Sizewell C nuclear power plant approval ruled lawful by Court of Appeal | Business News


A proposed new nuclear power station in Suffolk has cleared a legal hurdle after the Court of Appeal ruled the government’s decision to approve the site was lawful.

Protest group Together Against Sizewell C argues the nuclear site will cause irreparable damage to the Suffolk Coast and brought the challenge, which was dismissed on Wednesday morning.

The group had unsuccessfully argued that the government failed to consider the environmental impacts of the need for water supply when it gave the go-ahead for the plant and did not consider “alternative solutions” to meet energy and climate change mitigation goals.

Read more:
Why taxpayers will share pain of Sizewell C build cost

The Court of the Appeal was hearing the case after the High Court in June refused to grant a judicial review of former energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng’s July 2022 decision to grant development consent for the site.

The government said it made legitimate planning judgments.

The plaintiffs said they are “dismayed by this decision and struggle to understand how the potable water supply that £30billion+ Sizewell C is totally reliant on for its 60 years of operation can be considered lawfully, or indeed rationally, as a separate project”.

Discussions with their legal team are ongoing and next plans are being considered.

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The government confirmed it decision to back Sizewell C nuclear power plant in November last year.

The plant is to contain two reactors and is being built by French energy giant EDF, which also owns the Sizewell B site, also in Suffolk. When fully operational, it’s hoped Sizewell C will generate enough electricity to supply six million homes.

Lawyers for EDF had said the plant could be operational by 2034.

Taxpayers are expected to fund about £700m of the project cost with the total cost likely to come in at between £20bn and £30bn.

It will create 10,000 highly-skilled jobs, chancellor Jeremy Hunt said. Both unions and industry figures had welcomed the project.

A Sizewell C spokesperson said: “After two previous High Court dismissals on this issue, we welcome today’s judgement and now look forward to the next steps for this project.

“Sizewell C will play a key role in Britain’s clean energy future, and this judgement comes at an exciting phase in the project’s development: following excellent progress of pre-commencement work this year, we’re now looking forward to beginning the construction phase in 2024.

“Once built, Sizewell C will meet 7% of the UK’s energy needs for at least sixty years, strengthening Britain’s energy security, lowering bills, and creating thousands of jobs locally and across Britain.”