All posts by Alison Downes

More than 10,000 Say No to Sizewell C

More than 10,000 Say No to Sizewell C as government announces an extra 10GW of offshore wind and mulls a direct stake in new nuclear

[LONDON] Campaign representatives from Stop Sizewell C and Together Against Sizewell C today delivered over 10,400 signatures [1] opposing Sizewell C to Downing Street, the Treasury and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. [2] The petition calls on the government to stop Sizewell C because it would be risky, slow and – at £20 billion – massively expensive, sucking funds away from renewable energy and storage. The project would not positively contribute to net zero until 2040. [3]

The petition was delivered on the day the Prime Minister announced an increase in the target for power from offshore wind from 30GW to 40GW by 2030 [4] – a 10GW difference the equivalent of 3 Sizewell Cs – and in the midst of speculation that the government was considering taking a stake in future nuclear projects. At a Party Conference side event sponsored by EDF, BEIS Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said the Treasury was thinking “‘why shouldn’t we have upside?” …why shouldn’t we have equity?” [5]

Alison Downes of Stop Sizewell C said: “With government on the brink of major decisions about our future energy, there is plenty of evidence that Sizewell C would have no “upside”. Not only is it expensive and risky, it is also slow, unable to deploy for years after the Prime Minister’s target of 40GW of offshore wind. There is also the controversy of China’s involvement. No other western European country, not even France, wants to build EDF’s trouble-prone EPR technology.” [6]

Pete Wilkinson of Together Against Sizewell C said: “Opposition to Sizewell C is strengthening, as these 10,000 signatures bear witness to, and neither we nor the signatories to this petition are alone. Numerous organisations, including RSPB and Suffolk Wildlife Trust oppose it, along with at least 10 Town and Parish Councils. Suffolk County Council “cannot support” EDF’s plans as the putative benefits of Sizewell C are significantly outweighed by the dis-benefits of the proposed development. Sizewell C, if it was ever built, would be a white elephant development on an eroding coast leaving behind a massively diminished environment, a weakened tourism industry and a lethal nuclear waste legacy.”

Additional evidence was provided yesterday by the University of Sussex Business School and International School of Management in Munich. Their analysis of 123 countries found that nuclear energy should not be considered as an effective low-carbon energy source and that nuclear and renewable energy programmes do not co-exist well together, but instead “crowd each other out” and limit the effectiveness of carbon cutting. [7]


1. The petition is a joint initiative of Stop Sizewell C and Together Against Sizewell C Signatures currently stand at 10,659 and is still growing

2. Pictures (of Alison Downes and Chris Wilson) are available in Gdrive; Please credit Stop Sizewell C/TASC.

3. See for a detailed assessment of EDF’s documentation on CO2 emissions.


5. Minister Kwarteng told the event that the RAB funding model, under which householders would pay a “nuclear tax” on bills during construction, could not bypass the government’s balance sheet, saying “My understanding is…that it will be looked at or scored as government liability, government debt.

6. Only France and Finland besides the UK have any nuclear new builds. Finland’s EPR new build at Olkiluoto is over a decade late: France’s only new build is the disastrous Flamanville EPR, also over a decade late. France has said it will not make any decisions about other new builds until at least the end of 2022.

7. The study was published by Nature Energy

The Times, 5 October 2020

Will we go for Sizewell C nuclear option to meet zero-carbon goals?If ministers are to provide clean, reliable energy they must make a decision on the project soon

Emily Gosden, Energy EditorMonday October 05 2020, 12.01am, The Times

To its supporters, it’s a crucial step to meeting Britain’s net-zero emissions goals, providing reliable low-carbon power and creating thousands of jobs. To its critics, it’s an outdated, risky technology that will push up energy bills and blight the landscape. The proposed Sizewell C nuclear plant has long provoked debate in the energy industry — but what does the government think? That’s the £20 billion question.

The twin-reactor plant in Suffolk proposed by France’s EDF could generate 3.2 gigawatts of electricity, enough to provide 7 per cent of Britain’s needs. It would be a sister station to Hinkley Point C, which EDF is building with the Chinese state group CGN in Somerset, and which the government said in 2016 should be the “first of a wave of new nuclear plants”.

Yet of five projects that were proposed to follow Hinkley, three — in Cumbria, Anglesey and Gloucestershire — have been abandoned by their Japanese developers, while CGN’s hopes of building its own reactor in Essex look politically highly unlikely amid hostility to China. That leaves the £20 billion Sizewell plant as the test case for whether the government still wants nuclear, and what it’s prepared to do to make it happen.

