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.
Producing enough offshore wind to power every home, quadrupling how much we produce to 40GW by 2030, supporting up to 60,000 jobs.
A group of 18 leading environmental organisations, including the RSPB, Friends of the Earth and the Wildlife Trusts, have written to the prime minister to call for better coordination of offshore windfarms that would ensure a minimum of environmental disruption.
A group of 18 leading environmental organisations, including the RSPB, Friends of the Earth and the Wildlife Trusts, have written to the prime minister to call for better coordination that would ensure a minimum of disruption.