In September, I submitted my response to the preliminary stage of the planning application process backing Sizewell C but encouraging EDF to make some significant changes in order to get consent. I’m delighted that they’ve listened to the responses, not just from me but from local councils and local residents and have come up with further changes which are now out for consultation.
Rather than bringing in the majority of freight by HGV, which would’ve had a significant impact on our highways network, EDF are now proposing to bring in 40% of construction phase materials by road. They’re able to do this by building a second beach landing facility, so a greater proportion of materials can come in via sea-borne methods, whilst further utilising rail freight.
I’m really pleased they’ve also responded to the point I included in my submission about noisy overnight trains. Having discussed the issue with Network Rail I suggested they invest in continuous welded rail lines close to residential areas in Woodbridge, Melton, Saxmundham and Leiston. They’re doing precisely that as well as looking a quieter rolling stock which operate at slower speeds.
As I said in my submission, I’m keen to see EDF contributing to nature recovery as well as just mitigation which is why I welcome their commitment to establish an independent Environmental Trust to manage rewilding and the biodiversity of the growing Sizewell estate. They’re also now proposing to use less of the AONB by utilising existing brownfield land for current buildings that have to be moved and creating more fen meadow.
For some, no amount of changes will justify the construction of Sizewell C but tackling climate change and ensuring we have enough electricity as we phase out fossil fuels is vital to the success and sustainability of this country. The economic gain from a project the size of this will also be really positively felt locally - with the creation of thousands of jobs including well-paid, long term jobs. I think EDF should be applauded for listening and reconsulting on some of the important issues to mitigate their application.
This latest phase of consultation ends on the 18th December 2020. You can find the documents and have your say here - https://www.edfenergy.com/energy/nuclear-new-build-projects/sizewell-c