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1 May 2012, 05:00
A conference is being held later this month to bring together all communities and other key local groups that could be affected by the proposals for a third power station at Sizewell.
Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council are hosting the event on Monday 28th May which will give all those invited the chance to discuss what are the key issues facing their communities. They will also be able to find out first hand exactly what the current situation is regarding the proposed Sizewell C. County Councillor Guy McGregor, chair of the Joint Local Authorities Group (JLAG) which is organising the event, said:
"There is a lot of speculation about Sizewell C and its potential impact on east Suffolk. This event will be the first opportunity to bring together all the relevant town and parish councils, business and education leaders, as well as community groups, to discuss and agree what they see as the important areas that need to be addressed. Our two councils are already working together to mitigate the possible impacts on our communities due to any new Sizewell development while also maximising the potential benefits, whether they be through road or rail improvements or the new jobs that would be on offer. The conference will be a chance to understand the planning process and for local people to have their say on the key issues."
Representatives of the developer of the proposed project, EDF Energy, will be among the speakers at the conference, giving people a forum to hear directly from them what is being suggested and raise any questions directly. The JLAG is made up of councillors and officers from the two councils and has been set up to develop a considered and consistent approach to any Sizewell C development.
"Neither council has the final say regarding whether planning permission is given to Sizewell C. That decision has been taken out of local hands and will ultimately rest with the Government, but we recognise that we both have an important role to safeguard the interests of our communities," said Councillor Andy Smith, deputy leader of Suffolk Coastal District Council and vice-chair of the JLAG.
"We are looking to ensure that pressures from the development, particularly construction, are mitigated to the very best degree possible, and that the long term benefits to east Suffolk are maximised, including local community-level projects to compensate for the unavoidable disturbance which will be part of such a major project. It is a tough task to achieve that balance, but both councils are committed to working together to get the right result for our communities. This conference is an important first step in ensuring they are fully involved in the long process facing us and are ready to play their full part and that their concerns are being addressed," added Councillor Smith.
The two councils have been working together for several years preparing for a possible planning application for Sizewell C. Suffolk Coastal has had a members task group for over two years, the JLAG group has been recently set up comprising councillors and officers from both councils directing the policy and tactics for negotiations with EDF and thereafter for input to the Government on the actual planning application. This application will be decided by the Government, not the local councils.