South Woodham Ferrers facing lorry nightmare

Large numbers of heavy goods lorries could be trundling through a town already suffering significant pollution concerns if a new Bradwell power station gets the go ahead.

As many as 700 lorry movements a day – about two a minute – will be travelling to and from the construction site through South Woodham Ferrers at the peak of construction.

The A414 has been proposed as a main route to the construction site though Danbury, Maldon and on to Bradwell through the Dengie peninsula.

But the same number of lorry journeys will also be driving through South Woodham Ferrers to get back to the main roads of the A130 and A12, as part of a loop system proposed by the Bradwell Power Generation Company Limited (BRB), which is in the first stage of its initial proposals for a nuclear power station at Bradwell B.

It is unclear how many lorries will be using that route in the early years, but during peak construction there could be as many as 700 two-way movements a day through South Woodham Ferrers, that has recently been allocated more than 1,000 homes in the local plan

Bradwell B, being developed by the Bradwell Power Generation Company Limited (BRB) – a partnership between China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) and EDF – that would generate approximately 2.2GW of electricity, providing power for around four million homes across the UK.

It would use technology developed by CGN and is currently undergoing generic design assessment.

But over 6 million tonnes of construction materials is anticipated to be transported to the main development site and even though half could arrive by sea, it still means there will be as many as 700 two-way lorry movements a day during the peak, that will last around three years.

The route via Danbury and Maldon along the A414 would mean travelling through an air quality management area – designated as such for the improvement of the air quality in the area.

Two strategic routes have been proposed for the peak construction period.

Route one broadly follows existing roads from the A130/A132 junction via the South Woodham Ferrers ring road.

Another would see a combination of improvements to existing roads and new sections of road, with associated junction improvements running from the A130/A132 junction via the B1012 around South Woodham Ferrers and the B1010 to link back into the eastern part of route one near the site.

Chelmsford City Council leader, Councillor Stephen Robinson, said: “This does have major implications.

“There is the short term peak period of construction, then there is the medium phase when the construction peak passes and the operation phase and clear up when they have to get rid of the temporary housing they are going to build.

“There is a whole series of stages, all of which have their challenges and we don’t think they have considered them.

“We are stunned they have not noticed the local development allocation in South Woodham Ferrers and that there is an air quality management area in Danbury.”

Construction of the project would involve significant investment over seven to 10 years, creating between 10,600 and 9,100 jobs during peak construction, as well as up to 1,200 apprenticeships. Around 3,000 construction jobs are expected to be filled by local people already living in the area during the busiest stage of construction.

During its 60-year operational life the power station is anticipated to employ a permanent workforce of around 900 people, with an additional 1,000 roles during outages for refuelling and maintenance around every 18 months during operation.

BRB anticipates having to provide temporary accommodation – phased to cater for up to 4,500 of these people during peak construction – in modular style multi-storey campus buildings, touring caravans or static caravans.

Bradwell B will need a development consent order (DCO), but the application would also include associated development required to enable construction and operation. This would include, for example, park and ride facilities for construction workers, temporary worker accommodation and road and junction improvements.

Cllr Robinson added: “It is not just about construction it’s about its operation and as we know there is waste.

“It is a massive project and as you see from the response, Chelmsford City Council is very unhappy with many of the things they are proposing.

“We acknowledge the government decided the principle that it is going to happen and they have made that decision but it is possible for a development consent order not to be granted on basis that the downsides outweigh the upsides and at the moment we think the downsides do outweigh the upsides.”

A council statement as part of a response to the stage one consultation said: “Although this is the first public consultation on Bradwell B it is considered that BRB need to undertake a significant amount of work before Chelmsford City Council can fully understand how the project is going to affect its local communities and form a considered view on the overall development in so far as its affects the council’s area.

“It is important that Chelsmford City Council responds to the consultation to help influence the proposals which will have significant direct impacts on its area.”

Alan Raymant, CEO of Bradwell B, said in his introduction in the consultation document that Bradwell B would make a vital contribution to meeting the UK’s future need for low carbon, secure and affordable energy and achieving the UK’s legally binding target of net zero carbon by 2050.

He added: “A valuable – and necessary – part of our electricity mix, nuclear power ensures there is reliable and affordable electricity, including when limited wind and solar power is produced.

“Bradwell B would build on the long-established history of nuclear power in the area, creating long-term employment opportunities and thousands of construction jobs, along with significant business and training opportunities.

“It would inject millions of pounds of investment into the local and regional economies and generate enough electricity to power around four million homes, making an important contribution to the UK’s future low carbon energy needs.

“Consulting with local people, businesses and stakeholders is important to the way we develop and refine our plans for Bradwell B. At this early stage we would like to tell you about our work to date and seek your views on our initial proposals and options. We are also committed to working with you to understand the potential impacts of Bradwell B and consider ways in which we can manage impacts and maximise benefits for the community.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter