This is the last day to put in a response to EDF’s Sizewell C Stage 1 Consultation. The consultation doesn’t allow for any debate on whether we should have a new Nuclear power station at Sizewell. It deals solely with the practicalities of Sizewell C’s construction and its impact on those of us who live in its path.
And there will be an impact, no two ways about it. Currently it looks like being an impact with very little benefit to us residents of Suffolk Coastal.
Particularly worrying for Woodbridge residents would be the impact of a works Park & Ride and Lorry Park at Woods Lane. I’ve therefore sent EDF this response on behalf of all those who have raised concerns with me:
Re: SIZEWELL C Stage 1 CONSULTATION
In responding to this consultation, I am writing as elected County Councillor for Woodbridge to raise concerns specific to my division. I am also responding more generally as Suffolk Lib Dem spokesman for Transport. I am restricting my comments to the period of construction as it is the impact of this that is specifically being consulted upon.
Overall These plans offer only the most cursory and non-holistic reference to the heritage nature of the Suffolk coastal landscape – and to the impact that the lengthy period of construction will have on both the landscape and the lifestyle that residents currently enjoy.
The benefits of Sizewell C will be to the country as a whole. It would seem inappropriate that the impact should be felt so disproportionately by the 0.2% of the population (124,000 people) who make up the population of Suffolk Coastal. The question that comes to mind (in the vernacular) is, “What’s in it for us?”
Transport At its peak the construction workforce is expected to be 5600 people, 34% of whom will commute. This will put nearly 2,000 more daily commuters on the overcrowded A12. Although much freight will be by rail/sea , EDF currently forecasts 100-300 more HGV deliveries (I read this as 200-600 HGV journeys) daily on the A12 in the years of peak construction. EDF would prefer to manage this via a lorry park at the Southern P&R.
Commuter traffic EDF claims that the construction of North and South Park & Rides could ‘significantly reduce the amount of commuter traffic on local roads’ during the peak years of construction. This is not strictly accurate: the best they are designed for is to ameliorate some of the excess that the construction of SizewellC will put upon our roads! There is no reference in the consultation to these P&Rs serving our local commuters.
And even within this limited definition of a ‘significant reduction’, the Park & Rides – wherever they are placed – will not ameliorate the increased levels of traffic arriving and departing from them.
In the case of Woodbridge, the proposed Southern P&R option C is at the already busy roundabout at the A1152/A12 junction, north of the town. It would therefore not ameliorate the increased levels of traffic that would need to pass Woodbridge. At the same time a P&R there would add considerably to the congestion, pollution and rat-running that are already a problem here as traffic seeks to avoid the bottle-neck at the A1152/A12 junction.
Although the Southern P&R option C would be on the A12, it would have a significant impact on Woodbridge residents in terms of increased noise, light and environmental pollution – particularly for those living in the Farlingaye ward .
It would also have an adverse impact on the 2000-odd students who attend Woodbridge’s Farlingaye High School. With a catchment area of 400sqm of Suffolk Coastal, and school bus access directly from the A12 and close to the A1152 junction, congestion at peak times is likely to conflict with school drop-off and delivery.
Lorry Park It is clear that EDF expects that most lorry traffic will be travelling northward to the site, past Woodbridge. A lorry park at Option C would exacerbate all the problems mentioned above, regarding commuter traffic. Woodbridge would suffer the double whammy of both the increase in HGV traffic and the lorry park while gaining no identified benefit from either.
Rail The A1152 crosses the East Suffolk line at an open crossing at Melton. A recent upgrade in the service to hourly passenger trains is already increasing congestion at this point (and rat-running through Woodbridge). Sizewell C development proposes to transport significant amounts of construction materials by train which is to be welcomed. However it will further exacerbate crossing delays and congestion and add to the potential problems of rat-running through Woodbridge.
Conclusion The proposals for building Sizewell C will have a great impact on the Suffolk Coastal region. This is because they are reliant on one single north/south axis in both road and rail provision. As yet it is far from clear that that EDF’s proposals fully recognize and allow for this impact: it seems instead as if the A12 is being seen as one giant corridor to Sizewell – with little concern for the communities that line it.
The strategic geographical position of Woodbridge, sandwiched between A12 and East Suffolk line, means that the impact might be felt most keenly by its 7500 inhabitants, particularly if the Southern P&R option C is decided upon. This would bring many disadvantages to our town without one single clear advantage. There is no incentive or reason for us to support it.
I would recommend that, before the next consultation, EDF look again – and more closely – at significant investment in Rail improvements. That is, not only at increasing enhancements to the East Suffolk line, but also at building bridges at rail crossings to allow more freight to be moved by rail while reducing the impact on road crossing users.
As regards siting the Lorry Parks and Park and Rides, EDF should be looking at areas where there would be minimal disruption to and impact on communities AND landscape. This clearly rules out the current proposals for Southern P&R option C at Woodbridge
Finally, I am deeply disappointed that it is proposed the residents of east Suffolk should bear such a high degree of inconvenience over so many years for the good of the nation at large without any substantive mention of a reasonable payback. We need bridges over the A12 where footpaths have been cut in two. We need bridges over the East Suffolk line, where commuters currently wait in traffic jams. We need decent public transport for huge swathes of the rural population. All these needs could be addressed with little extra cost if EDF considered them as part of a holistic plan for the development of Sizewell C.
I hope you will take these comments back and consider them seriously in your ongoing deliberations