Why I cannot support Sizewell C

Suffolk County Council submitted a response to the deeply disappointing Sizewell Stage 4 consultation, as did Woodbridge’s Town Council. These are my concerns,  written specifically as Woodbridge County Councillor – and as LibDem Green and Independent group county councillor representing a division affected by the development

First and foremost I deplore that the consultation does little to answer – or even ameliorate – concerns that were raised by the many respondents to the stage 3 consultation. It is as if the concerns and suggestions of the people of Suffolk did not exist.

Secondly,  I would query why we are still even considering building Sizewell C?  It is intended that Suffolk  will  be supplying about 30% of the UK’s electricity – but only about 7% of UK electricity will come from Sizewell C, the rest will be offshore. Suffolk contains 1.4% of the UK’s population. The impact of the building – let alone the running – of Sizewell C will have a 100% impact on the people of Suffolk coastal. This impact is largely negative.

We are told that the benefits of Sizewell C will bring £100m annually to Suffolk.  But the tourist benefit of the Suffolk Coastal AONB  and coastal heaths, and of the natural environment of countryside around  is £240m annually– on all of which Sizewell C will have an adverse impact via a range of issues such as loss of coastal paths, unsympathetic design, the 10-12 year impact of building works, and all the additional traffic. This does not make economic sense.

Thirdly,  the financial case for  nuclear power no longer adds up. EDF will be overcharging UK consumers for electricity from Sizewell for the next 35 years:  prices of offshore wind-generated power, per KWhr, without any subsidy, are less than half what EDF is being guaranteed.

Add to this  the fact that the waste from Sizewell C is to be stored “temporarily onsite” – just as the waste from Sizewell B is still being stored “temporarily onsite”. We are left wondering who is ever going to move it, and who will be ultimately footing the bill for the move, and to where?

Words like ‘mitigation and compensation’ fall very short of addressing the destruction of an historic way of life for people and environment for the foreseeable future. When these words are being used to describe the destruction of our countryside and way of life for no apparent gain whatsoever, it is time to call out the proposal and query its very existence.

Putting aside these overarching concerns , EDF’s new proposal for an “integrated freight strategy” is clearly the worst  of all worlds, filling Suffolk roads with more HGVs AND the night-time rails with many new trains.

As I have said in a previous submission, the complete fatuity of plans which eschew a marine-led strategy because of “damage to the marine environment” yet which trample over an AONB takes some beating. Such a strategy is not green. It damages a vital resource for Suffolk Coastal – the age-old countryside it relies on for income. It is not convenient – for us, the residents of Suffolk Coastal.

Using Suffolk roads is clearly the cheapest and most convenient option for the developers. Add to this the four or five night-time trains  (which the  integrated freight strategy is proposing) and you have a perfect storm. What is in this strategy for the people living in Suffolk Coastal?

The adverse impact of this integrated freight-led strategy is not only on the area around Sizewell, but on all the feeder roads in Suffolk Coastal, and the communities they serve. The impact of traffic displaced by significant HGV traffic on the A12 onto rural routes will affect all rural communities in the path.

Where in this consultation is any acknowledgement of the impact of climate change on the coast of Suffolk?  Suffolk County Council, East Suffolk Council, Woodbridge Town Council have all declared climate emergencies.  It is clear we should have significant concerns about increased carbon emissions due to the predominance of the road in EDF’s “integrated freight strategy”. Additionally, rising seas are predicted to put Sizewell under water within a relatively short space of time. What plans have been made to guard against this, and, indeed the waste ”temporarily stored” for so long on site?

And why,  instead of discussing pylons or undergrounding, is there no marine strategy for the delivery of energy? The current scheme will have a massive impact on the people of Suffolk Coastal in order to benefit population elsewhere in the UK. If we in Britain can get our energy from France via undersea cables, surely London can get its energy from Suffolk by the same route?

Specifically to Woodbridge, I want to raise concerns about the impact of EDF’s “integrated freight strategy” for which EDF has suggested no mitigation whatsoever.

Woodbridge is bordered to the east by rail, to the west by the A12. The “integrated freight strategy” will offer the worst of all worlds

Whenever a rare Sizewell train passes through Woodbridge, its passage can be heard throughout the town. An increase of 5 trains a night offered by EDF’s “integrated freight strategy” will therefore result in hugely added noise pollution and sleepless nights  for the people of the town, in addition to potential loss of crossings and rights of way.

This is a problem that is shared with other towns along the route, though none I think to the same extent as Woodbridge

At the same time, the increase in the volume of HGV traffic caused by EDF’s “integrated freight strategy” would displace other local traffic along the A1438 . This is the first convenient turnoff from the A12, and runs immediately through Woodbridge town. This would take non-HGV drivers to places along the coast up as far as Leiston. The impact is likely to be considerable, as many drivers will decide to eschew the congested and dangerous A12 for a more scenic, more pleasant journey.

The double whammy caused by a) the increase in HGVs on the A12, passing next to Farlingaye High School, where 2,000 young people from a 400sq mile catchment area will disbenefit from the increase in N02 and particulate matter; and b) the increase in ‘fugitive’ traffic along the B1438 in Woodbridge, which has a hugely significant number of sheltered, retirement and old people’s housing built along it, will affect these residents who will also disbenefit from the increase in N02 and particulate matter. N02 and particulate matter are known to have a particularly poor impact on the young and the old. The impact of air pollution will be added to the obvious issues caused by an increase in traffic on a small town with a particularly large number of elderly residents, and six schools.

As I said before, I dislike the words “mitigation” & “compensation” when addressing the destruction of the countryside and people’s way of life. No “mitigation” or “compensation” could mitigate or compensate for the impact of building Sizewell C on either Suffolk Coastal as a whole or Woodbridge in particular.

I join my county council group in taking a firm stand against this project and asking for it to be halted.

Caroline Page

One thought on “Why I cannot support Sizewell C”

  1. This is an excellent summation of the detrimental impact on Woodbridge and Melton and surrounding areas. The failure to solve the problem of the deeply toxic waste, which will degrade for ever remaining a threat to life, alone makes the proposal to build unacceptable.

    Why has money not been allocated to wave power and provision of solar power and heat pumps etc? All better for the planet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.