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Council hit by legal action over planning permission for nuclear site development

East Suffolk Council has been threatened with a judicial review of its decision to grant planning permission for development of a nuclear power site.

Joan Girling, the claimant and a member of Together Against Sizewell C (TASC),  issued proceedings against the council on 23 December.

East Suffolk’s decision would allow EDF to move a car park and visitors’ centre from Sizewell B land to Coronation Wood. In turn this would allow additional space for the Sizewell C development.

TASC said: “This is at the cost of destroying the 100 year-old mature wood, which is a treasured landscape feature in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and appreciated by residents and tourists alike.”

Ms Girling’s legal team comprises Rosa Curling and Erin Alcock of Leigh Day, David Wolfe QC of Matrix Chambers and Ashley Bowes of Cornerstone Barristers. She has set up a crowd funding page to support her challenge.

TASC said it was concerned that “a large area of historic woodland, at present a visual landscape barrier to the light and noise from the existing nuclear complex, could needlessly be lost should future plans by EDF relating to the development of Sizewell C fall through”.

It pointed out that EDF must apply in the future for a Sizewell C Development Consent Order (DCO) and there was a risk that the Secretary of State would not grant planning consent.

“Equally, EDF may decide not to make such an application. The development of Sizewell B is thus ‘jumping the gun’ on an application process for Sizewell C that is yet to even begin,” TASC added.

It said the wood, created to celebrate the coronation of George V, was home to many species of wildlife, including badgers, bats and many birds, both native and migratory.

Leigh Day’s Curling said: “Wild and green spaces are of importance in the current climate catastrophe and the retention of established woodland must be a priority. The National Planning Policy Framework clearly recognises the importance of our natural spaces, requiring local authorities to refuse any major development in our Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty other than in exceptional circumstances. Our client believes the exceptional circumstances have not been met in this case.”

East Suffolk Council has been approached for comment.