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Sizewell C: Nuclear power plant bosses 'are listening to locals'

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image copyrightEDF
image captionSizewell C (lighter grey on the right) would be built next to Sizewell B, which is still generating, and Sizewell A, which is being decommissioned

Bosses behind a new nuclear power station have told local communities they are "listening" after making "important" changes to the plans.

The government is close to approving construction of Sizewell C in Suffolk.

EDF Energy has pledged to increase rail and sea deliveries during construction and reduce the plant's impact on local beauty spots.

Alison Downes from the Stop Sizewell C campaign said the project was "ridiculously expensive".

A 30-day public consultation starts on Wednesday.

It comes as the prime minister announced plans for a "green industrial revolution", banning sales of new diesel and petrol cars from 2030 and creating jobs in industries such as nuclear.

image captionThe white dome of Sizewell B is a landmark on the Suffolk coast, while Sizewell A is the darker building to the south of it

EDF Energy has previously been accused of "not listening to Suffolk and its communities".

Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, Sizewell C managing director, said he hoped the changes would help local people see that the "benefits" of the project would "far outweigh" potential impacts during construction.

It also proposes to reduce the use of land on the Sizewell estate designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) by working closely with Sizewell A, which is being decommissioned.

There are also plans to create fen meadow, employ 1,500 apprentices and build a 30m (98ft) single-span bridge to reduce the impact on Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) land.

Mr Cadoux-Hudson said: "We take the feedback from the councils, MPs and local people extremely seriously and would like to make these updates to our proposals in good time so they can be considered by the Planning Inspectorate and all interested parties during the next phase of this process."

Ms Downes said: "Sizewell C remains a ridiculously expensive project. It will not contribute to net zero until about 2040, won't help level up the UK and, of course, it threatens the internationally famous wildlife reserves that we have on our doorstep."

Therese Coffey, Conservative MP for Suffolk Coastal, said it was "currently the only large scale site [in the country] available for future investment".

image captionAreas of land surrounding Sizewell B, seen in the distance, are designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

The public will have an opportunity to comment on the proposed changes until 18 December.

Nuclear power's role in the UK's future energy strategy is to be discussed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson with the chancellor and business secretary at a meeting this month. A white paper on government policy is also expected to be published.

The Together Against Sizewell C group (Tasc) said claims that nuclear power was carbon-neutral and an answer to climate change were "greatly overstated".

Joan Girling, from Tasc, called on local politicians to oppose the growth of nuclear power.

"Councillors at all levels, environment groups, whole communities must now tell government 'no' to Sizewell; 'yes' to renewables, decentralisation, energy efficiency, energy storage and the tens of thousands of jobs a renewables industry will create," she said.

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Related Topics

  • Renewable energy
  • Sizewell
  • Nuclear power
  • Energy industry

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