Judicial review given the go-ahead as campaigners continue to fight Sizewell B plans. A judicial review is to be held into the proposed felling of a historic woodland ahead of the construction of Sizewell C. TASC (Together Against Sizewell C) wanted a review of the decision by East Suffolk Council to allow Coronation Wood to be chopped down as part of preparations to build a new twin reactor nuclear power station. The move would see part of the wood felled so buildings relating to Sizewell B could be moved in preparation for the construction of Sizewell C. A first bid for a judicial review over the decision was thrown out by the High Court. However, on Wednesday a further virtual court hearing was held over Microsoft Teams to consider a further bid for review. The conditions for the review centred around two grounds; split into 1a, 1b and 2. Both 1a and 1b looked at concerns around the Sizewell B facilities moving into an area outstanding natural beauty without exceptional reason with the second ground focused on concerns over the environmental impact assessments submitted with the proposals. Mrs Justice Andrews dismissed both 1a and 1b accepting arguments from the defendants that there were a number of exceptional reasons for the proposals to be brought forward in this way. However, she said was prepared to give permission for the review regarding the environmental plans, having highlighted differences in opinion over whether the ecological advice was still up to date.
East Anglian Daily Times 3rd June 2020 read more »
TASC members were among nearly 30 people to attend, via Microsoft Teams video link, the remote renewal hearing of the application for judicial review proceedings in the case of Girling vs East Suffolk Council at the High Court today. The original challenge, brought by TASC supporter Joan Girling, called for a judicial review of the decision by East Suffolk Council in Sept 2019 to grant planning permission to the giant French energy company, EdF, to cut down the 100 year-old Coronation Wood to create space for the Sizewell C nuclear development. Permission to proceed with the challenge was refused by the High Court and Joan Girling applied for a hearing to reconsider that refusal. There was much jubilation among the TASC supporters when Mrs Justice Andrews, the judge hearing the appeal, granted permission for the challenge to proceed on the basis it is arguable that there were deficiencies within the Environmental Impact Assessment relied upon by the Council in making their planning decision, an outcome which will be of great discomfort to EdF. Without the ability to clear Coronation Wood, additional space for the ‘C’ plant cannot be created, delaying further or even forcing the abandonment of the entire project.
TASC 3rd June 2020 read more »
A quiet corner of the Suffolk coastline is set to become a new frontier in the debate over the UK’s changing relationship with Chinese foreign direct investment. Last week EDF submitted a planning application for Sizewell C, a new 3.2 gigawatt nuclear plant which could provide enough power for 6m homes. The project has been developed in conjunction with China General Nuclear, a state-owned firm which was blacklisted in the US last year after being charged with stealing nuclear secrets. Sizewell is the second of three nuclear plants that the Chinese government agreed to build in the UK in a deal struck in 2015 with then prime minister David Cameron. The first of these, Hinkley Point C, was subject to a security review in 2016, but was given the go-ahead by Theresa May’s government the following year. Given the events of recent months, however, opinion has hardened towards China’s involvement in the UK’s critical national infrastructure. Sophia Gaston, director of think tank the British Foreign Policy Group said that recent developments has precipitated “a fundamental reassessment” of Chinese involvement in the UK’s critical national infrastructure: “The Government will need to determine whether they can continue to confidently make the case for Chinese firms taking even a minor role in the development of infrastructure crucial to our national sovereignty and security – with technology and energy especially sensitive areas”, she added. Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee Tom Tugenhadt said that the UK was “learning the cost of dependence on Chinese technology”.
City AM 3rd June 2020 read more »
As radioactive projects go, little beats Sizewell C: the nuclear monstrosity planned for the Suffolk coast. The sirens are already going off on economic and environmental grounds. But it’s the post-pandemic politics that give this scheme an extra Ready Brek glow. And, specifically, around Britain’s relations with China. The architects of the project are France’s EDF and China’s CGN: the duo behind the exploding costs of the £22.5 billion Hinkley Point C. Yes, once again, CGN is the junior partner, providing only 20 per cent of the funds for the 3,200MW plant at Sizewell. But the first two nukes are meant to be the route to a bigger prize: a two-third stake in the scheme to build another reactor at Bradwell in Essex, this time using China’s own HPR1000 technology. Is Britain really going to hand China that sort of role in safety-critical energy supply after all that’s gone on lately? China’s just imposed a new national security law on Hong Kong in blatant contravention of the 1997 handover deal: a provocation that’s left Boris Johnson with “no choice” but to offer almost three million of its residents the chance to obtain UK citizenship. China is warning Britain to “step back from the brink”. Of course, Britain needs economic ties with China. But for vital infrastructure? Sir Iain Duncan Smith gets lots of things wrong. But the former Tory leader is right on this: Sizewell is “the next Huawei”. The PM’s decision to give the Chinese telecom group a limited role in our 5G network is already jeopardising talks over a US trade deal. And, even if the man proving himself unfit to be US president loses the election, the Huawei problem may not go away. Sizewell adds a fresh complication. And for what? A nuclear plant that shouldn’t be built anyway. How many examples does the government need that big nuclear reactors, with their guaranteed cost overruns and vast clean-up bills are last-millennium technology? Hinkley itself? France’s Flamanville? Finland’s Olkiluoto? Toshiba blowing itself up with Westinghouse? Fukushima? Centrica failing to find a buyer for its stakes in existing plants? Yes, it’s too late to stop Hinkley, even if the government needs to review the role of CGN. But, with wholesale energy prices down to £25 per megawatt hour, the ‘leccy from Hinkley isn’t getting any cheaper: a rapacious, index-linked £92.50/MWh in 2012 prices. Offshore wind developers have signed up for projects at £39.65/MWh in the same prices. And the costs of wind, solar and battery power are falling. True, Sizewell is slated to provide seven per cent of our electricity — and you can’t rely on the wind and sun every day. But, if we must have nuclear power in the mix, Britain has a solution: small modular reactors, the sort being developed by Rolls-Royce, the aerospace outfit that urgently needs new lines of work. Far more deserving a case than China’s CGN.
Times 4th June 2020 read more »