The decision to approve the new Sizewell C nuclear power station will come under scrutiny tomorrow (Wednesday) when a legal hearing begins at the Court of Appeal.

Campaigners opposed to the dual reactor development are appealing against a High Court decision to refuse a judicial review into then business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng's decision to give the go-ahead for the power station in July 2022.

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The appeal relates to the issue of whether a desalination plant will be needed to guarantee a permanent water supply for the power station.

Campaigners Together Against Sizewell C (TASC) argued that the environmental impact of the plant was not included in the planning application for the power station and therefore was neither assessed nor taken into account when approval was given.

However, Court of Appeal Judge Lord Justice Coulson decided that TASC's arguments for the desalination plant should be looked at again.

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The judge said that the appeal had “a real prospect of success” because of TASC’s arguments about the need for a water supply and because Mr Kwarteng gave permission against the advice of the planning Examining Authority.

TASC chair Jenny Kirtley said: “Sizewell C’s long-term potable water supply is speculatively reliant on Northumbrian Water's proposed 2024 water supply plan, which requires domestic consumers to reduce their water use by over 30% while simultaneously reducing current water abstraction levels to protect the environment.

"Sizewell C’s dependence on an energy intensive and polluting desalination plant for the 15-year construction period and potentially for 60 years of operation, should have been assessed and presented in the Development Consent Order application, but was not.

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"After nearly 15 years of consultation and planning it is astonishing that this £30 billion-plus nuclear project has no clear path towards a sustainable operational plan for its water requirements."

The Sizewell C project, led by EDF and backed by the government, aims to produce 3.2 gigawatts of electricity, enough to power about six million homes.

EDF representatives will be attending a public information evening at Aldeburgh Church Hall on Thursday (November 9) where they will be discussing how Sizewell C will limit its impact on communities during construction.

The meeting is set to start at 6.30pm.

A spokesperson for Sizewell C said: “The High Court has already dismissed two previous attempts by TASC to apply for Judicial Review on this issue.

“Sizewell C has a clear water supply strategy which will help to increase water availability in the region in the long term.

"The project will help to pay for a mains pipeline that will bring the necessary water for the wider area, as well as supply Sizewell C.

"A temporary desalination facility – powered by zero carbon electricity from Sizewell B – will ensure the site has the water it needs in the meantime.

“Sizewell C will play a key role in Britain’s clean energy future, saving nine million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, strengthening Britain’s energy security, lowering bills and creating thousands of jobs locally and across Britain.”

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