Report from Leiston-cum-Sizewell Town Councillors’ Visit to Hinkley  - March 10th-12th 2020




The purpose of our visit was to find out more about the impact of constructing new nuclear reactors on the local community.


We had a number of expectations and preconceptions before the visit and were interested to see how these compared with what we found, how issues were being dealt with and anything that was different or unexpected. We expected the main impacts to be on traffic, housing, local workforce and the local economy particularly tourism. The scale of the development and the effect of the behaviour of a large temporary workforce on local communities were other concerns.




Hinkley Point C Visit 9.30 to 12.30 11/3/20

Cannington Court Visitor Centre

a) Presentation from EDF by Ross Edwards, Community Relations HPC (in post since

2009) & Tom McGarry, Head of Stakeholder Engagement SZC & Steve Henry, COMS Team. (EDF)

b)Site visit (SV) on Wednesday morning led by EDF Tour Guide.

Meeting from Somerset West and Taunton District Council 1.30pm – 4.30pm (SWTDC)

Members and officers were present including Robert Downes, Project Manage, Cllr Sue Goss, Vice Chairman of Stogursey Parish Council the nearest village to HPC. (The Parish of Stogursey includes the hamlets of Burton, Shurton, Stolford and Wick) and Alistair Higton, Service Manager, Highways.

8-9pm went to HPC to observe light pollution.


Meeting with Sedgemoor District Council 9.30am – 1.30pm 12/3/20 (SDC)

Meeting chaired by Cllr Gill Slocombe – Portfolio Holder for Inward Investment & Growth including HPC. Around the table District & Parish Councillors and Officers.

The following gave presentations:

Charlotte Rushmere, Lead Planner for HPC:-

Duncan Harvey, Housing Development Officer

Dave Baxter, Strategic Housing Manager

Caroline Derrick, Employment, Skills & Training Manager

Andy Reading, Transport Officer:- Sedgemoor Focus




In many ways Somerset and Suffolk are comparable counties – predominantly rural with important tourist industries and important sites such as Exmoor National Park and Minsmere bird reserve as well as other AONB and SSSI sites. SZC is planned to replicate HPC.


However, there are some significant differences:


·       no rail connection to HPC site – this wasn’t an option. They have a jetty and a wharf for deliveries.

·       four park & ride schemes – two in Suffolk

·       two campuses for HPC – on site for 510 workers, off site (approx 9 miles away) for 1,000 – one on site at SZC for 3500 workers and a nearby site for 400 caravans (calculated at 1.5 people per caravan)

·       freight management point on the M5 for Hinkley (2 planned but changed to 1) One planned at Seven Hills for SZC.

·       SZC site is smaller than HPC site

·       Different pattern of town and village sizes in immediate area

·       Sizewell has Off Shore Wind Farms and the associated large buildings and cable trench routes that Hinkley does not have.


We visited about two years before the peak workforce would be reached.



These were some observations that were made that provide context but are not impacts as such:

  • HPC is a very much larger site than SZC,  174 Hectares, reducing by 50 to 60% on completion (EDF, SWTDC, SDC)
  • Concrete production and containment vessel production also on site on site (SV)
  • Solar powered floodlighting for mobile lighting around site. (SV)
  • Scale and enormity of the site. “If Sizewell C is to be replicated from this site how many hectares will be required and will it fit in to the proposed area?” “The size of the construction site and lay down areas was vast and extremely busy with various vehicles travelling round the site and a skyline full of cranes. There was a large area of countryside around the site with no visible signs of any houses. A much larger footprint than envisaged for SZC.” (SV)

·        Saw the tallest crane in the world ‘Carl’ which following its work at Hinkley would be transported in a large number of containers to work at SZC. Saw ‘Carl’ in operation which usually only happens towards the end of the working day. (SV)

·        HPC site was efficient and flexible use of space. Impressive civil engineering project.

·        A number of Tier one workers from HPC would probably come across to SZC to make use of their expertise. (EDF)

·        Cannington Abbey EDF Training Centre National Nuclear College – superb facilities in 11thC former nunnery.  Renovated to very high standard.  Local College also providing training facilities in Cannington linked to EDF.SZC apprentices to be trained there.


