Paul Chandler, Sizewell Resident, Open Floor Hearings 5, Friday 6 November 2020

My name is Paul Chandler and a resident of Sizewell for 27  years and a member of Save Our Sandlings and I am speaking  today in a personal capacity.

Firstly, I would like to acknowledge all the previous speakers  for their very valuable and emotional contributions with  which I totally agree. Rather than sound like a cracked  record, I won’t cover all these subjects again. Instead I would  like to take this opportunity to pose a question directly to the  Planning Inspectorate.

As we have heard, there are a plethora of projects headed  towards the East Suffolk coast, each of which requires  considerable effort for all interested parties to research,  understand and respond to with representations and  submissions. Most of us do not have the advantage of subject  matter experts to call upon and rely on our own initiative and  time to respond accordingly as lay persons. My questions is  as follows: Now that the Inspectorate is aware of these  multiple projects and the potential cumulative impacts they  bring, what action will they take to ensure there is a proper  cross-fertilisation of information between examining  committees? It is reasonable to assume that the many issues  raised during these open floor hearings will be common to all  projects. The prospect for the local community going forward  is pretty grim. Attending multiple consultations and  subsequent enquiries will result in considerable duplication  of effort, not only for all interested parties but the  Inspectorate as well. This is our Groundhog Day, we are  destined to repeat the same activities time and again, ad  nauseum.

At the very least I would suggest PINS co-opts committee  members from the 3 existing DCO applications, i.e., SPR and EdF to each others examinations so relevant information is  shared equally and can be referenced / reviewed at the  appropriate stages of each examination. I for one would  rather not spend the rest of my life as an unpaid consultant  responding to and attending meetings even though I passionately want the correct outcome for our region of  Suffolk. Having already responded to three major energy  projects in the last 15 years it is grossly unreasonable to  bombard local communities with a relentless Tsunami of  projects as the persistent energy juggernaut rolls our way.

At this point I should mention the elephant in the room, or in  this case the large woolly mammoth that is National Grid  ESO. If they had been open and honest about their plans for  this area and had had to request outline planning permission to build such large substation infrastructure in the Leiston – Sizewell area BEFORE offering connections to SPR et al, I am  quite sure the application would have been rejected as  totally unacceptable in an AONB and SSSI area. National Grid  by their very absence from this consultation process could  not be tasked with proving why this connection proposal is  the best solution and why alternatives could not been chosen  and offered. Reviewing the Ofgem Decarbonisation Action  Plan, the word Environmental occurs only 17 times and Costs  105 times. Lowest cost options take precedence over effects  on the environmental carbon footprint. Herein lies the  problem, cost overrules price. Pursuing a lowest cost option  always means paying a higher price, in this case damage to  the very fabric of our communities and way of life. There is  no regard for the effect on natural environment, the socio  economic impact or any long term benefit to communities.  Only once is there a glimmer of hope. In the paragraph ‘More effective coordination to deliver low cost offshore networks’  is the sentence ‘to explore whether a more coordinated  offshore transmission system could reduce both financial and  environmental costs’. Is it any wonder we are in a position  where we have to choose the least worst option from the 7  sites initially proposed. Least worst by definition means there  is no good option.

Finally, I ask this examining committee to consider this  application in 2 parts – the offshore and onshore.

Whilst approval for the offshore element could be granted and allow those works to proceed, the onshore component must be rejected until such time as less environmentally destructive options are accepted and implemented.  Alternative solutions are available and been in use for many years. Please don’t allow these projects to proceed in their current form for the above reasons and for all the arguments so eloquently delivered by previous speakers.  

Please also remember your recommendation to the  Secretary of State not only decides the fate of these projects but all the projects to come. Allowing these proposals opens the flood gates for each and every subsequent project.  

Let’s not allow that to happen.

Thank you

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