Habitat issues delay nuclear power plant

Uncertainty remains over the future of Wylfa Newydd Nuclear Power Station, after the energy secretary demanded more evidence about the effects of the scheme, including its impact on EU protected sites

Developers Horizon Nuclear Power plan to build two new reactors, with a combined capacity of 2.9 gigawatts, on Anglesey in North Wales. 

But yesterday, the secretary of state wrote to the developers of the beleaguered nuclear power project requesting clarification over a string of unresolved issues relating to its design, environmental mitigation, and its potential impact on European protected sites.

There are six nationally and internationally designated sites within 2km of the proposed development area, which lies on land beside the former Magnox Wylfa Power Station, now being decommissioned.

These include the Cemlyn Bay site of special scientific interest (SSSI) and special area of conservation (SAC), Tre’r Gof SSSI, Cae Gwyn SSSI and the Anglesey Terns special protection area (SPA).

Horizon had requested a derogation under the Habitats Directive in relation to the possible disturbance impacts on the tern, a family of seabirds found across the protected sites. But the energy secretary has now asked the developer to provide a list of feasible alternative solutions that could be less damaging to these areas and has asked for a list of “imperative reasons of overriding public interest” for the project to proceed.

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Planning Act 2008

In force/
Current
Legislation
England, Scotland, Wales
Published
06 Apr 2016

Commentary

27/03/2015 Amending Order (SI 2015/949) published.
10/03/2016 Amending Order (SI 2016/306) published., 16/01/2017 Amending Regulations (SI 2017/16) published, for England and Wales only.
02/11/2017 Amending Regulations (SI 2017/1012) published.
10/11/2017 Commencement Order (No. 3) (
SI 2017/1078) published, for England only., 28/11/2018 Amending Regulations (SI 2018/1232) published.

Compliance Dates

26/11/2008 Received Royal Assent, 26/11/2008 Provisions of Parts 1 to 9 (except Section 194(2) to (5) and paragraph 7 of Schedule 7) come into force (see Section 241), 26/11/2008 Part 11, except Sections 206, 211(7), 224 and 225 come into force (see Section 241), 26/11/2008 Part 12, except Section 238, comes into force (see Section 241), 26/01/2009 Sections 194(2) to (5), 201, 202, 203 and 225 (together with related entries in Schedule 13), and paragraph 7 of Schedule 7, come into force (see Section 241)
01/03/2010 Certain Sections including Sections 15 to 20 and Sections 22 to 26 brought into force by The Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No.4 and Saving) Order 2010 (SI 2010/101)
06/04/2010 Certain provisions brought into force by the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 5 and Saving) Order 2010 (SI 2010/566)
06/04/2011 Sections 14(1)(o) and 29 brought into force by the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 6) Order 2011 (SI 2011/705)
01/10/2011 Sections 14(1)(p), 30 and 153 and Schedule 6 brought into force by the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 7) Order 2011 (SI 2011/2054)
06/04/2012 Sections 192 and Schedule 8 (tree preservation orders), Section 193 (existing tree preservation orders: transitional provisions), and Section 238 and Schedule 13 (repeals relating to trees specified in the Schedule to SI 2012/601) come into force for, 28/11/2014 Section 198 (appeals relating to old mining permissions) comes into force, in relation to Wales, insofar as it is not already in force (see the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 3) (Wales) Order (
01/01/2018 Sections 14(1)(m), 14(1)(n), 27 and 28 in relation to dams, reservoirs and the transfer of water resources, enter into force for England only (see SI 2017/1078)

Characteristics

Subject

Energy/climate change General policy Land and development Sustainable development Transport Waste

Source

OPSI (Office of Public Sector Information)

Affected Sectors

Cross-sector Oil Water Electricity Gas Waste and Cleaning Construction Transport Rail Transport
ECM

Planning Act 2008

Document Status: In force/Current

Scope: England, Scotland, Wales

Commentary:

27/03/2015 Amending Order (SI 2015/949) published.
10/03/2016 Amending Order (SI 2016/306) published., 16/01/2017 Amending Regulations (SI 2017/16) published, for England and Wales only.
02/11/2017 Amending Regulations (SI 2017/1012) published.
10/11/2017 Commencement Order (No. 3) (
SI 2017/1078) published, for England only., 28/11/2018 Amending Regulations (SI 2018/1232) published.

Compliance:

26/11/2008 Received Royal Assent, 26/11/2008 Provisions of Parts 1 to 9 (except Section 194(2) to (5) and paragraph 7 of Schedule 7) come into force (see Section 241), 26/11/2008 Part 11, except Sections 206, 211(7), 224 and 225 come into force (see Section 241), 26/11/2008 Part 12, except Section 238, comes into force (see Section 241), 26/01/2009 Sections 194(2) to (5), 201, 202, 203 and 225 (together with related entries in Schedule 13), and paragraph 7 of Schedule 7, come into force (see Section 241)
01/03/2010 Certain Sections including Sections 15 to 20 and Sections 22 to 26 brought into force by The Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No.4 and Saving) Order 2010 (SI 2010/101)
06/04/2010 Certain provisions brought into force by the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 5 and Saving) Order 2010 (SI 2010/566)
06/04/2011 Sections 14(1)(o) and 29 brought into force by the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 6) Order 2011 (SI 2011/705)
01/10/2011 Sections 14(1)(p), 30 and 153 and Schedule 6 brought into force by the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 7) Order 2011 (SI 2011/2054)
06/04/2012 Sections 192 and Schedule 8 (tree preservation orders), Section 193 (existing tree preservation orders: transitional provisions), and Section 238 and Schedule 13 (repeals relating to trees specified in the Schedule to SI 2012/601) come into force for, 28/11/2014 Section 198 (appeals relating to old mining permissions) comes into force, in relation to Wales, insofar as it is not already in force (see the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 3) (Wales) Order (
01/01/2018 Sections 14(1)(m), 14(1)(n), 27 and 28 in relation to dams, reservoirs and the transfer of water resources, enter into force for England only (see SI 2017/1078)

The energy secretary has also asked the developer to clarify the concerns of its own environmental regulator, Natural Resources Wales, over the connectivity between the Cemlyn Bay SPA and the Dee Estuary SPA, due to the large populations of the Sandwich tern. It must also clarify what further steps have been taken to secure the rights to a number of proposed habitat mitigation sites once its lease expires.

In January of this year, Horizon’s parent company, Hitachi Limited, suspended the project and withdrew its funding for the development. 

This prompted Horizon to withdraw its applications for various licenses and consents, including marine licences and operational combustion installations permits, required under national policy statements EN-1 and EN-6.

Horizon has until midnight on the 31 December to respond to the secretary of state’s demands. 

To read the secretary of state’s letter in full click here.

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