Protestors and Suffolk councils criticise EDF's Sizewell C plans for lack of detail
PUBLISHED: 19:47 12 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:51 13 March 2019
Protestors and two Suffolk councils joined forces in calling for more information from EDF on its proposals to build a new multi-million pound nuclear power plant at Sizewell.
Campaign groups turned up in force to show support for Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council’s opposition to EDF’s current proposals, which both believe is lacking on detail and not considerate of local resident’s priorities.
The county council does not have the power to force EDF to provide it with the information it wants to see before it submits a planning application.
However, county councillor Richard Smith, co-chairman of the Sizewell C Joint Local Authorities Group (JLAG), has said that if they do not see the information it needs to weigh up the positives and negatives of the project, it is able to recommend to the planning inspectorate it does not approve of the plan.
Mr Smith 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.”
“I think there was a lot of well informed debate and my cabinet colleagues came in areas of their own responsibilities and it was good to have Geoff Holdcorft in attendance, who has done exemplary work at Suffolk Coastal District Council.
“Not only do I have to represent the need of my electorate, I need to represent the needs of the cabinet and I think it was clear from the meeting today that there’s a lot more work to do, there’s a lot more information we need.”
In a three-hour cabinet meeting, the councillors voiced their dissatisfaction over missing feasibility studies and plans for buildings set to permanently disturb Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Alison Downes, co-chairman of the Theberton and Eastbridge Action group Against Sizewell, said: “We are glad the councils are making a joint response and that they are not yet persuaded that the benefits of Sizewell C and D outweigh the impacts, as in out view the impacts have significantly increased since stage two, especially since EDF has abandoned a marine-led transport strategy.
“We appreciate councillor Smith’s recognition that EDF has underestimated these impacts.”
Geoff Holdcroft, a district councillor for Suffolk Coastal and chairman, 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 has left us in the unfortunate position that we remain unable to fully evaluate how adequate the proposed mitigation proposals are.
“I do accept that progress has been made since round two, with EDF Energy expanding particular choices and proposals,” he added.
“We commend EDF Energy for that but, as this is considered the final stage of consultation, we had asked for more detail than what we are seeing here and would encourage EDF Energy to work with us and to be more open with the community.”
The stage three consultation by EDF on the current plans concludes on March 29.