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.
Planning Act 2008
06 Apr 2016
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.