Sizewell public inquiry call

SUFFOLK Liberal Democrats are urging the county council to demand a full public inquiry into any plans to build a third nuclear power station at Sizewell.

By Graham Dines

SUFFOLK Liberal Democrats are urging the county council to demand a full public inquiry into any plans to build a third nuclear power station at Sizewell.

The party is incensed at proposals contained in the Queen's Speech to introduce a national “statement of need” which would fast-track controversial planning inquiries without having to go undergo full local scrutiny.

Ministers have acted following the lengthy planning process over the need for a fifth terminal at Heathrow, which became bogged down by hundreds of objectors and environmental lobbyists demanding their say.


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Liberal Democrat county councillor Andrew Cann said the national statement of need would remove the right of Suffolk residents to question the siting of any new nuclear power plant.

“This means that the Government can propose a Sizewell C, or even an Aldeburgh A, without the need to consult on any other than very local environmental factors.

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“We must defend our right to have a say on where any plant would be built in the same way that we would defend our right to scrutinise decisions over other major developments.”

Mr Cann added: “This is another example of the Government dismissing our hard-won rights when it suits them.

“It also sets a disturbing precedent for any future Government. If the State can decide with impunity what and where it wants to put controversial developments who knows what we may be told to put up with in the future?”

“If the siting of a nuclear power plant is not important enough for local people to be consulted upon then what is? “

On behalf of the Liberal Democrat group, he has tabled a motion to be debated at next month's meeting of the county council asking for a full debate after the publication of the forthcoming Energy White Paper and demanding that the authority objects to any changes in the planning process.

The motion would commit the county council to backing the right of Suffolk residents to “question whether the benefits of any new nuclear power generation facility in Suffolk outweigh the risks.”

Council leader Jeremy Pembroke declined to comment until he had read the motion in detail, but said he personally favoured a mix on energy including renewables.

A spokesperson for the Department of Communities and Local Government declined to comment last night.

craig.robinson@eadt.co.uk

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