We have worked closely with EDF Energy Nuclear Generation Limited (EDF) for a number of years, providing them with expert advice on planning and environmental regulatory requirements, using our specialist understanding of UK and European nuclear law.
One of our notable successes on behalf of EDF includes obtaining planning permission for a Dry Fuel Store (DFS) at Sizewell B nuclear power station (SZB) and obtaining subsequent consent to allow the work on the DFS to progress to the construction phase.
The DFS will store spent nuclear fuel from 2015 for the lifetime of the power station, which is due to be decommissioned in 2035, or until a deep geological disposal facility is available.
Our work on this project has involved advice on several issues. One issue relates to the potential impact on the surrounding area the DFS may have beyond the predicted timescale for the decommissioning of Sizewell B. To offset any potential impact caused by the delay of the release of the part of the Sizewell B site, which accommodates the Dry Fuel Store, EDF Energy, Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council established an Amenity and Accessibility Fund.
The fund is managed by the Amenity and Accessibility Funding Group (AAFG), which is responsible for the identification of projects to improve the amenity and accessibility of the AONB and Heritage Coast within the locality of the DFS.
Projects that sought AAFG funding included, among others, works to improve the visual appearance of the area and to conserve and enhance the area’s natural beauty. Some projects that were considered by the AAFG included a Virtual Tourism Information centre app by The Suffolk Coast Limited and a new nature trail through the Sizewell Hall wood for children and guests by the Sizewell Hall charity.
Having obtained planning permission, we acted for EDF Energy in the preparation of several Subsequent Applications under the Environmental Impact Regulations 2011. These applications exist because the original planning permission was subject to conditions which required Planning Authority approval before the development may be commenced. This approval created a legal duty for further consultation as part of the application for Subsequent Consent. In this instance, the local planning authorities praised our advice and approach and granted approval in July 2012.
We also provided ground breaking advice on the means of securing planning flexibility; devising a multi stage consenting process, and advised on the requirements relating to the provision of environmental information.
Our advice has assisted EDF in implementing the planning permission for the DFS, and construction has commenced.