Sutton Bridge power station fight moves to next stage

Shirley Giles by Sutton Bridge Power Station'Photo:  SG 301013-TW www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/buyaphoto ENGANL00120131030125454
Shirley Giles by Sutton Bridge Power Station'Photo: SG 301013-TW www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/buyaphoto ENGANL00120131030125454

Battle lines are being drawn to stop a multi-million pound power station being built in Sutton Bridge.

John Hayes, MP for South Holland and the Deepings, has pledged his support to residents who want to see EDF’s combined-cycle, Sutton Bridge B stopped in its tracks.

The South Holland and The Deepings MP is writing to his own Government to repeat his concerns about key infrastructure being placed in a high flood risk area – on the banks of the Nene, a river almost overtopped by a tidal surge in December 2013.

Energy minister Lord Bourne gave the plant the go-ahead last week, but energy giant EDF has yet to make an investment decision.

Mr Hayes “remains to be convinced” whether the plant will deliver the anticipated economic benefit to Sutton Bridge – 1,500 construction jobs and 50 jobs once operational – and says it’s over-development of a site that has an existing power station.

He said: “You either want industrialisation of the countryside or you don’t – and I don’t.”

The Wash and Sutton Bridge Protection Group (WASBG) is now looking at ways to derail the Sutton Bridge B consent.

The group’s members include Shirley Giles, the great-granny who funded the successful legal fight to overturn planning consent for a wood-burning, gasifier power plant on the nearby Wingland site.

WASBG says the EDF application was first made in December 2005 for a much smaller development and claims it “is out of date in several ways, especially in relation to the prediction of combined emissions”.

The group also claims the “existing data is over 10 years old and based on inadequately recorded details”.

A statement from WASBG says: “Lord Bourne said ‘we are working to deliver clean, affordable and secure energy supplies for hardworking families and businesses. Continued investment in this vital industry – such as this new power plant – creates jobs but also helps keep the lights on as we move towards a cleaner energy future’.

“The existing power station is not clean, there is no evidence of a reduction in energy prices, EDF B is not part of a vital industry – the existing power station is closed down now when there’s a lack of demand.

“The terms ‘hard-working families’ and ‘keeping the lights on’ are empty Government mantras intended to pull the wool over people’s eyes.

“EDF B, if built, will be on green field valuable Grade 1 agricultural land and in a high flood risk area.

“The conditions imposed on the developers are supposed to provide blanket ‘mitigation’ of all objections from local people regarding the flood risk, noise and light pollution, and likely health problems, but we have no confidence in South Holland District Council’s intention or capability for ensuring that they will make sure that the conditions are fulfilled.

“The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has an answer for this – if there are any problems the residents have to make a complaint. Thus they shuffle off all responsibility and it’s all up to us.”