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Long-standing critics still not convinced, as Sizewell C nuclear plant reaches third consultation

Concerns remain about the environmental impact of Sizewell C Credit: ITV News Anglia.

An environmental charity says it is still not convinced enough will be done to protect wildlife if the Sizewell C nuclear plant goes ahead.

Energy giant EDF today launched the third and final public consultation into its plans for a third power station on the Suffolk coast.

It claims it will create 25,000 jobs and bring millions of pounds into the local economy.

But, despite two previous public consultations and a number of changes, EDF has yet to over its critics.

Among them is the RSPB which runs the Minsmere reserve just a stone's throw from the proposed Sizewell C site.

Area manager Adam Rowlands said he was still not convinced enough thought had been given to the protection of wildlife.

  • Click to watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Rob Setchell

“Minsmere is a very special and important place for wildlife, loved by the tens of thousands of people who visit the reserve each year from around the UK and abroad.

“After raising concerns about the potential impact EDF’s Sizewell C proposals could have on the reserve in two previous rounds of public consultation, we feel the time is right to ask EDF to demonstrate that they are taking our concerns seriously, by seeking a public commitment from EDF to protect Minsmere and to publish plans for how their proposals will do this.

“This is the final round of public consultation before EDF submit their proposals, and as such it is the last chance to ask them to keep Minsmere safe.”

– Adam Rowlands, the RSPB Suffolk Area Manager
RSPB Minsmere lies a stone's throw from Sizewell A & B Credit: ITV News Anglia.

Sizewell is already home to two power stations - one which has been decommissioned and one still in use.

People living in nearby villages say a third plant would push local infrastructure over the edge.

Up to 1,500 lorries a day are expected to head to and from the construction site if it goes ahead, with nearly 2,500 workers to be housed locally.

EDF's latest consultation has made changes to how it plans to get workers and materials in and out of SIzewell, including a bypass for Theberton village and a possible link-road to connect the site to the A12.

But campaigners - who have been opposing the proposals for many years - remain unconvinced.

Consultation events will take place across Suffolk over the next 12 weeks Credit: ITV News Anglia.

"EDF’s Stage 3 proposals show that the company hasn’t listened either to us, the county council or our MP about its accommodation strategy, and ignored the opportunity for dispersal and legacy housing.

"We are outraged at the creation of a new temporary town – with only very minor adjustments – for 2,400 workers at Eastbridge, which we believe will exacerbate the threats to Minsmere, a national treasure.

"With EDF in such a rush to get on with this project, and so desperate to save money by using the supply chain from Hinkley Point, it seems even less likely that the predicted benefits to East Suffolk will outweigh the costs and impacts.”

– Alison Downes, Co Chair of Theberton and Eastbridge Action on Sizewell

EDF Energy told ITV News Anglia it believed it had listened to the feedback it had received previously and would take into account views given during this latest consultation.

"We've got a great opportunity here. Both of the options we're putting forward would bypass Theberton - either a mini bypass or the new link road and that will take a substantial amount of traffic not only from Theberton and Eastbridge, and Middleton Moor, but also from Yoxford as well, so it's a real win from our perspective."

– Jim Crawford, Project Development Director for Sizewell C

Jim Crawford, project development director for Sizewell C, admitted there would be some impact on Minsmere but said EDF intended to help mitigate that.

The stage three consultation runs for 12 weeks until March 29.

Sizewell C timeline:

  • Talk of a third power station at Sizewell began more than 30 years ago
  • EDF launched its first public consultation back in November 2012
  • This third consultation will run for 12 weeks, until March 29th
  • A planning application could be submitted next year but EDF will then have to wait for approval from the planning inspectorate followed by the government
  • EDF hopes it can begin construction in 2022
  • That is likely to take around 10 years to complete