Shame Halesworth solar park couldn't be 'mitigated'

Shame about the solar park near Halesworth, a loss to renewable energy. But interesting to note that local planners and politicians have placed such a high value on the beautiful Suffolk landscape and harm to the surrounding countryside (EADT 21st October). Why no mention of ‘mitigations’, the national buzzword of government policy to push through really big infrastructure projects, and the excuse being given, so far, by local decision makers about the massive Sizewell C & D project. Here, they claim, their hands are tied by special narrow, national planning rules, so mitigation has to be the order of the day.

So somehow the landscape and tourism and its jobs, and as many as 30 protected wildlife and nature areas and all of the communities on the 10 year building materials routes don’t seem to warrant similar protection for their landscape and Suffolk environment values .  Why have national organisations supposed to protect nature and birds and rare species and coastal habitats being going down the mitigation road too ?  Why is the joint Suffolk County and Suffolk Coastal Council Group in confidential talks with EdF about mitigations, instead of defending Suffolk’s essential identity and natural assets. Why does Suffolk’s much promoted Nature Strategy not mention Sizewell at all, and only plan detailed work on nature assets for 2016, and on renewable energy for 2018 when EdF hopes it will already have a green light for its non renewable project ?

They argue that their hands are tied by government. That’s wrong: only the national planning inspectors’ hands are thought to be tied, but that's not true either. They and EdF have to legally consider alternatives for every aspect of the project if Sizewell proves not suitable on proper planning and environmental and risk grounds. And other national sites are available.

What about mitigation itself ?  Ask the wildlife and protected beauty spots. How can they be moved sustainably, without risk. Can famous Minsmere, icon of Areas  of Outstanding Natural Beauty, according to the AA’s Heritage landscapes, be mitigated and remain an honest icon ? Can a huge permanent bridge and vast pier in the sea to carry 140 tonnes nuclear fuel loads be mitigated ? How can a 10 year traffic nightmare be mitigated, or a fall in house prices along miles and miles of road ?

The answer is that mitigation for Suffolk would be an unmitigated disaster - that’s why some of us who have thought things through say overall ‘No’ to Sizwell C & D.

Sizewell green light or hurdle marathon?

Not many champagne corks popping in Westminster or Paris after the ‘Green light’ for British nuclear projects from Brussels.

Until the full report is released in a few weeks time, what we now know is that Hinkley (and therefore Sizewell) would cost £24 billion, not £14bn each, while the strike price stays at £92. There is a new profit share deal, not for 35, but 60 years. Associated development costs are now reckoned at as much as another £10bin.

And, from contacts who have seen the full report from Brussels, we learn each site will have to make a separate application to Brussels. The expected European Court case triggered by Austria (they have problems with aged Swiss reactors) could take many months and there are already 5 energy cases to be decided involving similar issues. The old Euratom treaty also figures, in conflict with the newer treaties, so that’s more grist to the European Court’s mill.

Whatever happens, its means British electricity bills would be very high to pay for it all, because the massive subsidy would come from a levy on household bills, not the Government itself.. Except, of course, for those of us who would go none-nuclear for our fuel bills and refuse to pay any nuclear levy.

None of this changes the view that Suffolk would be a very bad place for a massive new nuclear investment. The campaign group TASC i(Together Against Sizewell C) is launching a recruitment campaign, with a new leaflet drawing together its arguments against Sizewell C & D.

What is clear is that while one hurdle has been crossed for Sizewell, this will be a veritable hurdle marathon !

R. Scott


Dear Sir

A new focus

The UK Government correctly warns us that the situation in The Middle East significantly increases the risk of terrorist action in this country.  No doubt this risk will escalate if the UK becomes more actively involved in any of the turbulent areas.  A very difficult and dangerous situation.  Time for some constructive thinking then, to ensure that the potential terrorist risk can be reduced. One key requirement is to ensure no attractive and easy targets.  Our security specialists must surely be advising that our fuel and power supplies must not be concentrated in large units, but distributed in different areas.

The existing Sizewell B nuclear reactor and power station already produces enough electrical power for a large area of East Anglia, it makes no sense to massively increase the power supply, for a much larger area of the country, by building Sizewell C on the same site.  The concentration of electric power coming from one massively increased supply hub could make that site high on the list of terrorist’s disruptive targets.  I will ignore all the other excellent reasons of economics, environment and ecology that makes building Sizewell C such a bad idea, this new concern heads my list, and I hope it finds a similar position in our politicians’ thoughts.


An edited version of the following letter was published in the Telegraph on 3/9/14

Dear Editor,

Now that the proposal to build an airport in the Thames Estuary has been dropped, well almost dropped, why not build a 5 GWe nuclear power station there? London needs electricity and it would make much more sense to generate it there than a 100 miles away on the Suffolk coast. It would give a more secure supply and virtually eliminate transmission losses. No safety worries, EDF  and the ONR are planning to reduce the emergency zone round Sizewell B to a couple of hundred yards and not have any building restrictions in the area beyond. So if its safe there it would be safe for London

Yours sincerely

Barrie Skelcher,



A letter to the Journal in response to A Pro Sizewell C letter by Mr Bob Howitt: 26/03/14

Bob Howitt suggests that children visiting Sizewell might wonder about the energy it may provide during their lifetime. (Journal, March 14th). I think they may ponder on the waste it will provide for the lifetime of their children, grandchildren and for generations to come . Mr Howitt thinks that nuclear power sites clean up rather nicely (Fukushima? Chernobyl?) - How would he know, given that no UK nuclear power station has ever been successfully decommissioned. Sizewell A was supposed to be returned to a greenfield site within 25-30 years of it ceasing to operate, but In 2009 decommissioning was delayed by 75 years 1 because of problems dealing with the waste at the reprocessing plant at Sellafield in Cumbria .