5:58 PM March 22, 2022
10:14 PM March 22, 2022
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has voiced his hopes of increasing the amount of UK electricity generated by nuclear power – a potential boost for Sizewell C’s proposals, but alarming those against the plans.
The Prime Minister met nuclear industry bosses on Monday to discuss his aim to increase the amount of electricity produced by nuclear power to 25% of total output in the UK.
Currently, the country generates around 16% of its electricity from nuclear power and the government is considering taking a stake in a development company to help deliver the Sizewell C project with power company EDF sharing the costs.
Further down the line, private sector investors, such as insurers, could be incentivized to invest, thereby reducing government taxpayer contributions and EDF funding.
However, Alison Downes, spokesperson for campaign group Stop Sizewell C, said she was ‘disturbed’ by the speed-up proposal, saying local people could be deprived of the ability to oppose new nuclear power plants , because “planning and bureaucracy” have been avoided.
She added: ‘We are also concerned that industry bosses have complained that the Environment Agency and the Marine Management Organization are holding them back.
“The idea that local people might lose their ability to oppose projects is totally undemocratic and careful scrutiny by government agencies is essential to ensure essential safeguards such as a non-flooded site.
“If Sizewell C were to be completed by 2035, it would have taken more than 22 years of work. The eight years of consultation and planning were due to the lack of commitment from EDF which repeatedly interrupted work on the project.
‘Even so, the result was an incomplete application that underwent 22 edits during formal review and the Secretary of State is still asking key questions now.’
However, a spokesperson for Sizewell C said: “Local communities have contributed to Sizewell C’s plans throughout the consultation period.
“Changes have been made, such as an increase in proposals for deliveries by sea and rail and a reduction in the number of heavy goods vehicles on the roads, as a direct result of feedback from the public consultation.
“We are committed to ensuring that the benefits of Sizewell C outweigh the impacts during the construction period. These benefits will include thousands of well-paying local jobs, contracts for local businesses, and increased training and skills for local communities.
On Monday, Mr Johnson also met Sizewell B’s apprentice Poppy Able, 21, from Framlingham.
The Thomas Mills High School alum is completing a graduate apprenticeship in the engineering department.