Natural Beauty? Simon's Blog about the Sizewell C consultation
In the Suffolk and Essex we have two of England’s finest landscapes, the Dedham Vale and Suffolk Coast & Heaths Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. These outstanding landscapes have been nationally designated for their natural beauty.
That natural beauty and the special qualities of these two areas is difficult to define but many will recognise their outstanding qualities.
The natural beauty and special qualities of the areas has been defined and you will find the documents on our websites. These technical documents are important when proposals that may impact upon the area. In the Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, EDF Energy are currently consulting on proposals to build a new nuclear power station.
Many will argue to and fro about the cost, desirability and technology of this development, but what we can say for sure is that if Sizewell C does get built it will have an impact upon the nationally designated landscape. Once the land has been prepared, the construction phase is due to take 10-12 years and the construction site will effectively cut the AONB in half. The proposed Sizewell C, with its two reactor buildings, will be larger, in terms of height and area covered, than either the B or C stations.
The Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership, a grouping of 26 organisations, will respond to the consultation. It will consider how the proposals will impact upon the area’s natural beauty and special qualities. These characteristics are enjoyed by many and play an important part in the area’s economic well-being, reflected in a thriving tourist industry. However, we should also be mindful of the potential economic benefits the proposals could bring and the important contribution the station could make to the nation’s energy supply.
It will be an interesting discussion for the Partnership, but the primary purpose of the nationally designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is to conserve and enhance its natural beauty. The impact upon the areas special qualities, its wildlife, recreation opportunities and contribution to the local economy should not be under estimated too.
First appeared in the EADT Environment supplement Dec 2016