Councils accused over nuclear debate

ANTI-nuclear campaigners have accused district planners of “swallowing” a Government edict on the scope of future nuclear power station public inquiries - without putting up a fight.

By David Green

ANTI-nuclear campaigners have accused district planners of “swallowing” a Government edict on the scope of future nuclear power station public inquiries - without putting up a fight.

The Government announced last year that such inquiries would in future consider only local issues and that the various regulators would assure safety, security and protection from radiation.

This was to avoid a repeat of the Sizewell B inquiry which lasted 27 months and significantly delayed the project.


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The new local development “framework” policy document drawn up by Suffolk Coastal District Council - now out for public consultation - states that Sizewell will “undoubtedly” be considered in any new round of nuclear power station building.

However, the list of issues the council considers should be taken into account when considering a Sizewell C are all local, although members of the public are invited to put forward any other issues they feel should be covered.

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The issues include the grid connection, landscape and ecological impact, coastal erosion, transport and on-site storage of radioactive waste.

Peter Lanyon, vice-chairman of the Shut Down Sizewell Campaign, said he was appalled that the council was not calling in the document for safety and other important issues to be debated locally.

“They appear to have swallowed the Government line hook, line and sinker,” he said.

Mr Lanyon also claimed the consultation over the framework document had not been publicised sufficiently.

A council spokesperson said: “Suffolk Coastal has previously made it clear that it is very concerned about any Government changes to planning laws that would give councils like ours, and our residents, less of a say in whether proposed developments of national importance such as Sizewell C can be built.

“However it is not the purpose of the Local Development Framework to determine whether nuclear is good or bad in principle but to address the local issues should a decision be taken to locate a third power station at Sizewell.

“Suffolk Coastal will, of course, take whatever opportunities it has to input into the higher level debate about whether there will be a third station at Sizewell.”

david.green@eadt.co.uk

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