EDF outlines how Sizewell C project will be decided
- Credit: Archant
EDF Energy has taken steps to assure people concerned about proposals for a new nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast that there will be plenty of time to give their views – even if the coronavirus lockdown continues.
Campaigners and opponents of Sizewell C have called for the Development Consent Order (DCO) to be put on hold until all movement restrictions are ended.
But EDF intends to submit its plans to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) in the next few weeks.
It has now written to all town and parish councils in east Suffolk to explain how the planning process will work – outlining measures being put in place to allow more time for key elements of the consulatation on the plans.
Once the DCO is submitted, it will be a month before it is formally accepted by PINS and then published online, several thousand pages of documents.
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People and organisations will then have the summer months to read the full planning application and to register their interest if they plan to comment.
EDF will be asking if this pre-application phase – usually 28 days – can be extended to give people more time to access the documents and overcome any need for hard copies of some paperwork.
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At this time, EDF will also distribute a newsletter to 40,000 homes and businesses in the local area to inform residents that the application is ready to be viewed online.
EDF said: “Crucially, we will also discuss with PINS that the examination phase itself should not start until they are happy that no parties will be disadvantaged. There is no prospect of the examination commencing even in normal circumstances for approximately five to six months.”
The process of relevant representations involves mainly parish and town councils and other interested organisations registering their interest in the examination and there will be many opportunities for parties to make their case to the Planning Inspectorate once the examination commences.
The examination of the DCO is mainly a written exercise although PINS can choose to hold hearings on specific issues.
EDF said: “In this context, the sooner we submit the application, the more time all parties will have to review it – in the knowledge that the Examination itself won’t start until PINS are satisfied that it is appropriate.”
The company said it wants “everyone to have the opportunity to be able to read, understand and register their interest in the proposals – whether supportive of Sizewell C or not”.