Campaigners slam ‘fiction’ of EDF’s job and economic promises


Local campaign groups have reacted with concern to the research released today by the Suffolk Coast Destination Management Organisation (DMO), [1] which undermines EDF’s claim that Sizewell C will bring significant numbers of jobs and economic benefit to the area. 

“This new research concludes that losses to the vital local tourism sector could amount to £40 million a year and could cost 400 jobs. It drives a bulldozer through the promised economic benefits claimed for Sizewell C,” said Alison Downes, co-chair of the Theberton & Eastbridge Action Group on Sizewell (TEAGS). 

EDF’s target is for 2000 ‘home-based’ workers, but defines ‘home-based’ as up to 90 minutes’ drive away, plus 500 workers on associated developments. EDF acknowledges this is an ambitious target but claims it is realistic. A further 3,600 workers – and potentially thousands more given that EDF is modelling a possible workforce of up to 7,900 – will be from more than 90 minutes’ drive away, and have to be accommodated in the local area.

“For the full impact on business and employment, you have got to consider all the negatives of Sizewell C too,” states Charles Macdowell of the B1122 Action Group, which covers several villages near the site. “Suffolk Coastal has the lowest unemployment in the East of England, with only 445 registered jobseekers at the last count in 2015. [2]. Hotels, restaurants and shops will have to compete hard for scarcer workers. Farming and public services like health and social care are also likely to be affected.”

As well as having to recruit and train new employees to replace those lost to EDF, tourism and other local businesses will be badly hit by the decade-long traffic congestion associated with the construction project, further hurting their competitiveness.

The Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB has a tourism value of at least £200 million pounds a year. [3] EDF claims it will pump £100 million into the ‘local’ economy but campaigners are sceptical about how much of this will be felt in the immediate area, especially when offset against tourism and other losses. A 2017 Oxford Economics report on the economic impact of Sellafield found that where there is a low level of specialist skills locally, direct labour costs and supply chain ‘spend’ inevitably flows out of the local economy. [4] 

“Many people, including some in local government, think that Sizewell C’s jobs make it worthwhile despite its devastating effect on the environment, traffic and Suffolk’s famed peace and tranquility. We consider this a fiction. With the vast majority of workers on Sizewell C coming from outside the area, and the losses to our valued tourism industry, we are deeply concerned that the economic impact of Sizewell C in the immediate vicinity will be negative.” said Alison.