Everything you need to know about the Sizewell C project
PUBLISHED: 07:48 22 November 2018
It was announced today that a further consultation will be held into the Sizewell C project in the new year. Ahead of this next step we lay out all the things you need to know about the project and its potential impact on the local area.
What is happening at Sizewell?
A new project is being considered to create a low-carbon twin reactor nuclear power station at Sizewell. The project known as Sizewell C will sit next to the existing stations of Sizewell B and A. The A station is currently being decommissioned after reaching the end of its useful life while B continues to create nuclear energy.
Who is behind the project?
Sizewell C is being built by French energy company EDF.
Why do they need to build Sizewell C?
EDF say that nuclear energy now accounts for around 20% of the UK’s electricity. An increasing need for electricity combined with what EDF describes as “ageing infrastructure” means that a way to make up this shortfall needs to be found. For EDF a new site at Sizewell will help with this problem.
What are the main issues being considered?
There are a large number of concerns about transport in the local area with villagers complaining about traffic and pollution problems they fear could worsen during the site’s construction.
Four Villages Bypass
A bypass for the A12 known locally as the Four Villages Bypass has been in discussion for a long time. The Department for Transport were expected to make a decision on the road, which would pass around Marlesford, Little Glemham, Stratford St Andrew and Farnham, this summer but it was deferred until this autumn.
B1122 between Yoxford and Sizewell
As well as the bypass there are many concerns locally about the B1122 from the A12 at Yoxford to Leiston. Some of those living along the B1122 want a dedicated new route constructed to deal with the hundreds of lorries which will pass through the site on a daily basis. Theberton and Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell (TEAGS) says the project will have a “devastating impact” on the area.
EDF though has discounted a new road from the A12 to the coast, and is offering either a roundabout or traffic light junction at the A12 at Yoxford.
In addition, there would be safety improvements, including a 40mph speed limit, work to reduce the road level near Middleton Moor to improve visibility and help traffic using Mill Street, and improvements to the road alignment.
At present the total cost for Sizewell C is expected to be around £14billion. During construction EDF say that the site will make £200million a year for the economy. 25,000 jobs will be created over a decade with up to 5,600 workers on site at peak times. Many of the buildings being put up at Sizewell C will replicate buildings at Hinkley Point C in Somerset. EDF say that this will help to bring down building costs.
Concerns were raised in early 2017 about the proposed accommodation for workers who would construct Sizewell C. Eastbridge, near Leiston, was selected as the preferred site by Suffolk County Council for the 2,400 workers. Campaigners are worried about the impact of such a site on the environment as well as people living nearby. The council has since looked into up to eight other sites for the accommodation campus with EDF saying that it is willing to keep options open.
Leiston itself has also made a number of proposals to EDF in terms of improvements to local amenities. Last year community leaders created an 18-point wish list that they wanted put in place. A new community centre, improved sports facilities and a community hub were among the projects that the town hoped to have fulfilled.
There are a number of ideas being proposed by Suffolk Coastal and EDF. An excellence in science and technology programme would focus on building science, technology and mathematics capacity in local schools as well as improving teaching and learning of these subjects. Suffolk Coastal also hope that apprenticeship and training at local further education sites will also feature. Additionally the latest round of consultation will also see exhibitions held in schools and colleges to talk about the positive impact the project will have on skills in the region.
EDF hope that the site will create what it describes as “huge economic opportunities” in the East of England. They hope to offer employment and contracts to local businesses. So far 1400 of such businesses have signed up to be considered by the project with 80% of the contracts offered by EDF set to go to nonspecialist businesses.
What stage are the consultations at?
So far the project has gone through two formal stages of consultation with communities in east Suffolk providing their feedback on the project. A third stage of the public consultation is due to launch in the new year. It will begin on January 4 and will run for 12 weeks, ending on March 29.
When will the final plans go in?
EDF intend to put in a planning application for Sizewell C in 2020, as part of a timetable for construction to begin in 2021.
Who will make the decision on the plans?
After the final stage of consultations EDF will submit a Development Consent Order (DCO) to the Planning Inspectorate. The Planning Inspectorate may take up to a year to look at the plans and will then make a recommendation to the Secretary of State.
The Secretary of State will then have three months to look at the plans and make a decision.