29 Oct 12

EDF Energy provides parish and town council support for Sizewell C proposals

EDF Energy and Suffolk County and Suffolk Coastal District Councils today agreed proposals which would provide assistance to local parish and town councils in the area around Sizewell to make sure they can make themselves heard effectively during the forthcoming public consultation on Sizewell C.

The local authorities recently responded to the Statement of Community Consultation - in which EDF Energy laid out its plans to consult with the public on the proposal to build a new nuclear power station at Sizewell.

EDF Energy is currently considering their feedback and will launch the first stage of its public consultation in November. And key to ensuring that the consultation is effective is ensuring that the local parish and town councils have the right resources available to make their voices heard.

Under the proposals discussed, EDF Energy and the local authorities will work together to jointly recruit an independent consultant to assist the parishes, on a temporary contract for the duration of the Stage 1 consultation. The role will be funded through the Planning Performance Agreement (PPA). The consultant will be wholly independent of both EDF Energy and the local authorities. They will work exclusively for the town and parish councils, assisting them in drafting their responses to the consultation.

Tom McGarry, Communications Manager for Sizewell C, said: "Over the last two years, we have met with a lot of the chairmen and clerks of local parishes. Many of them raised concerns to us about their capacity to respond to a consultation on a project of this scale and indicated that they may require additional resources. Many also alerted the district and county councillors on the Joint Local Authorities Group, who have supported their request. We plan to work with the local authorities and cover the costs of a consultant, independent of both the local authorities and EDF Energy, who would support the town and parish councils in drafting their responses to the initial proposals and options we will be consulting on next month. ”

Mr McGarry also stated that a number of public exhibitions will be taking place in the local area and parish councils will also be offered presentations from EDF Energy on their proposals.

"Unlike standard planning applications where the local councils are responsible for consulting the public, for major projects like Sizewell C it is the applicant’s responsibility, in this case EDF Energy, to consult on its proposals and we hope that this additional support will enable the town and parish councils to play an active role in the consultation," said Mr McGarry.

Guy McGregor, Chair of the Joint Local Authorities Group said: “We welcome EDF’s decision to agree to our request for funding to provide the services of an independent consultant who will assist Town and Parish Councils in their important duty of responding to the application to build a new nuclear power station at Sizewell. This was something which was an important issue for many of those town and parish councils that attended our special information session at Snape Maltings earlier this year. We had asked EDF to agree this support as we recognised that the scale and complexity of the proposed Sizewell C application."