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Dispute over length of consultation for Suffolk nuclear power station project

PUBLISHED: 14:05 04 February 2016 | UPDATED: 14:05 04 February 2016

Tom McGarry, EDf Energy

Tom McGarry, EDf Energy

Archant

Residents could be given only eight weeks to respond to the next stage of the consultation on Sizewell C when more details are expected to be revealed about the project.

Campaigners believe EDF Energy could release more details now to give them longer time to investigate, debate and prepare their responses – but the company says the details are still not ready to be confirmed.

Tom McGarry, head of communications for Sizewell C, told Leiston-cum-Sizewell Town Council that the company was suggesting eight weeks or possibly ten weeks which “we believe would be an adequate amount of time for the amount of information that would be released”.

EDF is currently waiting for responses from Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Coastal council on a revised and updated statement of community consultation, outlining details of the consultation process, which will include a third stage because of the delays over the past two years since the completion of the first round.

EDF would be required in law to give at least 28 days for consultation.

County councillor Richard Smith said: “We will be pressing EDF for 12 weeks consultation, which is longer than they are offering at the moment.

“We don’t have the powers to demand it”

Town councillor Terry Hodgson said: “All the information EDF is preparing to publish must be at a very advanced stage of readiness and surely it would be better to release it now and allow a longer period of consultation rather than waiting.”

The consultation is expected to provide more details about plans for improvements to transport links, the destination of the workers’ accommodation campus, and park and ride sites.

EDF says the second stage of consultation will not begin until the Final Investment Decision (FID) for Hinkley Point C is agreed. China General Nuclear Power Corporation signed a deal to invest a 33.5% stake in the £18billion Hinkley project in a blaze of publicity last October, and the FID is expected soon.

The company has instructed the Royal Town Planning Institute’s Planning Aid England team to act as independent consultants to advise town and parish councils as they prepare to respond to the consultation and councils are being encouraged to contact the team.

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