More than 100 rural Suffolk businesses have written to the Government to oppose the building of a twin reactor nuclear power station.
The letter, which was addressed to Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Alok Sharma amongst others, raised concerns about the site.
It has attracted signatures from almost 150 individual businesses, farms and landowners in the area.
In the letter they describe the nuclear power station as a “threat” which had been hanging over their heads for at least eight years.
“This would be tolerable if the Sizewell C project was for the ‘greater good’,” read the letter.
“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.”
The letter also raised concerns about the impact on farm production which owners say could “render productive land commercially and logistically unviable”.
They also argued that tourists could be deterred by the extra traffic on roads in the area.
“We join other organisations and individuals that have reached the same conclusion,” read the letter.
“Which is our declaration that – given the environmental sensitivities and economic impact – we oppose Sizewell C.”
EDF responded to the letter saying that they were already working with hundreds of business and hoped to work with the farming community more closely.
A spokesman for EDF said: “We are working hard to make sure Sizewell C is good for Suffolk businesses across many sectors and that we can work together to deliver a project that will help Britain meet its Net Zero targets.
“We have over 1,400 businesses registered to work with us on the project and local firms are already helping to build Hinkley Point C which has delivered £1bn in contracts to the region.
“We firmly believe that the farming community has a strong role to play in the project, whether that is through providing local food produce for our workforce or by using farm machinery powered by hydrogen that could be made at Sizewell C.
“We hope to form a Suffolk business farming alliance as we have done in Somerset, where 3 million meals have been produced to date by the Somerset Larder for the Hinkley Point C workforce. The Somerset Larder was formed by local business for Hinkley Point C but has extended its reach to work with many more firms in the region.
“By working with leading trade organisations for businesses in all sectors we hope to make the most of the project for Suffolk.”
More than 1,400 people have registered their interest in working at the planned Sizewell C nuclear power station, EDF has revealed.
The energy firm also said it has increased the number of apprenticeships it plans to offer from 1,000 to 1,500.
The news comes after EDF launched its ‘Young Sizewell C’ scheme designed to provide students in East Anglia with future job opportunities, should the station get approval to be built..
EDF bosses have said they are “really encouraged” by the interest as they moved forward with the £20billion project.
Earlier this week, more than 30 business and education leaders wrote to prime minister Boris Johnson urging the government to approve the station, highlighting the “huge local employment” benefits it could bring.
But EDF’s plans have been criticised by campaigners against the scheme, who have voiced concerns over its impact on wildlife, the environment and Suffolk’s tourism trade.
Julia Pyke, director of Sizewell C, said: “Thousands of local people stand to gain well-paid employment from the construction and operation of Sizewell C, just as we have experienced at Sizewell B.
“There will be a wide range of jobs available in all areas of the project and we are really encouraged to see so many local people already registering their interest to work with us.
“Many of the jobs will be in key legacy roles, such as civils and mechanical and electrical engineering.
“We will make access to those jobs easy for local people through a jobs service and the Young Sizewell C programme, which will give young people a route into pre-employment training and areas of support that maximise their life and employment opportunities.”
However, campaigners against the Sizewell C project believe a number of jobs would be lost in other sectors, such as tourism, if the station is built.
Alison Downes, of Stop Sizewell C, said: “We don’t deny that Sizewell C would create jobs, but jobs would be lost in tourism and existing business would be impacted by traffic congestion and losing workers to the project.
“Moreover, three-quarters of EDF’s 8,500 workforce would come from outside the region, especially from those building Hinkley Point C. They would need accommodation, creating social problems and straining local services.”
Major union Unite has called on the government to approve plans for Sizewell C nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast – arguing that 10,000 jobs are “in the balance” over the project.
The union is backing the Sizewell C Consortium of major contractors, which has said that the failure to build EDF’s proposed plant could cost the construction industry thousands of jobs.
The warning comes after Japanese firm Hitachi pulled out of the Wylfa nuclear power plant in Wales, which was quickly followed by Horizon Nuclear announcing it will be ceasing its activities to develop two projects in the UK.
Suffolk County Council has already said it cannot give its backing to the Sizewell C project – which is estimated to cost £20billion – without changes to the plans.
