Sizewell C planning decision delayed again

The government has delayed its decision on a planning application for the Sizewell C nuclear plant again.

An update on the project – proposed by French energy giant EDF – was set to be shared today (8 July).

However, business minister Paul Scully revealed yesterday that a decision on whether to give the £20bn project planning permission would be extended to 20 July.

He said: “I have decided to set a new deadline of no later than 20 July 2022 for deciding this application. This is to ensure there is sufficient time to allow the secretary of state to consider the proposal.

“The decision to set the new deadline for this application is without prejudice to the decision on whether to grant or refuse development consent.”

The announcement marks a further delay to the project, which would see the construction of the same type of reactor as the Hinkley Point C scheme in Somerset.

In May, the government said it was pushing back its decision on whether to approve the development consent order (DCO). It said this would provide “sufficient time” to fully consider “further information provided by the applicant and interested parties in response to the secretary of state’s post-examination consultation”.

The decision had already been delayed at the start of the New Year, with the prime minister’s office asking for a further six weeks to assess changes to plans.

Should planning permission be granted, EDF will build a two-reactor nuclear power station capable of generating 3.2GW of electricity – enough to provide 7 per cent of the UK’s needs, or 6 million homes.

The government has already invested £100m in the project, and is planning to take a 20 per cent stake while looking for further investment.

Construction News reported at the end of last month that the government was set to approve a key funding decision on the proposed £20bn Sizewell C nuclear plant in early July.

But it had been forced to consider ending the role of China’s state-owned China General Nuclear in the project due to security concerns, according to the Telegraph.

The French government also announced this week that it was taking full control of EDF to boost its nuclear energy regime.

In May, National Infrastructure Commission chairman Sir John Armitt urged the government to be transparent with UK consumers about the upfront costs of paying for future nuclear plants.

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