·        At Hinkley there has been a focus on housing provision. At SZC focus on tourism e.g. having Suffolk Larder. EDF felt Suffolk tourism needed to grasp this opportunity. With 2,400 to 3,000 max workers on campus and a caravan site at SZC EDF saw this as an opportunity for the tourism sector. (EDF)

·        Route taken included through Cannington Village (pop 4500) and EDF-provided Cannington bypass. Village not appropriate for increased traffic i.e. HGV and other vehicles. Bypass essential. (SV)

·        Like SZ, Hinkley has an operational B and de-commissioned A (twin reactors).  “They look awful! SZ much more attractive.” (SV)

·        Difficulties in early stages between EDF and County Council in receiving and sharing information Somerset CC had early engagement with local councils, not evident in Suffolk with the exception of the Transport Group, but that was initiated by EDF. (SWTDC)

·        Be prepared for design changes and site layout changes e.g. height of spoil heaps, fish deterrent scheme, number of workers (SWTDC)

·        Suffolk County Council has engagement with Somerset County Council but there is little information about this in Suffolk.

·         ‘Were gains in the local communities, but with a lot of pain’ (SWTCC)

·        Lots of delays in everything SDC

·        “Don’t forget EDF’s main objective is to build a Power Station.” (SDC)






Impacts, Evidence and Mitigation









Large number needed for construction.

60% are local (within 90 min travel time)

Maximum workforce agreed at 5600 but could increase up to 10,000.

A third of local population are employed at Hinkley Point.


Local Labour Agreements were set up with District Council and with Trade Union representation to ensure as local a workforce as possible.

Skills shortage for EDF needs




EDF works in partnership with local colleges to set up training for jobs they need, New National Nuclear College set up at Cannington Court for needs of nuclear industry.

Engineering and Construction skills taught at local college.

Monitoring and Mitigation - Long Term Plan. Strong partnership created.

Need to backfill because higher wages at HPC attracts local workers from their existing jobs in care, tourism, retail etc. possibly into lower skilled jobs. Relatively full-employment makes these hard to fill.

Local skills shortage for these jobs

SV EDF SDC SWTDC Impressive employment projects in place with both district councils.

Working in partnerships. Local employment hubs and other employment schemes such as Gravity, schemes to support women and those who need a lot of support to access labour market e.g. because of disabilities such as autism.

At end of construction number of jobs falls dramatically


Long term planning with local companies and councils.




Influx of workers temporarily employed in construction.


Fewer workers chose to live in campus than EDF expected. Having workers living further away increases transport pressure. The campus on site looked big, but is significantly smaller than that planned for Eastbridge site.  Buildings are attractively clad and understood to provide university-student type accommodation.

Campus for workers – at HPC campus for 500 on site and for 1000 more at Bridgewater 9 miles away.

Pressure on private rented accommodation.


Some rents had doubled and local people could not afford new rents.

Housing Fund. SDC had £2.3 m grant to build 181 new houses including affordable homes and housing for young people.

Impact on owner occupiers.

Owners in Stogursey could not sell their houses.

Fewer workers bought houses than expected.


Property Price Support scheme. EDF bought up 11 houses in Sturton as villagers wished to leave but were unable to sell.

Impact on Buy to Rent – increase makes house purchase more difficult for local population.

Increase in buy-to-rent seen in local area contrary to national trend.



HMRC scrutinising financial side of this.

Increase in HMOs

Landlords can be less than responsible.



social effect of more transient population on communities. Houses tend to be less well kept and more cars put pressure on parking.

Landlord training.




Volume of due to freight.













Timing of building infrastructure.

Implementing schemes to mitigate could cause lengthy delays.











SWTDC Although we did not observe huge amounts of traffic except at about 5pm, it was reported to us that volume of traffic was a big issue for some local people.







Until jetty was completed, EDF had to increase lorry movements. SDC Road improvements themselves cause delays.



Originally two freight management facilities planned at both approach junctions from M5. Now only one resulting in extra miles on M5 for HGVs and only one route through Bridgewater.

Bypass of Cannington.  Other road improvements.

Impact Assessment Stage and Mitigation Strategy

Transport monitored on a GPS system by EDF so this makes sure routes are adhered to.

 HGVs set at 500 movements a day max. Includes return journey. Limit set at planning stage.

