Government grants Development Consent Order to Sizewell C

Sizewell C is closer to being constructed after the government today (July 20, 2022) gave planning consent to EDF for the new 3.2GW nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast.

 Sizewell aerial CGI
Sizewell aerial CGI - (Image: EDF)

The DCO application was submitted in May 2020, setting out local construction mitigation measures and ways to maximise the benefits of the estimated nine-year building and commissioning project for local communities.

Today’s decision, described by EDF as the biggest milestone so far in the approval process for Sizewell C, follows four rounds of public consultation which began in 2012 and involved over 10,000 East Suffolk residents.

In a statement, Carly Vince, Sizewell C’s chief planning officer, said: “I am delighted that, after months of careful consideration, the government has given planning consent for Sizewell C. It is a big endorsement of our proposals and supports our view that this is the right project in the right place.

“The input of residents, local authorities, environmental groups and many others has helped us to improve our plans. We will continue to work closely with them to make sure we minimise the impacts of construction and maximise the huge opportunities for the area.

“Sizewell C will be good for the region, creating thousands of opportunities for local people and businesses. It will boost local biodiversity and leave a legacy Suffolk can be proud of.”

Negotiations with the government on raising funds for the project are continuing and a Financial Investment Decision is expected in 2023. Last month, the government announced that Sizewell C could be eligible for funding using the so-called Regulated Asset Base (RAB) scheme, which incentivises private investment into public projects by providing a secure payback and return on investment for developers

Julia Pyke, Sizewell C’s financing director, said: “Energy costs will be lower with nuclear in the mix, so today’s decision is good news for bill-payers. The tried and tested funding arrangement we are proposing means that, by paying a small amount during construction, consumers will benefit in the long-term.”

Other approvals required before the project can begin construction include a Nuclear Site Licence from the Office for Nuclear Regulation and permits from the Environment Agency.

If built, Sizewell C will operate for at least 60 years, delivering around 7 per cent of the UK’s energy via its twin EPR reactors and the estimated 900 staff who will work on the site.

Commenting on today’s decision, local campaign group Stop Sizewell C said: “The government has been forced to ram through a damaging project to shore up its energy strategy but the fact that the Planning Inspectorate recommended Sizewell C be refused consent is a huge victory for all of us. The wrong decision has been made but it’s not the end of our campaign to Stop Sizewell C. Not only will we be looking closely at appealing this decision, we’ll continue to challenge every aspect of Sizewell C, because – whether it is the impact on consumers, the massive costs and delays, the outstanding technical questions or the environmental impacts – it remains a very bad risk."