Hundreds join Sizewell C protest march as planning decision is delayed

15 May, Suffolk: Hundreds of people came together in east Suffolk today to join Stop Sizewell C and Together Against Sizewell C for a colourful, noisy march and rally against Sizewell C. Carrying banners saying “Chaos Coast, coming soon”, “Roadworks (for years) ahead” and “Enjoy Suffolk while you can”, protestors marched from Leiston to Sizewell beach where they were joined at a rally by Adrian Ramsay, Co Leader of the Green Party. 

The march took place just days after Ministers decided to delay the Sizewell C planning decision by over 6 weeks, from 25 May to 8 July, [1] which campaigners take as clear recognition of the project’s many difficult problems including water supply, transport, coastal erosion and biodiversity. [2]

Alison Downes of Stop Sizewell C said: “We have all come here today to show that a decision to go ahead with Sizewell C would be a wrong decision. EDF has clearly not taken this community with them, [3] and the government has totally betrayed the faith of local people in due process by repeated commitments to Sizewell C [4] when it doesn’t have planning consent, let alone a Final Investment Decision. Two wrongs don’t make a right, so where is the sense in copying Hinkley C, badly overrun and overspent [5] using a faulty reactor design that’s been offline in China for the last 10 months?” [6]

Pete Wilkinson, Chair of Together Against Sizewell C said “As we have shown comprehensively in evidence to the government and the planning authorities, the case against Sizewell C is overwhelming. If the Secretary of State dares to approve its construction in the face of that evidence and in the knowledge that nuclear is a declining industry, competes badly with renewables on all fronts [7] and will fail to provide the sort of response required by the existential emergency created by climate change, the government can add dereliction of duty to its charge sheet.”

Adrian Ramsay, co-leader of the Green Party, said: “We face an unprecedented rise in the cost of living. Building a nuclear power station with the kind of subsidy the Government is talking about will lock in raised electricity prices for years to come. Renewably generated electricity is now far, far cheaper and will deliver far more sustainable jobs for Suffolk people and its independent businesses than this expensive white elephant. As the Greens’ parliamentary candidate for villages near this site, I know first hand the strength of opposition locally. Construction will take a decade and generate thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions. The climate crisis needs tackling now, not in a dozen years’ time when Sizewell C may just start operating.”

Other speakers at the rally include district councillors Louise Gooch [Labour, Kirkley & Pakefield] and David Beavan [Liberal Democrat, Southwold, Reydon and Walberswick]. Invitations were extended to two Conservative councillors but they were unavailable.

Photos available here:  Credit Gregg Brown/Stop Sizewell C & TASC

Notes for Editors

  1. On 12 May Minister Paul Scully said “I have decided to set a new deadline of no later than 8 July 2022 for deciding this application. This is to ensure there is sufficient time to fully consider further information provided by the applicant and interested parties in response to the Secretary of State’s post-examination consultation.” 
  2. For a summary of outstanding issues, see is as yet no long-term mains water supply for the plant, which needs an average of 2.2 million litres per day in the driest region of the UK. Potable water for the construction will have to be supplied by a damaging desalination plant. 
  3. In January 2021 Kwasi Kwarteng said “The way in which EDF engages with the local community, particularly in Sizewell C – if that’s the one that gets the green light – is really important because in all of these issues there are always two sides. The onus is on the company developing a project to bring as many people as possible with them”. Sizewell C is facing considerable local opposition and it is also opposed by the RSPB, whose internationally famous Minsmere reserve adjoins Sizewell C, and the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. Part of Sizewell Marshes Site of Scientific Interest would be lost forever. The cooling systems have the potential to trap and kill hundreds of millions of fish and other marine biota annually during each of its 60 years of operation.
  4. On 7 April Kwasi Kwarteng told the “Today” programme “we are committed to Sizewell C”. On 13 May he tweeted “agree Sizewell C” 
  5. EDF is shortly expected to publish details of the extent to which Hinkley Point C will overspend and overrun. This would be the 4th confirmed increase since construction began in 2016 (other increases announced in 2017, 2019 and 2020). Industry claims that making a copy of Hinkley C’s EPR reactors will reduce costs and construction risk are not credible. It is impossible to replicate the location ,and the pattern of delay and overspend has been repeated multiple times at Taishan, Olkiluoto (still not at full operating capacity) and Flamanville – the latter two over a decade late and multiple times overspent.
  6. Taishan I has been offline since July 2021 with fuel failure. Besides the loss of sealing on the fuel rods, EDF also reports (see page 116)In addition, a phenomenon occurring between the assemblies and a component enclosing the core has been identified, which would be linked to hydraulic stresses. Studies are underway on these phenomena and their potential impacts.”
  7. Sizewell C’s 3.2GW of power would cost at least £20bn (this figure is 2 years out of date) compared to an estimated £50bn for 30GW – nine times this capacity – in offshore wind. Investments in Sizewell C would suck vital resources from renewables, energy efficiency or technologies such as green hydrogen storage.