Transport Forum to monitor impact with parish representation.



Cannington bypass put in early and some of the other road improvements.

Road improvement such as bypass for Cannington (population 4500). Road widening.

 Managing process is key.

Freight management on M5 2-3 minute delay between each HGV.

Transport of large numbers of workers










‘Rat runs’ – white vans and other uncontrolled traffic use minor roads through villages to avoid congestion on main roads.




Fly Parking reported as largest cause of complaint and unexpected issue.

Car sharing not taken up as much as expected. Therefore higher volume of travel in cars not always to park and ride. Cannington Park and Ride neat but small. Big enough?

Near empty workers buses observed.

Sedgemoor do not monitor buses but rely on EDF data.


EDF cannot register every private vehicle and therefore cannot monitor. This leads to creation of rat runs and fly-parking which is also affected by accommodation strategy (HMOs, private renting)


Campus on site.

4 Park and Rides with target of 87% workers using buses (90% achieved)

Car sharing encouraged. Targets set but not being met.

Local people encouraged to cycle, walk etc.

Buses used off peak to provide free bus service to local villages such as Stogursey.










Wardens appointed by EDF. Repeated offenders lose site pass (and therefore employment)



Incident management fund part of S106 money

Road surfaces – HGVs damage the road surfaces of all routes in area, causing potholes.


Fund to give additional money to Highways for repairs. Survey of damage every two years and EDF asked to pay.

Footpaths, cycle paths, bridleways – closed or rendered unsafe by increased traffic.


£3 million pounds for walking and cycling to re-instate or create new paths. Need to encourage people to use alternatives to cars as means of travel to work. Money for campaign to achieve this




Light Pollution

Reported by Cllr Goss from Stogursey. She said no longer needed torches in village without street lighting and Exmoor National Park Dark Skies area was affected.  Observed at night visit. Most thought it not a big problem. May be more of a problem for wild life than humans.

Down shaders fitted.

Dust pollution

Reported by Cllr Goss and at SDC meeting.

Water sprinkled on site.

Vehicles washed before leaving site.

Window cleaning in local villages offered but then withdrawn.

Noise pollution

Reported by Cllr Goss who described constant background hum and times when particular work schedules resulted in noise above agreed levels.

Limits set at planning stage.


Complaints sometimes resulted in action.

Double glazing fitted in nearby villages. Ear plugs given to residents.

Quiet hours between 11pm and 7.30 am

Damage and disruption to wild life


Wild life does not always go where it is directed so further measure re badgers implemented.

Badger tunnels/sets created. Bat Bridge created.


Visual impact – spoil heaps, large construction site with cranes etc.


Saw spoil heaps currently at agreed 35m but EDF applied to raise them to 45m. Concern expressed at stability of heaps and visual impact. Cllr Goss says known locally as Southern Alps.

Observed tree and other planting already in progress.


Limits on height of spoil heaps

Planting on soil heaps.

Local nature reserves


Quantock Development and Landscape improvement scheme set up. Wild Life Trust offered course to re-skill workers e.g  chain saw certificates, hedge laying, coppicing.







Possible fall in visitor numbers due to impact of massive construction


Generally very small negative impact reported but councils stressed this may be because of the mitigating action they have taken. Kind of visitors may have changed.  Cllr Goss reported very local negative impact in holiday accommodation and camp-site being used by construction workers.

£2.2m fund from s106 money to support tourism

Set up Tourism Action Partnership

Advertising campaign launched to attract tourists to area.

Campsite issue dealt with by EDF

Supply Chain

Small local companies may be squeezed out of supply chain limiting economic benefits to local area.







May be need for local office and industrial premises particularly at technical stage of construction.


EDF start early with Supplier Registration Scheme. They are encouraging long term sustainable business models. Chamber of Commerce encouraging small businesses to apply either solely or in consortia. Some need support in bidding

Registration Scheme

S106 money used to provide grants up to £5000 to support local companies in bidding process.





Worker Behaviour

Concern about anti social behaviour expansion of night time economy etc



All reported that this was not proving to be the problem expected.

Code of Behaviour enforced.

Accommodation strategy and provision of leisure facilities.


Health Provision

Pressure on local health services


The on-site facility was taking up most of the demand. Unexpected impact was on local hospitals as workers requiring hospital care were not returning home as expected but using local provision.

