Councils give pushback on EDF Energy nuclear plans

EDF Energy
EDF Energy

Local authorities have warned they are “still not yet able to fully support” EDF Energy’s plans for a new nuclear power plant in Suffolk.

Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council said they are disappointed with the energy firm’s lack of detailed proposals for the Sizewell C scheme, which is currently being consulted on.

The local authorities said they need to be absolutely clear that the benefits of the project outweigh the disadvantages before they offer their full support.

In a joint response to the third and final stage of public consultation, agreed by the councils’ cabinets, they said they support the principle of a development of a new nuclear power station at Sizewell.

The project would see investment of £14 billion and create 1,500 jobs at its peak, generating £100 million for the local economy during construction, and 900 long-term jobs and generate £40 million a year during operation.

But the councils warned about issues such as a move away from delivering construction materials by sea to a road-led option which would mean a significant number of additional HGVs on Suffolk’s roads.

They also raise concerns about the construction of new pylons and the impact of additional development within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths area of outstanding natural beauty.

The local authorities are urging EDF to work with the councils and share more detail and information to satisfy current concerns before the plans are submitted to the Planning Inspectorate.

Suffolk Coastal District councillor Geoff Holdcroft, chairman of the Sizewell C Joint Local Authorities Group (JLAG), said: “We have studied EDF Energy’s third round of proposals thoroughly and I have to say that we are rather disappointed.

“The consultation documentation is not as comprehensive as we had hoped to see and lacks evidence in several important areas.

“This means we are unable to fully consider the full impact on our communities in some key areas.”

Suffolk County councillor Richard Smith, vice chairman of the Sizewell C JLAG, said: “We were hoping to be in a position at the stage three consultation to give a firm and conclusive position on

EDF Energy’s proposals, based on a suitable level of detail and evidence.

“It is disappointing that we are not there yet.

He said some of the impacts on the environment and towns and villages in the area would be greater than EDF predicted and councillors wanted to work with the company to be sure the true impact is understood.

“Only then can we draw our conclusive view on whether the benefits of this project outweigh the disadvantages.”

EDF is constructing a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point, Somerset, but efforts to get schemes under way at Wylfa, North Wales, and in Cumbria have stalled, in a blow to Government plans for a new generation of reactors.

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