NuGen Properties

Suppliers salivate as Sizewell C triggers DCO

Sizewell C is officially estimated at £20bn

Sizewell C has jumped through the legal hoop enabling it to release funds for mitigatory schemes and to start to apply for construction permits.

The 3.2GW project was granted permission to build in July 2022, and while preparatory works subsequently began, many obligations still needed to be satisfied before construction could commence under its development consent order (DCO).

Those obligations were set out in a deed of obligation signed with East Suffolk Council and Suffolk County Council and included actions ranging from road surveys to the establishment of governance groups. These conditions have now all been satisfied and the formal construction phase of the project can begin, the project team says.

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.”

The project, led by EDF Energy, still needs to raise the necessary money before any real work can start. 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, Sizewell C said.

Local construction suppliers are already licking their lips.

Mark Burrows, regional commercial director of Suffolk-based Breheny Civil Engineering, 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.”

Jake Nicholls, managing director of Suffolk plant hire company Tru7 Group, 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.”

Alison Downes, of campaign group Stop Sizewell C said. “We are shocked that the government has let loose the bulldozers at Sizewell C, when the finance for this deeply flawed project is, by their own admission, still months away. It is also telling that the enormous cost is being kept secret. Significant environmental destruction has already taken place, yet there is still so much unknown, including whether the necessary billions of pounds can actually be raised, and from whom. It is touch-and-go whether – in these politically uncertain times – this slow, expensive and damaging project can stumble over the line before the election.”

Richard Rout, Suffolk County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for finance and environment, said: “Despite a number of concerns during the planning process, this council has worked hard to ensure that should Sizewell C go ahead, Suffolk will be suitably compensated.

“Now that the project is officially underway, we will hold Sizewell C to account and make sure it meets its commitments to support local communities, mitigates its impact on them, and listens to ongoing concerns and issues from residents and businesses.

“We are looking forward to making the most of the economic opportunities for Suffolk which will come from this project, in particular our role coordinating skills and education to create opportunities locally. We have always put on record our support for guaranteeing the nation’s energy security, and a future of low carbon energy.”

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