Proposed Bradwell B

BRADWELL B PHASE 1 CONSULTATION CLOSES 1ST JULY 2020

Residents should be aware that the Bradwell B Consultation closes on 1st July 2020 at 11.59pm.

To have your say, feedback can be provided at the BRB online feedback site by clicking here.

West Mersea Town Council has submitted its response to the Stage One pre-application consultation questionnaire, click here to read in full. (Document prepared by Councillor Peter Banks)
 

SUMMARY

Our initial reaction to the the consultation documents is one of huge concern around the scale of the proposal, and in particular the potential impact of the two cooling towers at the northernmost part of the development.

The cooling towers will have a substantial impact on both the visual environment and marine ecology.

Having concluded that the Blackwater Estuary is too shallow to employ direct cooling and having abandoned the option for direct cooling via lengthy tunnels to deeper water the decision has been to proceed with indirect cooling utilising a hybrid cooling tower system – with twin towers at 50-60 metres (c. 200ft).

Illustration of the relative size of the Hybrid Cooling Towers to the former Bradwell Power Station
 

Other areas of specific concern include:

People and jobs: With an expectation that up to 4,500 of the workforce will need to be accommodated near the site during the building phase, and Mersea Island just within the 90 minute car journey to the development site there is concern that there would be issues of increased traffic of temporary workers during the build period.

With employment opportunities limited to largely highly technical roles once the site is operational, WMTC considers employment opportunities for residents limited in scope.

Light pollution: With such a vast industrial installation with an unobscured view from Mersea Island it is inevitable that there will be excessive light pollution both during construction and operation.

Transport: WMTC has grave concerns that if both Sizewell C and Bradwell B were to be given permission by the Secretary of State within 2 or 3 years of one another that the main traffic corridors could be overwhelmed. This would lead to particularly the A12 east and westbound becoming gridlocked in both directions.

The impact of the site on the community and indeed region’s infrastructure with road and maritime traffic has not been considered adequately – the impact on the region’s economy by traffic disruption to the A12, A120, A130, M11, A13 and M25 not to mention the Dengie Peninsular itself is incalculable.

The likely negative impact on the fishing and tourism industry created by large supply ships has also not been considered adequately.

Mersea has a number of world renown Oyster businesses that supply nationally and export internationally and WMTC has major concerns that the development would irreparably damage these businesses.

The area is within the largest Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) in England and within it is the Essex Native Oyster Restoration Initiative (ENORI). ENORI has implemented a 200ha ‘Blackwater Restoration Box’ 500m south of West Mersea specifically to recover native oyster beds.

Any substantial increase in sea transport will have a detrimental effect on the local marine, water-based leisure and tourism businesses.

The proposed jetties would present navigational issues for all users of the estuary whether they be involved in sport or movement of commercial vessels traversing the area to or from docking up-river.

Consultation process: WMTC believe that residents have not been given a substantial opportunity to gain insight into the proposal or be able to form a response to the BRB questionnaire.

West Mersea has an older demographic with the highest percentage of over 75 year olds in Colchester Borough. Further to this 15% of the population do not own a car. Many do not have their own internet access and can only do so at public libraries (all closed for public access once the consultation public events were abandoned). Furthermore, a significant number of elderly residents suffer from a range of disabilities which makes responding next to impossible.

The COVID-19 pandemic prohibited further face to face public exhibitions from mid-March 2020 on with no prospect of reversing by the revised closing date of 1st July 2020 for questionnaire submissions.

It is clear that a high proportion of this community was unable to engage with your team fully. They stress that a face to face interaction is essential for them to understand the extent of the proposals before being able to respond to the questionnaire. Therefore, we maintain this Stage One Consultation is insufficient.

WMTC also wishes to make the point that this Consultation and associated documentation does not convey it was designed primarily to engage with the public that would be affected by this development. Instead it promotes an illusion that decisions have already been taken by the government that are ‘definite’ rather than ‘potential’.