“What we need to see is a strong and unambiguous statement of the need for new nuclear to be able to meet the net-zero target,” Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, says. He hopes an energy white paper, delayed by more than a year and now promised this autumn, will include a clear indication of how much nuclear is wanted. “Ministers haven’t said in recent times anything about the proportions of power coming from which zero-emission sources. There has to be a greater sense of direction.”

As the costs of wind, solar and batteries have fallen, critics have questioned whether nuclear is really needed. The National Infrastructure Commission advised the government in 2018 that it should commit to only one more nuclear plant by 2025 since renewables may prove to be cheaper.

Mr Greatrex insists this view is mistaken and does not reflect the requirements of Britain’s net-zero target, set last year. The Committee on Climate Change, the official advisers on that goal, say that power demand may double by 2050 and 38 per cent of it may need to be met by firm low-carbon power: either nuclear, or gas plants fitted with carbon capture technology.

Dermot Nolan, who led the energy regulator Ofgem until January, says that he believes “we probably won’t know until 2040 or 2050 if we were right to do nuclear” but that to minimise risks, “it is better to develop some nuclear at this point”. He adds: “I think there’s sufficient uncertainty about overall power demand, and sufficient uncertainty about whether a 100 per cent renewable mix will be lower or higher cost, that it’s just not putting all your eggs in one basket.”

The limited indications are that the government agrees: the business department says that “nuclear power will play a key role in the UK’s future energy mix as we transition to a low-carbon economy”. But if they do want new nuclear, ministers will need to decide how to fund it. “The current financing mechanism won’t work,” Mr Greatrex says.

At Hinkley, state-backed EDF and the Chinese are shouldering the decade-long construction costs and risks. EDF has made clear that it cannot afford to do the same for Sizewell and needs to bring in a majority of private investors. And at Hinkley, the return on investment comes through a contract guaranteeing consumers will pay £92.50 per megawatt-hour (MWh) for its electricity — more than double the price awarded to recent offshore wind projects, and politically unrepeatable.

Letter from over 100 rural businesses opposing Sizewell C

More than 100 rural businesses oppose Sizewell C

[Suffolk] More than 100 Suffolk rural businesses have written to the Prime Minister and Cabinet members, to express their opposition to Sizewell C, saying the project would carve up farmland and render productive land commercially and logistically unviable and that the impact of 1,000 HGVs per day, plus thousands of other vehicles would severely hamper farming and fresh produce operations across a significant proportion of the county.

The letter, signed by almost 150 individual business, farm and landowners, has also been sent to the National Farmers’ Union, Country Landowners’ Association, Suffolk Agricultural Association and copied to Suffolk MPs and Council leaders

John Poll of Old Abbey Farm, Leiston, whose farmland would be carved up by Sizewell C rail and road links, said: “We’ve had this uncertainty hanging over us for years, with repeated shocks as EDF revealed new proposals during the various consultation stages. We started with an open mind, but as the destructive nature of EDF’s plans have become more and more clear, we have been brought to this point where we totally oppose the project outright.”

India Bacon of Ward Farming, whose business would also be significantly affected said: “Every time we read EDF’s claims that Suffolk businesses support Sizewell C we feel outraged that the views of so many businesses – including those in our sector – are not represented, which is why we and our fellow farmers initiated this letter.  We cannot see how this project is going to benefit our county, in fact we can only see that it will damage our local economy and put enormous pressure on our local infrastructure..

Alison Downes of Stop Sizewell C added: “EDF and the nuclear lobby are currently in overdrive, but the Prime Minister and political leaders at national and regional level need to hear that large numbers of Suffolk businesses do not support Sizewell C. We urge the NFU, CLA and SAA to adopt, at the very least, the view of Suffolk County Council on EDF’s plans, that the ‘disadvantages heavily outweigh the advantages.’”

The letter below is also signed by a further four businesses, represented by seven individuals, who requested their names be withheld from publication.

To: The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, The Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, The Rt Hon George Eustice MP, 

Minette Batters, President National Farmers’ Union

Mark Bridgeman, President, Country Landowners’ Association

Stephen Miles, President, Suffolk Agricultural Association

cc Rt Hon Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park, Victoria Prentis MP, Lord Gardiner of Kimble, The Rt Hon Therese Coffey MP, Dr Dan Poulter MP, Peter Aldous MP, The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, James Cartlidge MP, Jo Churchill MP, Tom Hunt MP

Cllrs Matthew Hicks and Richard Rout, Suffolk County Council.

