The company behind Sizewell C in Suffolk has pledged to plough £250 million pounds into the local economy and environment.
It says the money will help mitigate the effects of constructing the huge new nuclear plant, but campaigners against the project have voiced their concerns.
The cash will be divided up in the following way.
Up to £100m for the environment made up of £78m for an environmental body and £22m for habitat creation and mitigation
£23m community fund administered by Suffolk Community Foundation
Up to £22m for employment and skills
Multimillion investment in improvements to Suffolk’s infrastructure
The confirmation of the money comes after the public examination of the Sizewell C project closed.
Both Suffolk County Council and East Suffolk Council have stated their position on the proposals and while there are still some issues to work on, agreement has been reached with the councils, emergency services and other recipients including the RSPB and National Trust on the associated funds the project will deliver locally.
The funding programme, known as the Deed of Obligation, has been agreed as part of the planning process to mitigate impacts and compensate for the construction and in some cases into the operational phases whilst ensuring legacy benefits for local communities for decades to come.
But the Green and Liberal Democrat group on Suffolk County Council have expressed what they call 'extreme concern' at the council's position.
The Group believe there has been a significant political underestimation of this project, and that the people of Suffolk are being sold short by the Administration’s inability to face the reality of the situation.
Cllr Annette Dunning (Green – Halesworth), Green, Liberal Democrat, and Independent Group Spokesperson for Achieving Net Zero Carbon said the economic viability of the project was not proven.
"The only way we can solve this is through higher energy prices, or more government grants. On top of the bail out to clean it up afterwards.”
Cllr Dunning said we needed to understand the disruption to the local communities until 2034, and the great impact on our beautiful Suffolk coastline.
As part of building Suffolk’s new power station a package of over £250m has now been allocated to key areas covering:
Employment and skills - £22m
Up to £22m has been allocated to a programme of work with Further Education colleges and training organisations, including bursaries for those struggling to access education and new centres of excellence to deliver the skills needed to work on Sizewell.
The local natural environment will also benefit from up to £22m through investment in projects that will mitigate the landscape impacts, whilst at the same time further increasing biodiversity on Suffolk’s heritage coast and the creation of habitat where wildlife can thrive. Sizewell C ecologists have already successfully created Aldhurst farm in Leiston along with other habitat creation in surrounding areas, which are now home to a range of wildlife enjoying lagoons and reed beds, lowland heath, heather, acid grassland and wet grassland which are characteristic of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths.
Separately, A further £78m has also been agreed for an independent Environmental Body to enhance the area’s rich landscape.
Community Fund - £23m
A special fund for community projects of £23m will be administered by Suffolk Community Foundation, the Suffolk local authorities, community representatives and Sizewell C to ensure that local villages and groups can access funds which will limit the impacts of construction but also enhance the environmental, social and economic wellbeing of East Suffolk
Sizewell C says the overall investment aimed at limiting impacts and benefitting the local community will exceed that committed to in the Deed of Obligation.
Alongside this, the Sizewell C Consortium, the group representing the 200 leading organisations bringing forward the construction of new nuclear power stations, has estimated the direct benefit of the building programme to the Suffolk economy will be £2bn and £4.5bn to the wider East of England region.
Humphrey Cadoux Hudson, Sizewell C Managing Director, said: “I am excited by the opportunities Sizewell C presents and I am determined that the local communities will benefit as much as possible from the opportunities presented by the project. Impacts of the construction phase will be minimised, and we will continue to work with local councils to deliver this. Sizewell C offers opportunities for all, the range of skills we need are diverse and we want a workforce that reflects society. With this funding package in place, we can ensure the project will help level up the county so that those most in need can access training to develop skills for rewarding local jobs and provide an incentive for people to live and work locally.”
The Planning Inspectorate now has three months to make a recommendation to the Secretary of State with a final planning decision expected to be published in April 2022.