Other groups, like the RSPB and the Stop Sizewell C campaign, have made clear their opposition to the project on a number of grounds, including the environmental impact.
The government has already said it is “considering a range of financing solutions” for Sizewell C, one of which could involve it taking a stake in the project.
China General Nuclear Corporation has a 20% stake in the scheme, though tensions between UK and China have escalated in recent months.
Peter McIntosh, Unite’s national officer for energy, said: “The Sizewell C Consortium makes a strong case for ministers to get their skates on and approve the go-ahead for the new nuclear power station in Suffolk – thousands of highly skilled jobs hang in the balance.
“It is essential that a skills bridge is created from Hinkley Point, being constructed in Somerset, to Sizewell to ensure that the skills and the knowledge that have been acquired on the initial project can be transferred to Sizewell and are not lost to the country’s skill base.
“Such skills will be in high demand as the economy emerges into the post-Covid world.
“It has not been a good week for the UK’s nuclear industry with Hitachi deciding to withdraw from the Anglesey project – we can’t continue with this level of uncertainty afflicting a sector of which Britain was once the world leader.
“Unite repeats its call to business, energy and industrial strategy secretary Alok Sharma to bring forward the long-awaited energy White Paper which will guarantee that nuclear power is a vital part of the energy ‘mix’ in the years ahead, creating a source of ‘clean’ and reliable electricity, as well as a new generation of skilled ‘green’ employment.”
However, campaigners against nuclear power station project have called on Unite to not put pressure on the government during the planning process.
Charles Macdowell, of Stop Sizewell C and B1122 Action Group, said: “It’s utterly wrong for Unite to be pressing the government to approve Sizewell C while there is a planning process underway that would be totally prejudiced by such a decision.
“With so many individuals and groups opposing the project, and Suffolk County Council unable to support it, it’s vital EDF’s proposals receive detailed scrutiny, especially the unproven claims of economic benefit and jobs for local people, which are undermined by compelling evidence of job losses in tourism.”
Loss of Welsh power station has ‘serious ramifications’ for Sizewell C, say supporters
PUBLISHED: 09:04 16 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:53 17 September 2020
Supporters of Sizewell C say that jobs to be created by the proposed nuclear power station have become more crucial than ever following the scrapping of a project in Wales.
It had been hoped that thousands of jobs would be created at the Wylfa station on Anglesey in North Wales by Japanese firm Hitachi.
However, the tech giant announced yesterday that it had axed plans for the station, blaming what it called the “severe impact” of the coronavirus on “the investment environment”.
The decision has led to concerns here in Suffolk from supporters of the proposed Sizewell C station, who now believe the jobs which could be created by the nuclear sector are even more crucial.
Cameron Gilmour, spokesman for the Sizewell C Consortium – which represents around 100 businesses and unions backing the construction of the nuclear power station – said: “This news will have serious ramifications for companies both in Wales and across the UK.
“The Wylfa nuclear project would have been another important milestone for the UK’s nuclear supply chain and would have created thousands of jobs.
“Unless Sizewell C, a replica of the under-construction Hinkley Point C, is given the go-ahead, there is now a serious risk to the future of the UK’s civil nuclear construction capability and the tens of thousands of jobs that go with it.”
However, campaign group Together Against Sizewell C said that the announcement showed the financial pitfalls of nuclear energy.
TASC chairman, Pete Wilkinson, said:“Hitachi’s decision is clearly driven by the fact that nuclear is a bad financial investment, a conclusion that is one that EDF has accepted as it now expects the UK consumer and taxpayer to pay for Sizewell C.
“As a capital-intensive industry, jobs cost a disproportionate amount: at £20bn for Sizewell, each of the notional 900 long-term jobs will cost over £22m each to create.
“One also must consider the negative impact that Sizewell C will have on employment in the Suffolk tourism industry with a recent report showing that up to 400 jobs are at stake if Sizewell C goes ahead.
“Jobs in this ‘build back better’ period are vital, but the large number of jobs required will be created by investing in labour-intensive renewables, conservation of energy, efficiency, decentralisation and microtechnology, not in antiquated nuclear.
