Final decision on Sizewell C nuclear power station set to be delayed

How Sizewell C with its twin reactors could look alongside plants A and B on Suffolk's coast

How Sizewell C with its twin reactors could look alongside plants A and B on Suffolk's coast - Credit: EDF Energy

Developers aiming to build a new £20billion nuclear power plant on the Suffolk coast may have to wait an extra six weeks for a final decision on the project.

Plans for Sizewell C have spent the past 19 months with the Planning Inspectorate (PINS), undergoing a thorough examination.

But PINS says 22 changes made to the proposals by EDF during that time have created extra work and inspectors will not be able to meet the deadline by which they have to send their full report and recommendation to Government.

The scheme not only includes the twin reactor power station, but also a two-village bypass, link road, rail line upgrades and a temporary desalination plant. 

PINS is now asking Kwasi Kwarteng, secretary of state at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for a six-week extension to the deadline.

Alison Downes of Stop Sizewell C

Alison Downes from the Stop Sizewell C campaign said the group will continue to fight the plans for the power station - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

He is supposed to receive the report by January 14 but Kathryn Dunne, operations lead at PINS, has asked if it could delay until February 25 in order to prepare the highest quality report.

In addition to the changes during the process, and the size and scale of the project, the examining authority has also had some unexpected health issues that have caused a delay to report writing, creating "considerable pressure" for the small expert team.

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An EDF spokeswoman said: "We are aware that PINS has requested a six-week extension to consider the Sizewell C DCO and await the Secretary of State’s decision on this."

Alison Downes, of Stop Sizewell C, said. "Despite pressure for a quick decision on Sizewell C, this request for an extension brings home the sheer scale of EDF's proposals, even without the 22 changes, and the personal toll they are exacting not only on the examining authority, but on all of us.

"Given the Business Secretary is pushing a decision on Scottish Power Renewables' proposals back nearly three months, EDF may have to wait until the end of the summer to find out whether Sizewell C will get the go ahead, and we will continue to do everything we can to press for that decision to be 'no'."