Darsham Parish Council
Submission to Planning Inspectorate re EDF's DCO for Sizewell C & D.
- Introduction and scope of submission.
While Darsham Parish Council (DPC) shares the wider concerns about the impacts of EDF's proposals on transport, environment and tourism with the majority of local Parish Councils, and supports the views of the Environment Agency and national and local conservation groups, our submission concentrates on the siting and impacts of the Northern Park and Ride (NPR) which is located within the Parish Council boundary.
- Consultation responses.
The concerns listed below have been detailed in our responses to each of the four consultation stages carried out by EDF. It is fair to say that these concerns, which are shared with other local parishes, have been largely ignored. As such, the term “consultation” is a complete misnomer.
- Traffic flow and congestion (1)
EDF have consistently underestimated traffic flows on the A12. The A12 is a single carriageway road in this part of Suffolk. As such any road works or traffic accident is likely to cause major congestion. This has been vividly demonstrated this summer, with increased traffic volumes due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a considerable increase in tourism “staycations”. On two occasions, (one accident, one road repair) slow-moving traffic has tailed back five miles to Saxmundham.
- Traffic flow and congestion (2)
EDF project 1,140 private car, 700 minibus and 700 HGV movements each day. The proposed construction of roundabouts at the NPR junction at Willow Marsh Lane and at the B1122 junction in Yoxford, will cause congestion on this whole section of the A12. Darsham has increased in size by 30% in the last few years. The proposed development of a further 120 houses accessing the A12 near the Westleton Road, an 80-bedroom motel adjacent to the Jet Garage, and the proposed increase in train numbers and level crossing closures will exacerbate this congestion.
- Level crossing closures
The level crossing is closed overnight for routine maintenance at regular intervals, with traffic diverted down The Street through Darsham village. EDF have chosen to ignore this and not responded to our requests for alternative proposals or mitigation arrangements.
- Dark skies
Darsham is a dedicated dark sky village and home to the Darsham and Surrounding Villages Astronomical Society (DASH – Astro). EDF propose low level lighting in the NPR, but mandatory Trunk road lighting on the NPR roundabout will destroy this amenity.
DPC have expressed concerns about rat- running down The Street during traffic congestion on the A12 or during level crossing closures. EDF say they will install ANPR cameras to detect and subsequently ban HGVs, but have made no proposals to control LGVs and private cars.
- Noise and pollution
DPC have serious concerns about traffic noise, vibration and pollution (NOx, CO2 and particulates) as a result of congestion from increased traffic movements from the NPR, HGVs on route to Sizewell, all in addition to existing A12 traffic. Research has shown that air pollution caused “horrendous brain, heart and lung ill-health” Gases like nitrogen dioxide and tiny particles, known as particulate matter or PM, can reach deep into the body with the danger of causing lasting damage. EDF have dismissed these concerns.
There are no proposals for pedestrian access to and from Darsham Station and the NPR. Pedestrians will have to walk along the A12. There are no legacy provisions for improved carparking at Darsham Station which was specifically requested by DPC.
- Geology, drainage and flood risk
New research information has revealed that there could be drainage and flood risk problems associated with the NPR. EDF have proposed a storage basin with overflow to existing watercourses running under the railway. The underlying geology prevents natural drainage within the site and is likely to lead to existing water courses being overwhelmed in heavy rain.
- Traffic constriction
Likely traffic flows associated with the NPR and direct Sizewell traffic, in addition to existing A12 traffic will lead to serious congestion exacerbated by the construction of two roundabouts, local development and particularly, increased level crossing closures. The resulting noise, vibration, air pollution and rat-running on side roads will seriously erode local residents' quality of life. These concerns have either been ignored or dismissed by EDF and no mitigation measures proposed.
- Relief road
EDF has consistently refused to consider proposals for a relief road direct to Sizewell from the A12 at Benhall which would minimise the impacts of traffic on the local population, provide a lasting legacy for both the power station and the local area and may well obviate the need for both Park and Rides.
Taken as a whole, Darsham Parish Council conclude that siting the NPR north of Darsham Station on a single carriageway section of the A12 adjacent to a level crossing is a serious mistake. (The Southern Park and Ride is located off a dual carriageway)
Darsham Parish Council
(CP & MS)