Posted: 21.08.20 at 15:52 by Local Democracy Reporter Piers Meyler
Maldon District Council has rejected an application for ground exploratory works ahead of a plan for a nuclear power station at Bradwell.
Even though any application to build the actual power station would be decided by national planning authorities, the district council had been asked to approve an application for ground investigations.
But the council’s planning committee on Thursday, August 20, said it would harm an important historical area and ecology on land east of the decommissioned power station.
This includes the former Second World War RAF base which served as a night fighter base from 1941.
Bradwell Power Generation Company (BPGC) Limited says the works would be temporary in nature and can be considered as two elements; the ground investigation comprising exploratory holes across the site and a load test investigation; together with associated works including two temporary site compound areas.
However despite recommendations from officers to approve the application, the council voted to reject it based on concerns regarding noise and disturbance on ecology matters, the historical environment relating to archaeology and heritage assets and the application having a detrimental impact on the character of the landscape.
It is expected BPGC will appeal.
Councillor Kevin Lagan, who proposed the motion to reject at the meeting, said more advice was needed from outside the council, while thanking officers for their work.
He said: “We don’t feel that advice is enough so let’s look to real technical experts that are out there and if we go to appeal that’s it.”
The decision to reject follows that of Colchester Council which earlier voted unanimously to reject the proposal for Bradwell B nuclear power plant, saying it would destroy an ecologically rich landscape.
Headed by the China General Nuclear Power Group, alongside EDF Energy, plans for the new site have been in motion for the last few years.
The site for Bradwell B was designated by the government in 2011 as being potentially suitable for a new nuclear power station, and although that approval currently only lasts until 2025, the group are still pushing for investigative work to be carried out.
Initial proposals include a twin reactor power station which would be able to generate enough low carbon electricity to power around four million homes.
The developers also claim tens of thousands of jobs will be created during the construction period, while the operating power station would provide hundreds of employment opportunities for at least 60 years.
However the project has been mired in controversy, not least because of the number of lorry journeys that would be required in the construction phase.
Over six million tonnes of construction materials is anticipated to be transported to the main development site and even though half could arrive by sea, it still means there will be as many as 700 two-way lorry movements a day during the peak, that will last around three years.
Construction of the project would involve significant investment over seven to 10 years, creating between 10,600 and 9,100 jobs during peak construction, as well as up to 1,200 apprenticeships. Around 3,000 construction jobs are expected to be filled by local people already living in the area during the busiest stage of construction.
During its 60-year operational life the power station is anticipated to employ a permanent workforce of around 900 people, with an additional 1,000 roles during outages for refuelling and maintenance around every 18 months during operation.
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