“Don’t imagine we are going to keep everything quiet, say nothing and then at the last minute go ta-da! and surprise everyone. No. This is a process of continual negotiation and talking.”
— Joan Girling, member of Together Against Sizewell C (TASC), an environmental group protesting against the French energy company EDF.
Sizewell C is a proposed nuclear plant on the coast of Suffolk, England. In 1989, Joan founded the Community Against Sizewell C, and successfully stopped the Central Electricity Generating Board’s plans for the plant’s construction. Then, the project was resurrected in 1993 and Joan helped fight and win that one as a local councilor. Now, in 2019, EDF energy has taken over, and the project development is currently in stage 7 of 11. In the first three months of next year the plans will go to the Planning Inspectorate and then on to Secretary of State. If it is approved Joan expects “ten years or more of construction, millions of tons of aggregate roaring in by road or rail, spoil heaps and a campus of more than 6,000 workers, on what she calls ‘my beloved coast.'”
“Look at the pictures of Hinkley Point C in Somerset. Look at that mess. I don’t want that here,”
Sizewell is hemmed in with every kind of protected area. Philip Ridley, Head of Planning and Coastal Management at East Suffolk Council, admits: “If you were looking for a place to build a nuclear power station you could not have chosen a more environmentally sensitive spot.” There are fears EDF will only release a full assessment immediately before the plans go before the Planning Inspectorate, giving local groups little time to respond. The local Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s response to the latest and most detailed one is littered with references to “inadequate assessment”. Joan will continue protesting EDF and negotiating for comprehensive environmental assessments, along with the other local activist groups.