The overall aim of this study was to identify and assess the positive and negative economic impacts likely to be associated with the development. To deliver an effective economic impact assessment, we focused on the key topics related to the impact of a new nuclear power station, rather than undertake a broad and generic assessment.
The objectives for the economic impact assessment were to:
- Understand how to maximize the positive benefits for supply chain, employment, skills and education, inward investment, and innovation
- Understand how to minimise/mitigate the negative impacts on tourism and the visitor economy, workforce displacement, and others
- Deliver a working paper on all existing data and information sources and consider the analysis of comparator projects
- Review information gaps and develop a range of economic impact scenarios in a revised paper
A number of case studies were considered to identify the likely positive and negative local economic impacts of the construction project, using both nuclear and non-nuclear examples of major construction projects. These included the construction of Sizewell B, the ongoing construction of Hinkley Point C, and the actual and potential impacts of Flamanville in France, Olkiluoto in Finland, Wylfa in Wales, Moorside in Cumbria, the London 2012 Olympics, High Speed 2, and Heathrow Runway Three.
We then moved on to a review of the consultation documents produced by EDF Energy. These, combined with our desk-based research to build a picture of the baseline local economy, were used to develop a model to examine the impact of the project on the local area. Building on the first phase of our work, we modelled the impact of home and non-home-based workers; supply chain; inward investment and innovation impacts; and impacts on the tourism sector.
Given the range of possible variations in how the project could be delivered, and the external factors that may influence the project, a range of scenarios were developed to consider what mitigations might be needed. Three baseline scenarios focused on different ways in which the project may be implemented, including different levels of mitigation. Then an additional two scenarios were considered which set out potential external impacts on the project, such as the cumulative impact of several major projects in Suffolk, and the impact of Brexit on labour market availability.
The report concluded with a set of recommendations for mitigation actions that EDF Energy and local authorities could undertake. These related to employment and skills, accommodation, local business support, supply chains, inward investment and tourism. We also detailed key information gaps and the data needed to develop a better understanding of the possible impacts from the construction project and the mitigations needed to maximise the local economic benefits.
Our economic assessment provided the local authority with a starting point in understanding the potential impacts of a new nuclear construction project in their area. This allowed them to consider potential early interventions the Council may need to make in order to maximise the positive impacts of the project, and minimise the negative ones.
In Autumn 2022, the UK Government granted planning consent for Sizewell C, after an application was submitted setting out the range of measures the project will take to mitigate the effects of construction and maximise the benefits for local communities.