Calls for A12 upgrade for power station

A THIRD nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast must only get the go-ahead if the A12 is upgraded and affordable housing is provided, an MP warned last night.

A THIRD nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast must only get the go-ahead if the A12 is upgraded and affordable housing is provided, an MP warned last night.

EDF Energy has now formally nominated its land next to the existing Sizewell B for a new nuclear plant, where it wants to build two reactors - subject to planning consent and investment.

But Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer said that a number of key issues which must tackled if Sizewell C and D are to get his blessing.

This includes an A12 bypass for the villages of Stratford St Andrew, Farnham, Marlesford and Little Glemham.

He also said any temporary accommodation created for workers should be converted into permanent affordable housing for local residents, and the materials used for the new power station should be brought in by sea to minimise the impact on the environment.

Last week EDF Energy - which now incorporates British Energy - put forward its land at Sizewell for the Government's Strategic Site Assessment process, which identifies suitable locations for new nuclear build.

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Mr Gummer, Conservative MP for Suffolk Coastal, said the plans had his full backing - so long as the four points were addressed.

He said: 'First of all I would want to see an upgrade of the A12 - otherwise the impact on the people living in the area will be far too great.

'We need to have a bypass - the route is fixed and there's been a public inquiry - it would be very easy to put it in operation. It's not even terribly expensive - but would relieve the pressure on the four villages.

'Secondly, they are going to have to bring in a lot of workers. On the last occasion they were housed in temporary accommodation and it was pulled down. But I would like to see a legacy so that what we then have is some additional low cost housing that's desperately needed for the area.'

Mr Gummer said he would also like to see as many of the construction materials as possible brought in by sea.

'This would be considerably more favourable than by road and means there would be far less impact in terms of noise and the environment,' he said.

'A lot of my constituents are retired and the last thing they want is a large number of lorries driving past their homes.

'Lastly there also has to be a much better way of keeping in touch with the parish councils so that as the construction continues they feel that they are entirely informed.

'I think the community is prepared to have another nuclear power station but if it's going to be a large development on an important stretch of our coast people want to feel they have a part to play.'

A spokesman for EDF Energy said it was too early to comment on how specific proposals might be addressed but assured that consultations and feasibility studies were being carried out to understand the needs of the community.

'We welcome the fact that there is significant support for new build in the local community as well as recognition of the economic and employment benefits our plans could bring to the area,' he said. 'We are fully committed to consulting with the community throughout the development of our plans.'

The nuclear industry has until March 31 to nominate sites for the first wave of new nuclear power stations in the UK - after which a list will be published and members of the public will have a chance to express their views.

But Charles Barnett, chairman of the Shutdown Sizewell Campaign, said there was no need for new nuclear reactors.

'What we should be doing is promoting energy efficiency and conservation and focusing on renewables such as wind, solar and tidal,' he said. 'All these other issues are peripheral - do we really want to saddle our decedents with the burden of dealing with nuclear waste?'