Fairness is all we ask for
This is our family. Paul and Michaela Field, and our wonderful daughters Ruby, Olivia and Amelie. We live in a lovely, secluded spot near the Suffolk coast. We’ve been very lucky. Our home, Fir Tree Farm, and the lifestyle it gives us has been like wearing a warm, cosy jumper on a crisp, frosty morning.
All this changed in January 2019 when EDF Energy revealed its new proposals for building Sizewell C nuclear power station, eight miles from our home. If news that their plans included building a major road right up against our lovely home was like a snag in our cosy jumper, the way EDF has treated us in the months since has caused the yarn to unravel.
“They can’t take away our lovely house.”
— RUBY, 11
We moved to Suffolk in October 2013 after two decades of fast-paced urban living in London, Dublin and New York. Nestled in several acres of land with two ponds and woodland, the 17th century farmhouse gave us the tranquility we longed for. It’s so secluded that our only neighbours are acres of arable farmland, hares we watch boxing and huge skies so dark that on clear nights you can see satellites hurtling through space like shooting stars.
We spent the last year getting permission from the local planners to extend the four-bedroomed farmhouse and replace a dilapidated barn with a new one, so we could provide living accommodation for our parents whose dependency on us has become more pressing in recent months.
But EDF’s proposals for Sizewell C have thwarted these plans, which means we cannot provide support for our family. We were advised that it would be financial madness to develop our property when even the announcement of EDF’s plans has sent its value plummeting.
We have appealed to EDF to be compassionate and fair towards us, after having put our family in such a stressful and awful situation. But, despite us being reasonable, we cannot get EDF to be the same. This is why, very reluctantly, we are having to share our story.
This is not a story of Nimbyism, nor is it an emotive way to make a case against nuclear fuel, although the case against it from renewables is growing stronger. No, after months of trying to appeal to EDF to treat us fairly, this is about how big business can run roughshod over ordinary people like a bulldozer crushing farmland to make way for a new road. On a personal level, we’ve been struck by how a single event can make you feel like the walls are falling in around you, and you’re powerless to do anything to stop it.
We’re not alone. We hope by telling our story we can give a voice to residents impacted by major construction projects, and show their promoters that it isn’t enough to simply ask for views, but to act fairly to ameliorate the impact of big infrastructure projects.
Of course, we would like EDF to behave decently towards us. Until it does, we will use this platform to highlight issues with its proposals for Sizewell C and explain how YOU can get involved.
trucks a day on the link road at the height of construction
workers in the field day next to our house while road is being built
The estimated cost of building Sizewell C – expect it to rise
Why this matters
Our focus is on the construction and subsequent use of the link road. It will start with a roundabout in the field south of and adjacent to Fir Tree Farm and then cut through arable farmland for five miles towards Sizewell. But there are other enormous impacts from this project. On the environment – the Suffolk coasts boasts 250 square miles of outstanding natural beauty and some of the UK’s rarest wildlife at Minsmere. In communities where accommodation for workers will be built. For residents next to other road changes, including two park and ride schemes. Thinking of holidaying on the Suffolk coast after 2021? You will want to think again, if Sizewell C gets the go-ahead. You can have your say in this consultation – to find out more, there is a section on this website dedicated to the core issues. You can copy and paste them into a form that will be submitted directly to EDF. But you must do this before March 29.
EDF has launched its Stage 3 Public Consultation on January 4. Following this, EDF will make an application for development consent to the Planning Inspectorate for Sizewell C. The public has an opportunity to feedback. To help you participate we are providing facts and commentary on this website – and we have set it up so you can submit your views directly to EDF.