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High Court legal challenge to UK government against decision to build Sizewell C nuclear station

A campaign group has issued legal proceedings against the government challenging its decision to allow for the Sizewell C Nuclear Power Station to go ahead against the advice of the planning Examining Authority.

Together Against Sizewell C Limited (TASC) has issued the judicial review proceedings in the High Court following an unsatisfactory response to their pre-action protocol letter sent to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng at the beginning of August.

The Examining Authority (ExA) recommended refusal of development consent, accepting in part TASC’s evidence that the 3.2 gigawatt power station to be built alongside the 27-year-old Sizewell B nuclear plant should not be built in that Suffolk location where the water supply cannot be guaranteed, and the coastline will not be resilient for the entire lifetime of the project. However, Mr Kwarteng rejected the ExA advice and granted consent on 20 July, 2022.

TASC argue in their legal case that the decision to give the go ahead for Sizewell C is unlawful on a number of grounds, including:

  •  Failure to give lawfully adequate reasons for departing from the advice of Natural England, who were of the view that the water supply element did form part of the Sizewell C project;
  • Failure to consider all alternative solutions to the project, including alternatives to nuclear power, given the purpose of the project was to generate electricity and that could potentially be done in a less harmful way;
  • Taking into account a legally irrelevant consideration, namely the contribution the project would make to reducing Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, because the electricity grid is supposed to be carbon neutral by 2035 and without a permanent water supply solution there is no guarantee Sizewell C will contribute significantly to that target;
  • Acting irrationally by assuming the site would be clear of nuclear material by 2140 when evidence presented to the examination showed that it would be much later;
  • Wrongly concluding that the project’s operational emissions would not have a significant effect on the UK’s ability to meet its climate change obligations, because no such assessment was conducted.

TASC is supported in this action by two other opposition groups in the area, Suffolk Coastal Friends of the Earth and Stop Sizewell C……………………….

Leigh Day solicitor Rowan Smith said:

“Our client is incredibly concerned that the government has ignored the recommendation of the Examining Authority to give the go ahead to Sizewell C. For such a locally and nationally important issue, it was vital that the Secretary of State properly assesses the environmental impacts of the project. However, TASC believes that fundamental legal errors were made, particularly in respect of water, alternatives to nuclear power, local wildlife and climate change. We hope these arguments will now be fully scrutinised by the Court.”

TASC is fundraising towards the costs of the judicial review: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/save-suffolks-heritage-coast-w/

 https://tasizewellc.org.uk/tasc-press-release-on-judicial-revue-1st-september/

September 2, 2022 - Posted by | Legal, UK

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