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Government to scrutinise Sizewell, says Suffolk MP

The Government has vowed to ensure it considers whether Sizewell C mitigation measures are stringent enough, after a Suffolk MP called for adequate scrutiny of the plans.

Sources have indicated that the Government is close to giving the go ahead for the £20billion scheme on the Suffolk coast, prompting Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter to call on the Secretary of State for Business, Alok Sharma, to ensure developers EDF will be “held to account and will properly engage with the consultation to implement the changes needed to improve road and rail infrastructure”.

Raising the issue in Parliament on Tuesday morning, Dr Poulter said that while the development would bring benefits such as de-carbonisation and thousands of new jobs, it was “not a case of Sizewell C being built at any cost”.

Sizewell (43082960)
Sizewell (43082960)

He said: “Many people in Suffolk have concerns about the failure of EDF to properly engage with the consultation process.

“There are still over 50 outstanding concerns raised by Suffolk County Council.”

Nadhim Zahawi, minister for business and industry, said: “The message is quite clearly heard.

Dr Dan Poulter MP (43082989)
Dr Dan Poulter MP (43082989)

“The proposals for mitigating the potential impacts of Sizewell C will be absolutely considered during the examination of the development consent application when local people and local bodies like the county council will have the opportunity to make representations.

“The Secretary of State will then thoroughly examine and consider the recommendations from the planning inspector that will be submitted to him following that examination.

“I give him that guarantee.”

A 30-day consultation on the latest changes brought in by EDF will begin this month, before a public examination by the Planning Inspectorate next year. That report will be instrumental in a final decision, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Those changes include pledges for increased use of rail and sea deliveries for construction materials, rather than the road network; using more existing land at Sizewell A, which is being decommissioned, to reduce the use of AONB land; and creating a fen meadow to boost biodiversity.

Dr Poulter said he was reassured by the Government’s response which was “important for many of the parishes” and welcomed efforts by EDF to address some of the issues raised, but stressed that “more movement” was needed to resolve concerns over HGV traffic on the roads and rail infrastructure improvements.

He added: “We need to see a very clear commitment from EDF to stop construction vehicles from travelling on anything other than the major roads – that still remains a very big concern.”

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