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Campaigners fail in bid to overturn move of Sizewell B buildings to historic woodland

PUBLISHED: 16:30 02 October 2020

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

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

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A high court judge has dismissed a challenge against the moving of buildings associated with Sizewell B to an historic woodland.

Craig Rivertt, deputy leader of East Suffolk District Council and cabinet member for economic development. Photo: East Suffolk District Council.Craig Rivertt, deputy leader of East Suffolk District Council and cabinet member for economic development. Photo: East Suffolk District Council.

East Suffolk Council had previously given permission for Coronation Wood to be chopped down as part of the preparations to build a new twin reactor nuclear power station, Sizewell C.

Under the proposals, buildings including the Sizewell B visitor centre, as well as training centres and their associated car parks would all be moved.

However, a legal challenge against the plans was submitted by local campaigner Joan Girling on behalf of the Together Against Sizewell C group.

They argued that permission for the felling should not have been given ahead of permission being granted for the construction of Sizewell C.

Joan Girling was disappointed with the result from the high court meeting Picture: ALEX FAIRFULLJoan Girling was disappointed with the result from the high court meeting Picture: ALEX FAIRFULL

EDF said that the quality of the woodland in question was poor and that more trees would be planted elsewhere.

Permission for a judicial review was given based on the environmental plans for the site and whether the ecological advice was still up to date.

High Court Judge Mr Justice Holgate dismissed Ms Girling’s case, finding in favour of East Suffolk Council.

Craig Rivett, deputy Leader of East Suffolk Council and cabinet member for economic development welcomed the outcome.

Mr Rivett said: “This decision vindicates the balanced and evidence-based approach which East Suffolk Council is taking with EDF, and the other energy companies, to ensure we get the best outcomes for local communities and the best possible mitigation where there are impacts.”

David Ritchie, cabinet member with responsibility for planning at East Suffolk Council, said: “The strength of the officer’s report to the members of the Strategic Planning Committee was praised by the Court for the careful and detailed way it summarised the views of consultees and those who made representations. It set out the various policy and technical issues in clear terms.

“It confirmed the Strategic Planning Committee discussed the application at some length having had the benefit of presentations from officers and interested parties, including the Claimant. The detailed minutes also helpfully recorded the process.

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“This vindicates the rigour and very careful consideration the Strategic Planning Committee gave to the proposal in reaching its decision following sound and detailed advice from our officers”

Joan Girling, who led the campaign, said: “This decision is not the one that the many supporters of the case for retaining the wood wished to hear and it flies in the face of all consideration for the natural environment and the AONB.

“Particularly when there is no certainty that Sizewell C will be given consent or built. TASC and I will be considering our options regarding the court’s decision with our lawyers.”

Chris Wilson, TASC press officer said, ‘We are extremely disappointed with the court’s ruling.

“Upholding the decision of East Suffolk Council removes any impediment to the premature destruction of Coronation Wood and Pillbox Field to make way for the construction of Sizewell C, before the application for a Development Consent Order to build the new nuclear power station has even been considered by the Planning Inspectorate.

“This has not diminished TASC’s resolve to fight EdF’s plans to desecrate Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB with Sizewell C. TASC are indebted to Joan Girling for bringing this case.”

A spokesman for EDF said: “We note that the high court judge has ruled that the decision to grant planning permission for the relocation of some Sizewell B buildings on EDF land was lawfully made.

“The judged acknowledged the robust nature of the report provided by East Suffolk Council regarding the environmental impact of the work.”

“The report which was informed by the council 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.

“It was judged that this loss would be “balanced” by the planting of over 2,500 juvenile woodland trees, including a mixture of broadleaf and coniferous species appropriate for the prevailing soil and coastal conditions.”

MORE: Date set for judicial review into moving Sizewell B buildings onto historic woodland


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