The following is email correspondence with Councillor Steve Gallant, Leader of East Suffolk Council, regarding The Association’s concerns that the Sizewell C consultation with the public to be postponed until the COVID19 restrictions are lifted. A similar two-way exchange was had with Councillor Matthew Hicks, Leader of Suffolk County Council.
In addition, Suffolk County and East Suffolk Councils have issued joint statements echoing The Association’s concerns which can be seen at:-
Email from The Association to Councillor Steve Gallant, Leader of East Suffolk Council: Sent 24 June 2020
Dear Councillor Gallant
EDF’s application is to be considered.
Please can the actual consultation be delayed.
While the government yesterday announced coronavirus restrictions will be more relaxed from 4 July, the actual instructions as to how things will be done are still being written and not on the government website. So how can consultation begin to take place?
While people may be allowed in pubs, can people in groups of 20, 50, 100 meet in halls? – it just is not clear. When can public libraries be open and how many will be allowed in them at any one time – it could take a very long time given the queue to look at EDF papers. Some EDF papers should be huge – almost nothing has been given out in relation to the Environmental Impact Assessment since the second consultation, despite multiple comments then that what there was, was wholly inadequate.
Can the consultations be delayed until we know what can be done, what meetings can or cannot be arranged and more. And then arrangements framed to allow for as much interchange as possible but in reality consultation on line is a very poor substitute in a proper democracy. It would be best if consultations are simply postponed until face to face meetings are fully allowed and libraries are properly open.
On top of all this it is now only a month until August: consultations should not take place during August- it is a time when offices are run on a skeleton team who have to cover everything that is a normal task, and many are on leave with families so cannot abandon them to rush to meetings or spend hours on the internet. And many of the volunteer sector who strive to contribute to the sustained life of the community are heavily taken up with family, child and older people care, and visiting relatives. August should be deemed not to count it in any consultation period.
In January 2019 the Suffolk local councils organised incredibly valuable sessions with a wide variety of local interests covering different topics from transport to coastal processes and many more. I hope this can be done again but people need to be able to get together.
Alde and Ore Association
Reply from Councillor Steve Gallant; Sent: Thu, 25 Jun 2020
Dear Alison Andrews
Thank you for your email.
East Suffolk Council shares your concerns. We feel there is more for EDF to do in order to satisfy a range of outstanding questions and issues. We also feel strongly that local communities should be given the fullest opportunity to ask relevant questions and understand the plans for the site. We have made EDF aware of our concerns and if they decide to press ahead with the process, we will be asking them to commit to an extended 84 day consultation period at the very least.
If you have not already done so, you may wish to contact the Planning Inspectorate direct (firstname.lastname@example.org) and, if you have not done so already, I would encourage you to register as an ‘Interested Party’ in order to be kept up to date by the Planning Inspectorate on the process. All Sizewell C project updates will be available on the Planning Inspectorate website at https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/eastern/sizewell-c-new-nuclear-power-station/ and all documentation in relation to this project will be available on this page.
The Council will work closely with all parties to ensure that if this proposal were to go ahead, its impact on our area and its communities is at an acceptable level with the appropriate mitigation and compensation negotiated to offset adverse impacts. Myself, as Leader, along with my Cabinet colleagues, supported by the many officers involved on this project, will work tirelessly to this end.
I expect that you will make representations to the Planning Inspectorate at the appropriate time and I would be pleased to receive those too in order to enable my colleagues to understand your concerns in full.
Cllr Steve Gallant