Conditional support was given last night (Tuesday 6 February) to proposals to build a new Sizewell C power station but Suffolk Coastal’s Cabinet is also insisting that its development must bring real benefits to all its district’s communities.
EDF Energy has submitted initial proposals for the construction of a new power station, the decision on which will be made by the Government, but is asking for views as part of the formal consultation process.
Because of the scale and importance of Sizewell C, Suffolk Coastal has been working with Suffolk County Council to agree a joint response to the plans that reflect the views and needs of local communities.
“This project would mean a major investment in our district and result in thousands of new jobs, and this Council supports Sizewell C in principle. However, our joint approach with the County is to maximise its possible benefits while minimising any potential negative impacts,” said Cllr Andy Smith, Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Planning.
“We welcome EDF’s recognition that this would be one of the biggest and most technologically challenging construction projects that this country has ever seen, but we will demand that there are also concrete proposals from them to meet our district’s particular needs.
“This is a golden opportunity for EDF to put in place measures that will help preserve our district’s unique environment and power the drive for more local jobs and better infrastructure and transport services. We will insist that EDF fully takes on its role as a key partner in making our district and Suffolk an even better place to live, work or play. All in all, EDF has a lot to do in order to get our unconditional backing or the support of all the communities that it will be becoming a key part of,” added Cllr Smith.
The two councils have agreed a set of principles on Sizewell C which includes the requirement that any such development should be an environmental exemplar of how to construct and operate a major infrastructure development within such an internationally important landscape.
“We have to ensure that the unique landscape and ecology around Sizewell and beyond are not threatened by either the building or operation of a new power station,” said Cllr Andrew Nunn, Cabinet Member for the Green Environment.
“Any development must be of the highest possible quality of design, commensurate with that of the ‘B’ station, and the use of land has to keep to an absolute minimum as this is at the very heart of our district’s unique environment. EDF must recognise its duty to protect as much of it as possible,” added Cllr Nunn.
The councils are also committed to working closely with EDF and other partners to ensure that the local economic benefits are maximised, while ensuring that a significant infrastructure legacy including an A12 bypass is delivered during the construction and operation of the power station, and that agreement is reached with the Government and EDF (?) on a long-term community benefits package.
At the peak of the up to nine years construction period, the site workforce would be about 5,600 people while during the operational phase of probably 60 years there would be about 900 permanent jobs available.
“The potential economic benefits are obvious and we would want to make sure our communities and particularly their younger generations are in pole position to make the most of them, by helping them have the necessary skills. But there are many other issues that have to be addressed as well,” said Cllr Geoff Holdcroft, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Leisure.
“We know from Sizewell A and B the considerable pressures that the construction will put on our local communities but EDF has not yet addressed fully and publicly all the social and economic consequences that have to be resolved and planned for,” added Cllr Holdcroft.
The second stage of EDF’s consultation will provide greater detail on all aspects of the development and it is anticipated that this will take place during 2014. For more information about the two Councils’ work on Sizewell C, visit www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk/yourdistrict/planning/policy/sizewell/
Councillor Guy McGregor, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for roads, planning and transportation, said: “Through this response we are trying to reflect the views of Suffolk, not just the county council. We’ve worked with Suffolk Coastal District Council to consult local businesses, town and parish councils and, of course residents, to form our views.
“EDF is at risk of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory if it doesn’t listen to calls for investment in infrastructure and community facilities. They must take due note of the views being expressed.
“We support the development of Sizewell C and we want to do right by the country in terms of its long term energy needs. But we also want to make sure Sizewell does right by Suffolk and doesn’t leave the county short-changed from this significant development.”