East Suffolk Council ‘neutral’ over Sizewell C, formal response to government says
PUBLISHED: 06:09 22 September 2020 | UPDATED: 08:43 22 September 2020
East Suffolk Council will maintain a “neutral” stance on the proposed Sizewell C development, after its Cabinet on Monday night approved its response to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate this week.
But some councillors say the representation does not go far enough in condemning the current plans, with Suffolk County Council this week set to object to the same proposals.
East Suffolk’s cabinet unanimously agreed to its representation over EDF Energy’s proposals for the new nuclear power station, in which it states the authority “takes a neutral approach to the Sizewell C proposal, neither fully supportive nor against the proposals”.
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The response, which must be submitted by September 30, says that there are “too many outstanding issues at this stage to enable us to commit further”.
The council’s lengthy response, upwards of 90 pages, outlines the benefits and the drawbacks of the scheme. Conservative council leader Steve Gallant said that it aims to “raise the flag of concern” while maintaining pledges to further work with the Planning Inspectorate, EDF and other organisations involved in seeking the best mitigation possible for the drawbacks if it does go ahead.
He added: “We are charged with looking after the interests of East Suffolk, of protecting our communities, our business, our natural environment, and promoting and enhancing the economic sustainability of the district.”
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He added: “I am confident our relationship with EDF puts us in an excellent position to negotiate the best possible deal we can for the residents of East Suffolk.”
Suffolk County Council’s cabinet on Tuesday will formally agree its response, in which it is expected to agree to the principle of a new facility but state that it cannot support the plans in their current guise because there were too many concerns which had not been fully addressed.
It’s a stance some East Suffolk councillors have called on its own administration to make.
Councillor Tony Fryatt said residents were “horrified” that its response did not condemn the proposals, while councillor Jocelyn Bond said that many residents feel “very unprotected” by the authority.
Councillor Louise Gooch said: “For members of the public the framing of this indicates that there is general support” when many were not.
However, deputy leader of the council Craig Rivett, said the response at this stage was to outline the concerns and the positives, before working through the details to achieve the best mitigation once the examination begins.
He said it was a “fair reflection” of the council’s debate earlier this month, and added: “I feel what we have here is a thorough representation that puts us in a strong position to get the best deal for East Suffolk residents.
Suffolk County Council’s cabinet will meet at 2.30pm on Tuesday, September 22 to finalise its response.
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