Comprehensive health centre on site with most services needed – GP, physio, mental health services etc.

Contingency money to support local services if required for workers and their families.

Emergency Services


On site provision

Designated routes for emergency vehicles

Contingency funding available

Possible increase in crime


When asked about crime levels we were advised that it was difficult to get information on instances of crime. Police deal with this but no breakdowns as to whether local or HPC workers.

Monitoring required.

Community Cohesion

SWTC some reports of communities badly affected as long term residents moved away.

Community Funds available.

Funding Available for Mitigation Schemes


£91 m Section 106 money to County Council (£2.2m of which to Tourism)

£7.2m Community Impact Mitigation Fund

£12.8m HPC Community Fund

Hostility Support Scheme and Voluntary Mitigation – may have been extra money?

Stogursey (nearest village) received £500,000 used for leisure in the community. Minehead (21 miles away) received money for refurbishing esplanade.

Legacy Benefits

·       Cannington Abbey EDF Training centre – superb facilities in 11thC former nunnery.  Renovated to very high standard.  Local College also providing training facilities in Cannington linked to EDF.SZC apprentices to be trained there.

·       New local Housing

·       Cannington Bypass

·       Enhancements of Minehead Esplanade (Tourist support)

·       Village Hall



Lessons and Action Points


The main advice that came from all three sources was that it was important to engage with EDF, county and district council to discuss expected impacts and ways to mitigate them from the earliest stage. Furthermore, both councils advised us to look at the Oxford Brookes Longitudinal Study of impacts of HPC so far and to make sure that ways to monitor impacts, who would collect which data and clear definitions and lines of responsibility were built in to the planning process at the DCO stage.


A number of negative impacts with the proposed development at the Sizewell site, were identified by the Leiston Town Council during the consultation process and included in the Council’s response, including the enormity and scale of the project and this was confirmed by the visit. Coupled with the combined  effects of the proposed Wind Farms and Continental Interconnectors from Belgium,  this  will put considerable strain on our communities around Leiston-cum Sizewell should they all proceed. Therefore, the proposed site for Sizewell C is unsuitable. Nevertheless, to protect our community as much as possible if Sizewell C is built, we believe the following points are crucial:



a.    Targets and monitoring procedures and responsibilities MUST be included in DCO.  These must include clear definitions, details about data to be collected and who will monitor. Data to be independent as far as possible. Data collected by local people to be considered. Biophysical data to be collected as discussed in Oxford Brookes Longitudinal Study.  All forums used for monitoring must include representation at parish and town council level. Requirement for targets and associated monitoring (eg for traffic levels, noise etc) ESSENTIAL to be included in DCO. Traffic monitoring by the Traffic Review Group particularly important. If it is not included then no means of controlling.  If not included by SCC or ESC, then there’s a possible opportunity to include during Examination of DCO – Town Clerk to be briefed.

b.    Infrastructure – roads, park and ride, lorry management facilities, railway line and railhead etc – MUST be completed before main construction begins.  Network Rail must be required to complete their actions in time to enable EDF to undertake their rail requirements.  If possible, this should be part of the DCO so that EDF cannot proceed otherwise.

c.    How do we ensure no additional “land grab” to accommodate actual requirements?

d.    How do we ensure allocation of funds to benefit local communities not projects for distant less-affected communities?

e.    Early identification of potential replacement workforces and means and facilities to re-train.  Suffolk College on the Coast has an important role here and needs to be engaged early.  Travel to Ipswich / Lowestoft is not relevant to low-paid or additional needs people.

f.     All changes made by EDF to their plans must be properly scrutinised by appropriate authorities.

g.    If Sizewell C goes ahead, Suffolk will need at least comparable mitigation funds and schemes as Somerset.

h.    Leiston-cum-Sizewell Town Council (and other local parishes) need dialogue as soon as possible with district and county councils to ensure that local communities who face the worst negative impacts are consulted and included in mitigation schemes and receive a fair share of any funding.

i.     Communication between councils and EDF should be transparent.

j.     An on-going dialogue with Somerset should be maintained.


Also we should:

·       find out what EDF plans in the way of health provision and emergency provision on site.

·       alert other local parishes to need to talk to ES and SCC