Suffolk: Residents of tiny community fear becoming “Industrial city”
09:23 30 January 2014
Sarah Lucy brown
A community group fears a big increase in traffic and a large influx of workers could turn a small country parish into an “industrial city” if the Sizewell C nuclear power project goes ahead.
The Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group was formed last year after proposals were put forward for a workers’ hostel in the parish and the use of the existing B1122 road by construction traffic.
The group’s aims – to reduce the impact on the community if the project does go ahead – have now been given overwhelming support by nearly 70 local people who attended a public meeting.
A report produced by the group says: “The combined effect of a massive increase in traffic, and the huge influx of workers, is out of scale with the area. A small country parish will be turned into an industrial city.”
Concerns highlighted include the impact on the environment, including noise and light pollution, and the risk of flooding and coastal instability endangering the power station.
However, the biggest worries include the possible siting of a 3,000-bed workers’ hostel amidst fears it would “swamp the tiny village of Eastbridge and completely overwhelm the local infrastructure”.
The group believes the B1122 is “unfit for purpose” in terms of Sizewell C traffic and it wants serious consideration given to proposals – first examined at the Sizewell B inquiry 30 years ago – for a new cross-country road from the nuclear site to the A12.
Local parishes are concerned that a year after EDF Energy’s Stage 1 public consultation no estimates for road, rail and sea traffic have been published.
Su Swallow, who co-chaired the meeting, said: “Underlying all our concerns is the fact that, a year after Stage 1 Consultation, too many questions remain unanswered by EDF and as long as that remains the case, it is not possible to formulate informed responses and thereby try to influence the planning of this major project.”
Suffolk County Council is currently undertaking a “desk-top” study of ideas which include a new cross-country road route. The study will subsequently be used in talks with EDF Energy.
An EDF Energy spokesman said the company was working closely with the county council which was aware of the process involved in assessing the transport impact.
“This is a lengthy process which involves consideration of the responses to Stage 1 consultation, careful examination of the capacity of sea and rail transport and development of the project proposals. Residents and local community groups indicated that they would like to see more details at the next stage of formal consultation and that is what we are working on to provide,” it said.
The company says it hopes to launch its Stage 2 public consultation “later this year”.