EDF urged to postpone Sizewell C plans over fears coronavirus could prevent debate
- Credit: Archant
Council bosses are urging EDF Energy to delay the next stage of their plans for Sizewell C until after the coronavirus pandemic.
EDF are due to submit the Development Consent Order (DCO) to the government in the next few weeks - triggering a process which includes a period of formal public engagement.
In a joint statement, Suffolk County Council leader Matthew Hicks and East Suffolk Council chief Steve Gallant have argued submitting the DCO too soon will prevent the public from seeing the plans due to current social distancing guidelines.
But EDF said they have already discussed the plans with the district and county councils “at length”.
The energy company were originally due to submit the DCO to the government’s planning inspectorate at the end of March, but this was put back several weeks.
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Now Mr Hicks and Mr Gallant have written to EDF to urge them to completely rethink when to submit the DCO.
The joint statement said: “Given the current government guidance on social distancing, social isolation and public gatherings, we ask EDF Energy to delay consultation until such time as all parties are satisfied that appropriate public engagement can take place.
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“We are concerned that even in a few weeks’ time, it may still be incredibly challenging to consider entering a period of consultation on such an important subject.
“We feel that everyone who is interested in this development should be given the best possible opportunity to have their say.”
However, an EDF spokesman said: “EDF’s decision to delay the submission of the application for a Development Consent Order to build Sizewell C was taken in recognition of the need for people to adapt to new ways of working in the extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in.
“We did so in an effort to reassure local residents, communities and town and parish councils that we want everyone to have the opportunity to be able to read, understand and register their interest in the proposals.
“It also is giving us time to make sure we provide the best opportunities we can for people to engage with the application when it is submitted.”