Welcome to our second update during the Stage 4 consultation for EDF's Sizewell C (SZC) proposed dual reactor development.

EDF have said that their Stage 4 consultation is in response to requests from local organisations and consultees for a further consultation and have presented this as their response.

 Let us be quite clear, local organisations and statutory consultees expressed a deep concern about the lack of preliminary environmental information on a whole range of subjects and this consultation stage does not address any of those concerns

The Environment Agency’s (EA) response expresses questions in such a way as to question what EDF have been doing for the last seven years as the information they are expecting to have seen in these consultations, and in conversations “behind closed doors”, are still not revealing the level of detail they would expect to have seen.

As EDF have admitted that the jetty was likely to cause a reduction in coastal sediment and gravel transport to the south of the Sizewell frontage, perhaps it is time they now woke up to what appears to be a difference of opinion between Sizewell B’s management (SZB) and SZC organisation about where the most severe risk of coastal breach is likely to occur.

MLSG and others have been saying for some time that we believe that the greatest risk occurs at the tank traps right at the current position of the northern mound where the proposed beach landing facility (BLF) is planned to be created and behind which will be the SSSI crossing using an earth bank causeway and culvert. Our concern is because it is clearly the low point of the sacrificial dune system compared to the dunes both north and south of this point.

SZC have said in their Stage 3 consultation documents that the greatest risk is several hundred metres north of the tank traps area and modelled a breach that proceeded directly west into the southern Minsmere Levels, even though their own flood risk assessment maps clearly show that at this point the initial natural flow behind the sacrificial dune would be south towards the mound.

Based on a submission from SZB in support of the SZB Facilities Relocation planning application, it seems that they believe the most serious breach scenario occurs at the tank traps location not the position the SZC have modelled within their consultation documents.

You may say, “Well, so what?”

lready talked about the inadequacy of the current Hard Coastal Defence for SZC which terminates in their current diagrams 1 metre above ordnance datum (AOD), (Ordnance Datum is halfway between high and low tide);

An adequate coastal defence needs to terminate below mean low spring tide level to avoid being undermined by wave action

  • According to the original site survey done when Sizewell was nominated as a potential site for a new nuclear reactor, mean low spring tide falls 2.5 metres below AOD
  • The defence shown in Stage 3 documents is currently at least 3.5 metres short of its target
  • This defence wraps around the new northern end of the SZC site and BLF but will not extend to defending the proposed causeway/culvert crossing of the Leiston drain out of Sizewell Marsh.
  • No modelling has been done which looks at the combination of breaches, the interaction with the low-lying areas detailed in the flood maps and the flow of the Leiston Drain which then goes north to the Minsmere Sluice
  • Any breach of the coast here is not going to be “conventional and could result in scouring at the northern end of the site, severe disruption of the functioning of the Leiston Drain and consequently the Minsmere Sluice
  • Scouring in this area will adversely affect the causeway base especially if  the breach becomes a permanent feature
  • The EA and others in their Stage 3 responses have questioned the use of a causeway rather than a bridge

It is acknowledged that Sizewell Marsh behind the SZB platform has become permanently wetter following the SZB construction, a situation which persists to this day. This leaves us with great concerns over the impacts of the platform and causeway on Sizewell Marsh both directly behind the new platform and behind the causeway.

We and the EA are also concerned with SZC’s understanding of the general hydrological effects of the construction site, dewatering of the platform during construction and potential pollution risks associated with back-filling the borrow pits with unwanted clay, peat and other materials from platform excavations.

John Rea Price and others have had letters in the East Anglian Daily Times regarding the sourcing of water for both the construction and operational phases of the new site. Nothing is said in the consultation documents and the EA has expressed similar concerns with this lack of detail.  

So, come to the joint TEAGS and Parish Council public meeting at Theberton Church on September 14th, 10:00 – 12:00, where along with Theberton and Eastbridge Parish Council we will be discussing the Stage 4 Consultation and will also have a guest speaker from Hinkley Point to give us his view of EDF’s transition from consultation to reality in the west country.