“Opting for nuclear is a prime example of repeating the mistakes of the past.”
Alison Downes of Stop Sizewell C, said: “Sizewell C would be a bad project whoever paid for it and certainly wouldn’t help the government meet its policy imperatives: it wouldn’t contribute to net zero targets until 2040 and at £20 billion would be much more expensive as well as slower than other technologies to address climate change.”
A spokesman for EDF said: “Hitachi’s decision does not change the need for large scale nuclear in the UK.
“It is the only technology ready to deliver the always-on low carbon electricity we will need alongside renewables to get to net zero emissions.
“With fewer new nuclear projects in planning, it is vital that Sizewell C gets built.”
A Government spokesman said: “Nuclear power will play a key role in the UK’s future energy mix as we transition to a low-carbon economy, including through our investments in small and advanced modular reactors. That’s why we previously offered a significant package of potential support to this project that went well beyond what any government has been willing to consider in the past.”
“This included taking a one-third equity stake, providing all of the required debt financing to complete construction, and providing generous financial support through our Contract for Difference scheme.”
17 September 2020
The government has said it is exploring financing options for Sizewell C after plans were scrapped for a nuclear power station in Wales.
Japanese technology firm Hitachi has pulled the plug on plans to build the Wylfa station in Anglesey, north Wales, blaming the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on “the investment environment”.
The decision has led to concerns EDF’s £20billion Sizewell C project on the Suffolk coast could also suffer a similar fate, in which case thousands of jobs would not be created.
China Nuclear Power Corporation has a 20% stake in the scheme – but relations between the UK and China have become more heated in recent months.
However, the government has now revealed it is looking at “a range of financing solutions” to ensure the power station can be built.
Among the options being considered is the government taking a stake in the station.
A government spokesperson said: “Nuclear energy has a key role to play in meeting our net zero commitments.
“We regularly engage with all developers on their projects and are considering a range of financing solutions.”
However, campaigners against the nuclear power station have expressed concern at potential government involvement in the project.
Alison Downes, of Stop Sizewell C, said: “Government must not prop up this white elephant which cannot contribute to net zero until 2040, would burden the UK for generations to come with still unproven technology, blight an area of outstanding natural beauty and suck investment away from the 21st century clean energy technologies that need it most.”
UK eyes nuclear stake: Government could hasten approval of power station in Suffolk after Hitachi pulls out of Wales project
The Government could hasten approval of a nuclear power station at Sizewell in Suffolk after a project in Wales fell through.
It could even take a stake in the plant, according to reports.
This week, Japanese group Hitachi pulled out of plans to build a new nuclear power station at Wylfa on Anglesey, dealing another blow to the Government’s nuclear plans and ramping up pressure to accelerate approving Sizewell.
The Government is under pressure to accelerate approve plans for a new nuclear power station at Sizewell in Sufflock (pictured) after a project in Wales fell through
Of six sites earmarked for plants to replace the UK’s ageing nuclear fleet more than a decade ago only one, Hinkley Point C, in Somerset, is being built.
But Sizewell poses problems because China’s state-backed nuclear group, CGN, is a 20pc investor, alongside France’s EDF.
Since the Government excluded Huawei’s equipment from new 5G networks, relations with Beijing have deteriorated and will make it difficult for China to be involved in setting up a nuclear reactor in the UK.
The Government is looking at options to replace CGN, the BBC reported, and may take over the stake.
Alison Down(e)s of campaign group Stop Sizewell C said: ‘Sizewell would be a bad project whoever paid for it and wouldn’t help the Government meet its policy imperatives.
It wouldn’t contribute to net zero targets until 2040 and at £20billion would be more expensive, as well as slower than other technologies to address climate change.’
A Government spokesman said: ‘Nuclear energy has a key role to play in meeting our net zero commitments. We regularly engage with all developers on their projects and are considering a range of financing solutions.’
‘People deserve to see the reality’: Do Sizewell C images capture true impact on beauty spot?
