Originally the UK Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB), but latterly, with privatisation of the UK energy industry, changed to National Power, and then to Nuclear Energy/British Energy.
- Prof John Glasson (Department of Planning), Research Director, OISD:IAU
- Andrew Chadwick, (Department of Planning) Research Associate, OISD:IAU
- Prof Riki Therivel, (Department of Planning) OISD:IAU
- team of postgraduate research students.
- total grant value: approximately £650,000
- time duration: over a period of 8 years (1989-1997).
Sizewell B was to be the first of a programme of new Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) nuclear power stations. It was supported for development after a very long (3 years) public enquiry. The aims of the research were to:
monitor the local socio-economic impacts of power station construction, over 8 years, to assess the impact on and interaction with the local community, in Suffolk (East Anglia);
explain the nature of the impacts and interaction; and
advise an implications, and the better management of the interaction between this major project and its communities.
The research focused in particular on the local employment impacts. At peak construction the project employed more than 5000 construction workers, and had wide ranging impacts on the local economy of a rural area, on housing and other services, and on the general way of life. The monitoring study involved a close working relationship with the developer, contractors, local authorities and other agencies, and the local communities, to assemble a range of information, including statistical data (eg. the mixture of local and non-local construction stage workers, the housing tenure status and expenditure patterns of workers), decision, opinions and perceptions of impacts. Major biannual surveys were undertaken of the characteristics of the workforce, and of the perceptions of local residents. The latter were undertaken in association with the 6th form student at Leiston High School. An annual monitoring report and summary, available to all, was produced every year for 7 years.
The research identified a number of methodological issues associated with monitoring impacts and auditing impacts predictions, including disentangling project related impacts from other local trends and changes. It also identified a whole range of socio-economic impact characteristics of major projects including:
- substantial boost to local employment (especially in the civil engineering phase of construction)
- wide ranging boost to the local economy, reflected in very low unemployment rates and indirect impacts on retail activity and provision
- negative impacts on crime and disorder, with a major growth in drink-drive offences
- only minor impacts on the local housing market, partly resulting from the on-site provision of a construction workers’ site hostel.
Associated with the latter point, the research also provided a vehicle for identifying appropriate mitigation measures to offset negative impacts. Another example is the use of a designated heavy vehicles route to the site, to divert traffic away from peaceful local villages. The research facilitated the auditing of predictions of impacts made in the public inquiry, and also identified good developer local community liaison practices.
Glasson, J. (2005) Better monitoring for better impact management: the local socio-economic impacts of construction Sizewell B nuclear power station, Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal , Summer 2005
Glasson, J., Therivel, R. and Chadwick, A. (2005), Introduction to EIA: 3rd Edition (Chapter 7), Spon: London.
Glasson, J., and A. Chadwick (1990-97), Socio-Economic Impacts of Construction of Sizewell B, Monitoring Reports, IAU, Department of Planning: Oxford Brookes University.
Chadwick, A., and J. Glasson (1999), Auditing the Socio-Economic Impacts of a Major Construction Project, Planning Practice and Research, 14, 4.
Glasson, J. and A. Chadwick (1997), Life after Sizewell B, Town Planning Review, 68, 3.
Prof John Glasson
tel: +44 (0)1865 483401