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PM’s ‘ten point plan’ lacks radicalism but leaves Sizewell C’s future in the balance

19 Nov PM’s ‘ten point plan’ lacks radicalism but leaves Sizewell C’s future in the balance

The Prime Minister’s statement yesterday in which he expressed support for ‘large and small scale nuclear plant’ was roundly condemned today by Together Against Sizewell C (TASC) as ‘lacking imagination, ambition or vision.’ TASC called for a programme which commits to at least 80% power generated by renewables by 2030, mandatory solar panels on new homes and buildings, a comprehensive programme for retrofitting of buildings to make them more energy efficient, a scrapping of the National Grid and a more radical shake up of the way we generate and distribute electricity. The PM needs to acknowledge that to proceed with Sizewell C will devastate Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB and its many national and international designated sites including RSPB Minsmere, which conflicts with his ninth point “protecting and restoring our natural environment.”

Responding to the statement today, TASC Chairperson and Deputy Chair of the Sizewell Stakeholder Group, Pete Wilkinson, said, ‘Whatever you were hoping for in the statement, it’s likely that you’ll be disappointed. The Tory government has been in labour for years and has produced a mouse. An opportunity to show vision, imagination and to lay the groundwork for how it sees the ‘build back better’ programme unfold has been squandered.

‘Large-scale nuclear can only mean Sizewell, Bradwell and possibly a revived interest in Wylfa, all of which, as Treasury knows only too well, will need funding from sources other than EdF which is hugely in debt and has admitted it does not have the funds to complete a £20bn Sizewell project.

‘Support for small modular reactors (SMRs) offers a handout to Rolls Royce for the development of reactors which are untried, unlicenced and which will require complicated planning approvals if they are to be used close to centres of population to make use of their district heating potential from waste heat. It’s unlikely that communities will accept the generation of nuclear waste and live with the risk of a nuclear accident on a ‘local’ basis. SMRs are yet another attempt to throw a lifeline to the failing nuclear industry at the public’s expense and represent another nuclear expensive punt more in hope than expectation.

‘We are pleased that, despite heavy lobbying by EDF and the nuclear industry cheerleaders, Sizewell C has not been given the green light but we are mindful of the fact that the government is yet to publish its energy White Paper. We call on the government to reject the nuclear option in that paper and to recognise that nuclear’s climate change credentials have time and again been roundly demonstrated to be greatly overstated. Even Secretaries of State continue to claim it is a ‘zero carbon’ source of electricity, which it is not.’

Joan Girling, one of TASC’s founders and victim of the consequences of building Sizewell C, should it ever go ahead, said today, ‘Tens of thousands of ordinary Suffolk residents will be displaced, disturbed and inconvenienced by this monstrous plant for more than a decade. Some will lose their homes. We will all suffer from traffic congestion, light, noise, dust pollution and the degradation of our precious east coast environment. We can only appeal to the planning inspector to throw out the EDF application which is clearly incompatible with the site at Sizewell, but more importantly right now, we appeal directly to our county councillors to do their duty and make their opposition to Sizewell C more than a concern about benefits versus costs: EDF cannot hide the fact that the development will cripple this county and its tourism industry and leave it, after twelve years of road chaos and industrial invasion, an altered and diminished county, a shadow of its former self. Councillors at all levels, environment groups, whole communities must now tell government ‘no to Sizewell, yes to renewables, decentralisation, energy efficiency, energy storage and the tens of thousands of jobs a renewables industry will create.’

TASC calls on all locally based organisations, businesses, councillors and individuals to unite in the fight to oppose EdF’s plans for Sizewell C.