The Environment Agency has released a response to the stage 3 consultation of EDF’s proposed Sizewell C nuclear power station.

The planned development would be adjacent to the Sizewell A, currently being decommissioned, and Sizewell B nuclear stations.

Objections have been raised about the proposal with a group of celebrities lead by Bill Nighy penning a joint letter to the Daily Telegraph in March, raising concerns about potential environmental impacts.

A public consultation ran from January of this year to March, at the end of which it was anticipated that EDF would begin relevant applications for the project, such as a development consent order (DCO) and environmental permits.

The Environment Agency, however, has published a list of concerns with the consultation documents that must be resolved before a DCO application can be submitted.

It said, while EDF has identified many of the areas it needs to take into account, the assessments that underpin these areas have not been provided, and that plans for Sizewell C lack:

  • A finalised Flood Risk Assessment
  • Proposals for groundwater mitigation measures, together with a monitoring and maintenance strategy
  • A coastal management and monitoring strategy, together with contingency, to mitigate impacts
  • A full assessment of impacts to marine and terrestrial wildlife and proposed mitigations
  • Detailed drainage strategies
  • Modelling which underpins the assessments and matters listed above, and which is also required for review

The Environment Agency has addressed its comments to Jim Crawford, Sizewell C project development director at EDF Energy.

In order to begin development, both environmental permits and a DCO will need to be granted for construction. Environmental permits are given by the Environmental Agency, and DCOs are decided by the Planning Inspectorate.

In the report Charles Beardall, East Anglia deputy director, writes: “We recommend that operational permit applications are submitted at least six months prior to DCO submission.” The Environment Agency said it expects to use its assessments made as part of any environmental applications to advise planning inspectors during DCO deliberation.

This means that any applications for a DCO for Sizewell C will likely come at least six months after EDF has rectified the body’s concerns.

Beardall added: “We note that we have already issued operational permits for Sizewell’s twin station at Hinkley Point C – and we understand that you [EDF] intend to replicate the design so far as you can – however it should also be recognised that the environment at each station is different.”

The Environment Agency stressed that its response to the consultation does not represent its final view in relation to any future DCO application.

“It is provided without prejudice to our decisions on any applications made for environmental permits. Our final view will
take account of information included in the application and relevant guidance available at that time,” Beardall said.