PUBLISHED: 09:55 16 September 2020 | UPDATED: 08:35 17 September 2020
Calls are being made for the developers of Sizewell C to publish enhanced ‘true-to-life’ images of what the project will look like during its 10-year construction as fears escalate over its impact on surrounding beauty spots.
The £20bn twin-reactor will be built in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the Suffolk coast over the next decade if proposals by EDF are approved.
On Friday Suffolk County Council dealt the project a significant blow and said it could not support it in its current form.
Among a raft of concerns was the visual impact of the plant, which leaders fear will have “significant adverse effects” on the landscape during and after construction.
They claim the function of the protected nature area around the plant, to “conserve and enhance” natural beauty, would be put at risk, and also have concerns over plans for four additional tall pylons on site.
EDF has prepared several images of what Sizewell C could look like both during construction and when it is operating, with some featuring outlines on existing photographs to show anticipated and ‘exceptional’ scenarios.
The company said “true-to-life images of how the station will look have been presented at all stages”, adding that bespoke 3D modelling helped to educate around 10,000 people in east Suffolk on what they would see from their homes “at any point, during construction and operation”.
But organisations working to preserve the area of natural beauty (AONB) are calling for the French energy company to release fresh illustrations.
Nick Collinson of the National Trust said it is concerned the construction work, as indicated in the project’s landscape and visual assessment, will have a “major adverse and permanent impact” on the views from Dunwich Heath.
They have requested more detailed images from EDF, but note the current ones comply with minimum requirements.
“We are disappointed that images that would allow people to fully understand and appreciate the visual impacts over the 10-year construction phase in any meaningful way have not been made available,” he added.
Councillor David Wood, chairman of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB partnership, said: “Experience of other new nuclear power stations suggests that hundreds of cranes will be required for the build, this would undoubtedly have a significant negative impact on the natural beauty of nationally designated landscape. The AONB would welcome more representative imagery for the construction and decommissioning phases.”
Campaigners at Stop Sizewell C have drawn comparisons between EDF’s visualisations and ones prepared following pressure from Anglesey County Council for the Wylfa Newydd plant.
Developers Horizon were tasked with producing more ‘true-to-life’ images after council chiefs felt the original visualisations failed to accurately depict the anticipated visual impact. Hitachi, the firm behind it, has just announced it is pulling out of the £13bn project.
“Given EDF’s claim to be a good neighbour, it’s a big fail not to show local people what it would be like living next to the biggest construction site in Europe, should Sizewell C go ahead,” said Alison Downes, on behalf of the group.
EDF says good practice guidance is not specific a
bout how any development or its construction phase should be visualised, and said the images were produced in consultation with relevant stakeholders.
The highest point on each of the images (C1) is meant to show the maximum height reached by temporary buildings and tower/mobile cranes used to construct the main platform.
In the case of the view from RSPB Minsmere, the expected height is earmarked at 160m above ground but if it is ‘exceptional’, it could be as high as 250m. Other lower-level outlines are meant to suggest heights of workshops and storage facilities, plus accommodation blocks.
During construction, EDF plans to roll out mitigation measures such as minimum lighting and remodelling the northern mound to screen lower-level infrastructure from beach views.
EDF said landscape and visual effects during Sizewell C’s operation stage have been assessed as “not significant”, stating they would only occur over localised sections of the AONB and Heritage Coast.
But this has been dismissed by East Suffolk Council chiefs in their draft representation to the planning inspector as a “highly dubious and unsatisfactory conclusion”.
Council bosses do, however, acknowledge that once construction ceases the landscape used for it will begin to recover.
Within the Sizewell C documents, visualisations of what the plant may look like when finished are also included, and CGI videos have also been produced. Stop Sizewell C claims these are “simplistic”.
An EDF spokeswoman added: “We have been open and transparent as the plans for Sizewell C have developed and have taken on board feedback during the four stages of public consultation that spanned eight years.
“The feedback we had from the many public exhibitions we held was that the 3D model helped people understand likely visual impact of the project.”
Consultants challenge EDF over economic benefits and jobs Sizewell C will bring
PUBLISHED: 05:30 07 September 2020 | UPDATED: 09:42 07 September 2020
Independent consultants have challenged the jobs and economic benefits that building a new twin reactor nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast will bring – labelling the claims as “exaggerated” and “unrealistic”.
