Battle to save century-old woodland taken to Court of Appeal

Substantial felling of Coronation Wood would take place to create space for new buildings at Sizewel

Substantial felling of Coronation Wood would take place to create space for new buildings at Sizewell B Picture: MIKE PAGE AERIAL PHOTO LIBRARY - Credit: Archant

Campaigners have agreed to continue their battle to stop an historic Suffolk woodland from being felled – and are taking the fight to the Court of Appeal.

EDF is preparing to cut down the 100-year-old Coronation Wood in order to use the land and Pillbox Field to relocate some Sizewell B buildings ready for a start on Sizewell C.

However, TASC (Together Against Sizewell C) says the project is premature because the twin reactor nuclear power station has yet to receive planning permission.

TASC has now applied to Court of Appeal following the High Court’s dismissal of supporter Joan Girling’s bid for a judicial review application of the planning consent earlier this month.

Joan Girling said, ‘‘The Planning Inspectorate has now accepted EdF’s recently submitted Sizewell C DCO application. However, it remains our view that permission for Sizewell C is not a foregone conclusion.

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“There is no certainty that it will be given approval. Until such time that the Sizewell C application is determined, it is the view of many people that the needless destruction of Coronation Wood should not go ahead.

“EdF have already started scoping for plans to change the development of the Sizewell B Relocation facilities and also announced that they will be consulting on major changes to the Sizewell C planning application just a couple of weeks after the local communities submitted their views on EdF’s original plans.

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“TASC and I feel we must do all we can to prevent the destruction of the entire historic wood, its trees and valuable wildlife which will be lost as EdF cause yet more industrialisation of the Sizewell landscape and AONB.”

Chris Wilson, TASC Press Officer, said, “TASC is determined to ensure we leave no stone unturned in this legal process, in order to require that East Suffolk Council answer for their woeful disregard to the views of the local community when approving EdF’s premature plans to expand their nuclear complex further into Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB, destroying Coronation Wood and Pillbox Field in the process. TASC remain indebted to Joan Girling for continuing with this case.”

EDF, which wants to relocate the buildings to ensure Sizewell C’s start is not delayed, said the quality of the woodland in question was poor and that more trees – over 2,500 broadleaf and coniferous species – would be planted elsewhere.

The company said East Suffolk Council’s arboriculturist found that the majority (73%) of the 229 trees that need to be removed from Coronation Wood are low quality plantation wood with a limited life expectancy and limited amenity value.

Erin Alcock and Rowan Smith from Leigh Day, who represent Joan Girling said: “We are pleased to be able to support Joan with her judicial review challenge. It is crucial at a time of climate catastrophe that proper lawful process is followed by local authority decision makers when valuable green space and natural habitats are at stake. We look forward to working with Joan to progress her case further.”

TASC has thanked everyone who responded so generously to the crowdfunding for the legal fight so far. The fundraising will now be resumed to help fund the Court of Appeal case – see here for details.

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