EDF Energy has submitted a planning application to West Somerset District Council for site preparation works which could eventually facilitate the early construction and operation of a new power station at Hinkley Point.
An application will be made shortly to the Marine Management Organisation for a temporary jetty at the C site.
The application is being made now so that if planning permission is granted for the power station itself, the necessary infrastructure will be in place to allow construction to start as early as possible, with minimum disruption to local communities.
The application to West Somerset District Council relates mainly to earthworks to form a series of terraces to prepare for construction should permission to construct be granted. This includes the removal of a number of hedgerows and some woodland and grassland.
The company would also undertake drainage works, put up fencing, re-route existing underground services, provide a site access road and internal roads ready for future construction traffic.
The plans have already been detailed in EDF Energy’s consultations on its proposals which involved public exhibitions and discussions with a range of organisations including community, environmental and archaeological groups. The company has also held meetings with local residents to discuss the plans.
The local authority will carry out further consultations on this application before deciding whether or not to grant consent. EDF Energy has undertaken to reinstate the Hinkley site in the event that main consent fails to be secured. It is anticipated that the application will be determined before next Spring.
EDF Energy’s Director of Planning and External Affairs for Nuclear New Build Richard Mayson said:
“This application marks a key stage in our project and if consented, will be important in facilitating the construction of the power station itself, which would supply low carbon electricity to five million homes.
“We have been discussing our plans with key local stakeholders before submitting our application. We recognise that as well as the many benefits that a new power station will bring to the area, there will also be an impact locally. We will ensure that any significant adverse effects are appropriately mitigated in a way which is environmentally responsible and sensitive both to the needs of the community and to the strategies of the relevant local authorities.
“A key feature of these works is that they are designed to support the timetable for the future construction of the power station, ensuring that disruption to local communities is kept to minimum and will support our aim of generating low carbon electricity from our first new reactor at Hinkley Point in 2018.”
The Hinkley Point site has been identified as being strategically suitable for nuclear new build by the Government in their draft National Policy Statement. The site has also been the subject of a previous planning consent for new nuclear, following a public inquiry into the suitability of the site in 1990.
The Government has advised that local authorities can determine site preparation works application in advance of main construction activity.
This would help meet the Government’s energy policy aims by providing replacement low carbon generation to help avoid the looming energy gap, and in turn allowing Hinkley Point to be at the forefront of the low carbon energy future for the UK.