EDF Energy has said that Sizewell C will give the county’s economy a £125million a year boost and create 25,000 job opportunities during the 10-year construction period and 900 skilled jobs when the power plant is operational.
But an independent review of EDF’s Economic Statement, assessing the impacts of Sizewell C on Suffolk’s economy, by research and analysis consultancy Development Economics – commissioned by the Stop Sizewell C campaign – has criticised key aspects of the research and evidence submitted to the Planning Inspectorate.
EDF though insists its project will deliver investment, jobs, skills, education and training for decades to come.
And it says its Economic Statement in its planning application is fully compliant with relevant national policy.
Development Economics though claimed some aspects were “exaggerated” and “unrealistic”. It questioned EDF’s claim of up to “2,410 jobs for Suffolk residents”, saying this included people travelling from up to 90 minutes away, which covers large population centres in Norfolk and Essex.
It said these local workers will be the overwhelming source of lower skilled roles, expected to fill 90% of jobs in ‘Site Support’ – cleaners, bus drivers and security guards – compared with only 8% of roles in professional and management. At peak construction 76% of the workforce will come from further away still and will have to be accommodated in the area.
The consultants said workers recruited from existing businesses in the area would threaten “both profitability and, in some cases, viability of these businesses.”
They also contend that Sizewell C is unlikely to have a significant impact on local unemployment and believe that targets of hiring “up to 480 unemployed or economically inactive workers” locally are over-ambitious.
EDF though insists thousands of local people stand to gain well paid employment from the construction and operation of Sizewell C, just as they have at Sizewell B and at Hinkley Point C (HPC) in Somerset.
At peak, it says, Sizewell C will bring in around 2,400 jobs for Suffolk residents on the main site – including semi-skilled mechanical operatives, electricians, lifting operatives, welders, pipefitters, cabling operatives, fitters, steel-fixers, drivers, lifting operatives, timber and formwork operatives, maintenance and administrative staff, on top of the professional/managerial roles.
The company says there will be a wide range of jobs available in all areas of the project and it is working with Suffolk County Council to ensure the types of roles with genuine long term legacy for the region are promoted locally – including critical civils and mechanical and electrical engineering jobs.
It accepts some people will leave their current jobs to work for Sizewell C but employers are likely to fill such vacancies – a regular feature of running a business.
An EDF Energy spokesman said: “Sizewell C will deliver jobs, skills, education and training for decades to come while helping to tackle the climate crisis. Thousands of local people stand to gain well paid employment from the construction and operation of Sizewell C, just as we have experienced at Sizewell B and at Hinkley Point C in Somerset. We remain as committed as ever to making the most of Sizewell C for Suffolk.”
Development Economics suggests the Suffolk Coast Destination Management Organisation’s (DMO) predicted losses of £24-40 million/year and 400 jobs will be an underestimate of the true impact on tourism.
Harry Young, chair of the DMO said: “EDF Energy’s tourism study produced similar and worrying findings to the 2019 DMO report, but with no economic impact calculation. The predicted reduction in visitor numbers suggests an existential threat to many businesses within this key industry. The vast project, and intended road led strategy, would impact the visitor experience and alter the way many perceive the area, and we know that the majority of visitors come for peace and tranquillity.
“If the project goes ahead, giving tourism businesses yet more challenge after the toughest of years, EDF’s promised mitigating Tourism Fund must be truly substantial. However most businesses would prefer to avoid harm rather than repair damage.”
EDF is working with organisations such as the local authorities on its proposals and mitigation including a Tourism Fund. It says previous studies have found no evidence that developments like Sizewell C deter tourists – indeed there is no evidence that Sizewell B had a substantial effect on the sector within the Suffolk Coastal area, and so far the HPC project shows that fears about the effects on tourism have not materialised.
In East Suffolk tourism accommodation will be used off season and spare capacity will be filled in peak months.
Alison Downes of Stop Sizewell C said: “This report should give serious pause to any of our elected representatives who believe EDF’s hype that the benefits of Sizewell C will outweigh the negative impacts.”