subject to erosion, the extent of which cannot be foreseen or defended, is of itself indefensible. It is difficult, if not downright impossible, to identify what benefit the local area and population will gain from the construction or operation of Sizewell C. The two previous nuclear plants have left Leiston as one of the poorest towns in East Anglia – there is no certainty that SZC will produce anything other than a short and unsustainable boost to the local economy, largely if not wholly offset by losses in tourism income. • There will not be a net gain in employment for local people. • There will be a tangible loss of amenities and the quality of life, regardless of EDF’s efforts to ‘minimise’. • There will be a serious threat to tourism, through traffic delays, loss of availability of accommodation and degradation of attractions such as Minsmere and the Suffolk Coast and Heaths. With the profusion of windfarm projects and trans-continental power cable feeds destined for the area immediately surrounding the Sizewell site, there is the very real possibility that the Nation’s energy requirements can be met much sooner and far cheaper than the inordinately costly and slow-to-build nuclear plant proposed. However, having said that, all these alternative power projects represent a threat not only to each other, but to Sizewell C, in terms of conflicting traffic flows – they will all need to use the same inadequate road systems. The A12, not even a trunk road north of Ipswich, offers neither the capacity nor the inherent strength to support the envisaged hyper levels of usage. Yet nowhere can it be seen that any provision is being made by the companies involved or government to invest in the significant improvements (new roads, doubling the East Suffolk Line rail track etc., which should be carried out before the projects commence) that would be necessary to allow such major concurrent works to take place, let alone the life of local people to carry on with any semblance of normality. We endorse the Relevant Representation submitted by “Stop Sizewell C”, Theberton and Eastbridge Parish Council and the B1122 Action Group. We wish to state categorically that the consideration of the Sizewell C Application by a digital examination process is totally unacceptable.