Consultation exercise a switch off

A CONSULTATION exercise over the future of the Sizewell A site after the power station finishes producing electricity at the end of this year has proved a big “switch-off” for the public.

A CONSULTATION exercise over the future of the Sizewell A site after the power station finishes producing electricity at the end of this year has proved a big “switch-off” for the public.

The consultation cost £30,000 with letters going out to 500 organisations and 13,500 leaflets being distributed.

But only 436 people bothered to fill in questionnaires - equivalent to about £68 for each form.

A total of only 59 people attended three public meetings - in Saxmundham, Aldeburgh and Leiston.

While the consultants say the response is better than that experienced elsewhere in the country, it has disappointed some members of the Sizewell Stakeholder Group (SSG) which commissioned the month-long exercise.

The SSG - set up to improve liaison between the nuclear site and the local community - is shortly to advise the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), which now owns the A station site, on its preferred use for the land.

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The power station is due to shut down for good on December 31 after reaching the end of its 40-year lifetime.

Options being considered include further use by industry, storage of radioactive waste and a return to “greenfield” condition.

Only 206 people returned questionnaires which were made available at libraries at other public buildings while only 230 filled in the form on-line.

A so far unknown number of people who work at the nuclear site were among the people who filled in questionnaires.

Most people listed public health and safety, the environment and local amenity as the main issues.

A majority indicated their preferred choice for the future of the site was for nature conservation and public access.

Among the other ideas suggested by members of the public were use for a prison or detention centre, a water theme park or an incinerator.

Long term radioactive waste disposal was the least preferred option.

Richard Smith, SSG chairman, said he was disappointed with the response. “The numbers are not as high as I expected,” he said.

Michael Clark, who represents Dunwich on the SSG, said he was surprised at the small number of participants. “I was expecting more,” he said.

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