Suffolk MP criticises Sizewell C plans

Dr Dan Poulter has expressed his opposition to plans for a new nuclear power plant on the Suffolk coast at Sizewell

The MP is the first of the county's MPs to publicly voice his objections saying he has concerns over adequate infrastructure provision, environmental impacts and the involvement of Chinese state-owned developers.

"EDF have failed to properly engage with legitimate construction concerns," the MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich said.

"We've seen very little consideration given to what additional infrastructure there will be in terms of road and rail to accommodate that very long-lasting construction project that will last 10 years."

Dr Poulter says he has concerns over infrastructure, environmental impact and Chinese involvement Credit: Dan Poulter

EDF say they will move 40% of construction materials via sea and rail.

They have outlined plans for a short by-pass on the A12 at Stratford St Andrew and Farnham and a link road from the A12 to the proposed 630-acre construction site.

Plans also include a freight-management facility; two park-and-ride sites accommodating 2,500 cars; a 2,400 bed campus and a caravan site with 400 pitches to house workers during construction.

Dr Poulter is worried Sizewell C will damage the wildlife and important habitats around the area Credit: ITV Anglia

Dr Poulter says he believes the UK does need nuclear power as part of an 'energy mix' with renewable resources to reduce carbon emissions and fight climate change, but says he has significant environmental concerns.

"It's a beautiful stretch of the Suffolk coast and one that we should be looking to enhance. I'm concerned Sizewell C will damage some very important habitats, which is also important for the tourism offer in Eastern Suffolk."

EDF says Sizewell C will generate low-carbon electricity for 6 millions homes and will operate for 60 years, saving 9 million tonnes of CO2 every year. They say the site will provide local jobs, training and education benefits.

EDF say Sizewell C will offer jobs and education benefits Credit: ITV Anglia

Dr Poulter is also worried about the involvement of the Chinese state-owned developer - Chinese General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN).

"We know there are concerns about how the Chinese have covered up some of the early stages of the Covid outbreak and we also know there are concerns about their involvement in other parts of our infrastructure, for example 5G. And that's something we need to look at very seriously about whether we want the Chinese state involved in big energy projects like Sizewell," he said.

A public consultation has started today on the £20billion project. People can view the plans online or book an appointment to view them on a mobile library bus, which will tour the area over the next few weeks.

But Dr Poulter says the public consultation should have been delayed in light of the current pandemic.

"Rolling through and pushing through an important decision about Sizewell at a time when it's difficult for many communities to properly engage with the consultation process is the wrong thing to do," he explained. "This could easily have been put back by six months or more to allow additional engagement with Suffolk County Council who had some very real concerns about the proposals. But EDF have chosen to bulldoze ahead and that's something that is very unhelpful".

You can register your views and view the plans here.