Green light for construction phase as Sizewell C triggers Development Consent Order

By Nick Osbourne | Published on 15 January 2024 | 6 min read
  • £250m package for local communities activated – available in phases over construction period
  • Community Forums launched to enable local communities to have a say during construction phase
  • Andrew Bowie MP, Minister for Nuclear and Renewables, visits site, as business leaders welcome news and predict “lasting positive legacy for our region”
  • Sizewell C project to bring £4.4b of investment to East of England during construction

Sizewell C today triggered its Development Consent Order (DCO), opening the path for formal construction of the new 3.2GW nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast.

The project was granted permission to build in July 2022, and while preparatory works subsequently began, many obligations needed to be satisfied before construction could commence under its DCO.

Those obligations, set out in a Deed of Obligation document signed with East Suffolk Council and Suffolk County Council, and which included activity ranging from key road surveys to the establishment of Governance Groups, are all now satisfied and the formal construction phase of the project can begin.

Julia Pyke and Nigel Cann, Joint Managing Directors at Sizewell C, said: “This is a significant moment for our project in Suffolk and a big step for British energy security. We’ve had a really successful year of pre-commencement works on site, and we’ve been working hard with local partners and organisations to ensure we’re ready to take this next step for the project.

“While Sizewell C will be a linchpin of Britain’s energy system, it’s much more than a power station, especially for this region. Entering the construction phase will be a game-changer for the area, helping to boost employment and skills, enhancing the local environment, and developing new clean technologies.”

Sizewell C will be an important part of Britain’s energy future, generating low-carbon power for six million homes until close to the end of this century. To mark the latest milestone for the project, Nuclear Minister, Andrew Bowie, today visited the Sizewell C construction site to meet with the project team, local business leaders, and representatives from local authorities.

Nuclear Minister, Andrew Bowie, said: “This is a major milestone for Sizewell C and our ambition to deliver up to 24GW of low-carbon nuclear power by 2050. It comes after we announced the biggest expansion of nuclear power for 70 years which will help to bring down bills and bolster our energy security. East Anglia will benefit from thousands of new jobs and apprenticeships as a result, demonstrating the local rewards of backing new nuclear.”

In September 2023, the Government, Sizewell C and EDF launched an equity raise process to attract private investors into the project. While triggering the DCO and entering the construction phase is not dependent on a final investment decision (FID), constructive discussions with qualified potential investors are continuing and a final investment decision is expected later in 2024.

£250m local benefits package activated

By commencing formal construction, a £250m package of funding for the local community will become available in phases during the construction phase of the project.

That funding includes £23m for community projects, £100m for the environment, £12m to support local tourism, and a £12m housing fund to boost private housing and tourist accommodation.

Sizewell C is determined that opportunities from construction are spread as widely as possible in East Suffolk, and it has longstanding partnerships with Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and MENTA, as well as third sector community organisations and charities like Inspire and Access Community Trust.

“A lasting positive legacy for the region”: business leaders welcome news

Sizewell C will deliver 1,500 apprenticeships and support thousands of jobs across the country, with at least one third of the peak construction workforce of 7,900 coming from the local area. The project will invest in local skills to ensure there is a pipeline of talent ready, not only to build and operate Sizewell C, but to support the UK’s future nuclear ambitions.

The project will also have a transformational impact on local supply chains, and a number of local business leaders have welcomed the news that Sizewell C can now enter the construction phase.

Jake Nicholls, Group MD of Tru7 Group, a family-owned supplier of goods and services to the UK Construction Industry, head-quartered near Ipswich in East Suffolk, said: “As a local employer of over 350 people, we firmly believe this important project will provide a lasting positive legacy for our region. The construction process of Sizewell C will provide communities and businesses in Suffolk and East Anglia with the opportunity and the confidence to invest in people and skills, and we are delighted to play our role in supporting the delivery of the project.”

Tim Capey, Managing Director of Poundfield Precast, said: “We are incredibly excited about the commencement of Sizewell C. The scale of the project should provide us with fantastic opportunities over the next decade, and the duration of the project will allow us the opportunity to fully assess demand and invest in our infrastructure. We also look forward to being able to develop our apprenticeship programme further to support our growth and provide opportunities for young people looking to develop careers within manufacturing and construction.”

Mark Burrows, Regional Commercial Director of Suffolk-based Breheny Civil Engineering Ltd, one of the largest family-owned civil engineering companies in the UK, said: “This vast nationally strategic project offers us within Suffolk the chance to showcase our extensive talent and resources and will provide work opportunities for many years. We’re already participating in projects on the Sizewell complex, and we look forward to working on many more opportunities. Our 330+ people and their families live and work in the geographical area affected by Sizewell and are looking forward to the social, environmental, and economic benefits the project will provide our community.”

New community forums: offering local people a say during the construction phase

To ensure local people continue to have their say on the project during construction, new Sizewell C Forums have launched so that residents can discuss key issues with the project team.

There are four main forums, chaired independently, covering all the main project-related topics relevant to the community. Parish and town councils will represent the community at the forums, and local people can attend the meetings as observers.

Christine Abraham, former CEO of Community Action Suffolk, and Chair of the Sizewell C Community Forum, said: “Communities have been at the forefront throughout my working and personal life, and I am pleased to take up the role of Chair for the SZC Community Forum. As Chair, I look forward to ensuring good engagement with local communities on the project development, as well as providing a platform to have constructive discussions about the challenges and opportunities for local people.”

The first Main Development Site Forum, in which representatives from communities located in the immediate vicinity of the main development site can raise and discuss construction progress and key issues affecting the local community, will take place tomorrow, Tuesday 16 January 2024.

Posted by Nick Osbourne

Nick is Sizewell C's Media Relations Manager