4 February 2016
Continuing delays for Hinkley C in Somerset mean further delays for EDF’s Stage 2 consultation on Sizewell C on the Suffolk coast. This is expected to include long-awaited detailed modelling of the huge volume of construction traffic expected to pour through local communities. A formal start date for the consultation might be announced soon if Hinkley C finally gets the go-ahead at an annual meeting of the EDF board on February 16.
EDF’s First Stage Consultation included some initial estimates of construction traffic, and the numbers are staggering: up to 600 movements of heavy goods vehicles and 300 light goods vehicles every day for the 9-10 years of construction work. All of this traffic is expected to negotiate the B1122, a narrow rural road running from the A12 at Yoxford through the villages of Middleton Moor and Theberton.
A recent convoy of large low loaders delivering electrical equipment to Sizewell B provided a foretaste of the chaos likely to ensue if construction at the Sizewell C site gets under way. The B1122 is wholly unsuitable for the projected traffic load and the impact on local communities and the environment will be enormous.
Suffolk County Council has commissioned transport consultants to come up with proposals to mitigate the worst effects of construction traffic. One idea includes a roundabout at the junction of the A12 and B1122 and short bypasses on the B1122 to take traffic around Middleton Moor and Theberton. This scheme would cost in the region of £21 million.
Another proposal is for a completely new road (known as “D2”) leaving the A12 south of Saxmundham, part of which would follow the existing B1066. This scheme would cost an eye-watering £54 million. Either scheme would take up to two years to build.
Yet these road schemes will create just as many problems as they hope to solve. The consultants’ report predicts a large deterioration in air quality. Noise levels would be so high that acoustic barriers would need to be built. For the D2 route in particular, the destruction of local habitat would be beyond any mitigation measures.
New access roads to Sizewell should not be built because Sizewell C should not be built. Suffolk Coastal Green Party remains strongly opposed to further development of nuclear power at Sizewell. Nuclear power should have no place in a county that likes to style itself as “Green Suffolk”.
Suffolk Coastal Greens support a transfer of investment to zero-carbon renewable energy, putting locally-owned clean energy generation and supply at the heart of our energy system, and breaking the dominance of the Big Six energy suppliers. The off-shore North Sea wind farms of Greater Gabbard, Galloper and the recently announced Hornsea Project One show how wind energy can generate electricity at a fraction of the cost of Hinkley or Sizewell.
The Green Party of England and Wales wants to see nuclear power phased out in the UK. Only the Green Party is committed to securing the country’s economic, employment and energy security by focussing on home-grown renewables, smart distribution grids and reductions in demand.
See also: Our roads aren't up to Sizewell plan