Cllrs Steve Gallant and Craig Rivett, East Suffolk Council


We the undersigned, as rural business owners, farmers and landowners in Suffolk, write to express our opposition to EDF’s plans to build two new nuclear reactors at Sizewell.

The threat of Sizewell C has been hanging over the heads of many of our number for at least eight years now with no immediate end in sight. This would be tolerable if the Sizewell C project was for the “greater good” but we have concluded that it is not necessary to meet the UK’s commitment to net zero, and would be a slow, risky and expensive waste of taxpayers’ money that removes opportunities to make use of alternative, green, deliverable and cost-effective energy solutions. Meanwhile, many of our plans are on hold at a time when farming faces the biggest changes to the policy framework governing our industry in over 50 years.

EDF’s Sizewell C site and associated development will carve up farmland and render productive land commercially and logistically unviable. The impact of 1,000 HGVs per day, plus thousands of LGVs, buses and cars, will be felt for miles around and severely hamper farming and fresh produce operations across a significant proportion of the county. This traffic chaos will also inevitably deter tourists, further undermining the very foundations of Suffolk’s resilient visitor economy which currently operates in harmony with agriculture on the Heritage Coast.

The past few months have more than ever shown the importance of domestic food production. East Suffolk is a key player in this; our land a carefully managed irreplaceable resource, essential to the production of sustainable food. In addition we have heavily invested in conservation measures to help develop and preserve habitat for key species of flora and fauna. These habitats, which successfully extend those provided by the Suffolk Coasts & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, will be irreversibly carved up and destroyed by EDFs roads and infrastructure, to the detriment of our environment and our county’s tourism industry.

We join other organisations and individuals that have reached the same conclusion, including the National Trust and Suffolk Wildlife Trust; business-leaders, former Ministers and MPs. We urge the National Farmers’ Union, Country Landowners’ Association and Suffolk Agricultural Association to support us and this letter, which is our declaration that – given the environmental sensitivities and economic impact – we oppose Sizewell C.


David and Belinda Grant, Fordley Hall Farm, Fordley

Nat and India Bacon, Theberton Hall Farm, Theberton, NJ Bacon Farms, Ward Farming Ltd

William and Miranda Kendall, Bernard Page Wood & Co, Kelsale and Theberton

BE and EF Boden & Son, Trust Farm, Middleton

Philip Baskett, Church Farm, Theberton

LJ and EL Dowley, Theberton House

J R & K Poll, Old Abbey Farm

Zoe and Tony Readhead, FL Readhead and Company, Hill Farm, Theberton

Caroline Cranbrook OBE, Argus Hardy, and Jason Gathorne-Hardy, partners, Great Glemham Farms, 

Martin Durie, Durie Partners, Camp Green Farm, Debenham

Robbie Gawthrop, East Green Farm, Kelsale

Nick Cross, S.W.Cross and Sons Ltd, Dairy Farm, Ixworth.

Richard and Robert White, Peakhill Farm, Theberton

James Hopkins, Denston

Michael Bunbury, partner, Naunton Hall Farms

Paul V Hartley. CEnv. Euro. Eng. CMIMST Agri., Carlton Green Farm, Carlton

George Vestey, The Thurlow Estate.

Celia and Paul Whitelock, Vale Farm, Middleton

Hon Edward Tollemache, Helmingham Estate Farms

Lord Somerleyton DL, Somerleyton

Chris Hollingsworth, Clopton Hall, Wickhambrook 

Roger and Wendy Skinner, Hurts Hall, Saxmundham

The Duke of Grafton, Euston

Charles Sylvester, Peasenhall Lodge

Sir Kenneth and Lady Carla Carlisle, Wyken Hall, Stanton

Mark Marlesford, Marlesford Farms

Paul and Louise Cooke, Stanny House Farm Partnership, Iken

Jon Hunt and Max Hunt, Heveningham Estate and Wilderness Reserve

Stephen Brett, Eastbridge Farm

Sir Edward Greenwell, Gedgrave

Jonathan Franklin, Knodishall

Hon. Jeremy Prior, Brampton

Jack Rosenthal, Good Food Growers, Reckford Farm, Middleton.

Philip and Carolyn Westrope, Westrope Farming Ltd

Simon Prior, Church Farm, Shadingfield

Nicholas Percival, H C Percival Farms Ltd.

