Update on status of ABA representation to planning inspectorate
The Planning Inspectorate is currently listening to, and taking evidence from, Interested Parties. We have now been granted Interested Party status, which means that we can raise member concerns about the plans with the Planning Inspectorate. This can be in either written form or in person.
Before we submit any concerns we need to know that the membership supports this approach via an online vote. Before you vote you may like to reflect on what EDF say about the impact that Sizewell will have locally and what campaigners have to say. The issue is huge and complex and the decision is not yet made so we ask that you consider the options carefully.
The two main areas for information are:
From an ABA member’s point of view there are some key areas for consideration:
Why people come here
The East Suffolk Tourism strategy of 2017 stated that visitors are attracted by the character, culture, food, clean beaches and spectacular coastline, the outstanding countryside and wildlife. The Energy Coast report of September 2019 found that 72% of visitors came to the area to experience its nature and in 84% of respondents it would be the main reason for visiting in the future. Our own survey of members supports these studies by ranking Beach & Festivals/Events (jointly), High Street and Nature as our top reasons for visiting Aldeburgh.
What could deter visitors
EDF’s revised proposals involve transporting a greater proportion of materials by rail and sea, however HGV and worker movements are inevitable. In its evidence to the Planning Inspectorate in May Aldeburgh Society expressed concern over “the very large volumes of construction materials required for a project of this size, which would have to be delivered over a rural roads system some distance away from major traffic routes …. These extensive goods movements would inevitably impact upon prospective visitors, who would cease to see Aldeburgh as a desirable destination.”
The second issue for visitors would be potential loss of tranquillity and walking opportunities. Such a massive construction project cannot avoid significant levels of air, light and noise pollution and impact on visitors who come here for walking, cycling and the biodiversity. EDF say ‘Sizewell C will not be built at the expense of the environment’ but the RSPB say ‘The proposed Sizewell C nuclear power plant development has the potential to have a major impact on one of the most wildlife-rich areas of the UK.’
Impact on the local Economy
The importance of tourism to the local economy is reflected in the data (from The Suffolk Observatory, which works in partnership with the councils and Suffolk Constabulary) which shows that East Suffolk's GDP is clearly dependant on small businesses servicing the strong tourism industry, if the demand for these services fall, the economic impact could be significant for our members.
A recent study states the value of the tourism industry in the AONB was £228M in 2019 supporting 5,056 jobs (Economic Impact of Tourism Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB – 2019: Destination Research).
EDF say that Sizewell C will create thousands of local jobs and apprenticeships but campaigners say that these will also be open to people from outside the immediate area (up to 90 minutes away), they also question whether the required skills will be available in the local area. Note that the construction teams that are currently working on Hinckley Point will relocate here.