Robin and Sarah Ward, Valley Farm, Linstead Parva

Bill Goodacre, Consultant Agronomist – Retired

Peter Haig-Thomas, Park Farm, Brettenham

Michael and Sara Clarke, R. J. Clarke and Son

David and Dilly Clarke, Cherry Tree Farm, Badingham

G S Ogilvie, Hawsell Farm, Leiston

Hamish Ogilvie, Sizewell Estate

Martin Bowers, Strutt & Parker Farms, Brettenham

James and Nicky Bostock, Hintlesham Hall Farms

Stephen & Marion Fletcher, Park Farm, Charsfield

Basil Baker, Garden House Farm, Middleton

John Parkinson, Hoo Farming Co Ltd, Hall Farm, Hoo, Woodbridge

Evelyn Parkinson t/a CH & FM Parkinson & Son

Robert Skepper, Ferry Farm, Sudbourne

Teresa Rous, Dennington Hall Farms

Paul & Laura Rous, Yara International, Rothamstead Research

Stephen Tonkes, Spindlewood Farm, Halesworth 

Andy and Charlotte Mayhew, JH Mayhew, Sheep Drift Farm, Waldringfield

Jean, Paul & Sue Clarke, K & J Clarke, The Hall, Woodbridge

Roger Middleditch, P H Middleditch & Son, Priory Farm, Wrentham

Mrs. B Chamberlain and Mr R H Chamberlain, Moat Farm Otley

Robert Yates, Town Fen Farm, Brampton

Joe & Annabel Ward, Ward Farming Ltd

P W Bloomfield Woodhill Farm, Yoxford

John and Susan Holmes at White House Farm, Frostenden 

Peter and Lorris Hambling, Rookery Park, Yoxford

Bill Mayne, Burgh House, Woodbridge

Paul Tuckwell, L E Tuckwell Farms Ltd, Worlingworth 

James Tuckwell, P Tuckwell Ltd 

Richard Stanton, Manor Farm, Dersingham

Alan Fairs, Loombest Ltd , Park Farm Thorington

Lissie Fairs, Director, Hillfairs Farmers Ltd , Hall Farm Darsham

Philip Hardiman – director AW Mortier Farms Ltd

David Sprake, East Hall Farm, Denton

Sir Michael and Lady Patricia Hopkins, Blackheath House Farm, Friston

Chris Mayhew, Stratton Hall Farms Ltd.

Jonathan, Dulcie, Graham and Frances Crickmore, Fen Farm, Bungay

Timothy and Ruth Richmond, Little Dodnash Farm, Bentley 

Robert Paul, Tidal Hill Ltd, Wherstead

AJ Paul, RH and R Paul, Broxstead, Sutton

Oliver Paul, Freston Farming Ltd

Andrew & Rebecca Greenwell, Capel St Andrew Farms and Capel Farming Ltd

James & Serena Greenwell, JP and SJ Greenwell, Capel St Andrews Farms

Iain & Davina Johnston, Low Farm, Butley

James Thurlow, Thurlow Nunn Standen

Iain and Kirsten Jamie, Glevering Hall Farm

David Langmead, Langmead Farms, Langley Dairies, Newshoots Limited

James Wrinch, RJ & HW Wrinch

Mark Watson, K & R & M Watson

Andrew Nott, AF & NM Nott

James Blyth, Friday Street Farm, Friday Street

Charles Hall, Keith Hall Fencing Ltd

Keith Southey, Glue Pot Farm, Bramfield

Simon & Laura Roberts, Union Farm, Bulcamp, Halesworth

Tom Barne, Miles and Tessa Barne, Tom and Anna Barne, Sotterley Estate

Mike Porter, Porters Farms (Walpole) Ltd

Henry Budgen, H & L Budgen, Rushmere Hall

Simon & Sally Illet, Moat Alpacas, Moat Farm Theberton

Tom Abrey, R G Abrey Farms

Guy Edmundson, Classic Festivals & Events

Lady Hermione Crisp, Kirby Cane Hall

Gavin Norman, GE Norman Contracting

James Foskett, James Foskett Farms

Frances Boscawen, Moat Farm Flowers

Stuart Baker, J E Baker and Sons Farming, Laxfield

Chris Mann, Mann Farms Ltd

Alex Mann, PJ & SA Mann Farms

Tom and Daniel Webster, Preservation In Action, Blythburgh

David Watson, Mill Hill Farm, Darsham

Mark Howard, Director, Glemham Hall Shoot Ltd